Sunday, August 28, 2016
Nice way to finish off the work week...
It rained. No, that's not the nice part.
I went in this morning to do some maintenance on the boat. It was looking like I wasn't going to have a trip, and this was the chance to get this done. While working at the helm, I saw a lady walk down our dock... I am the only person here on any of the boats, so I said, "You look like you have a question."
She said, "Yes, I do, if you have a moment. Do you take people out on this boat?"
"Yes, ma'am, that's what we do."
"Did you drive this boat yesterday?"
"Yes, ma'am, I did."
"We have a boat - not here, back in Montana. My husband and I watched you park this boat at the dock yesterday... that was an impressive job of swinging the boat around and backing it between those other boats."
"Yeah, I wasn't hot-dogging it - that's what it takes to get this boat to this dock."
"Well, we'd like to go out with you, on this boat. Can I just give you money and you'll take us out?"
I said (with a chuckle), "Well, they don't let me touch money or schedule things - I'm just the captain. But, if you go up to that office on the waterfront, there is a pretty blonde lady who will tell you what's available and get you all set up."
First mate Erick and I took the boat around to the fuel dock; I like to leave it ready to go for whoever drives it next. When we came back, Joan was coming down the dock. I said to Erick, "Well, that probably means that you and I are going to have a trip today."
Joan said, "You sold those nice people on going out today. Can you do a charter with a 1:00 departure?"
"I'll get it written up. I know you thought you were done when you finished working on the boat today."
"Hey, this is what we do." I walked up to the office to visit with the folks: 5 people from Montana. If they can see a whale, "that would be great... but mostly we just want to see more of this area... so wherever you want to take us would be fine."
I talked with them about a Washington State Beverage License, in case they want to have adult beverages on the boat (only on a private charter). They were excited!
Erick and I finished prepping the boat while those folks went to have lunch. Joan helped them get a beverage license. Erick brought them to the boat at 1:00, and I had a report of a group of transient Orcas about 20 minutes north of us. The makings of an easy day. And a big plus: the wind wasn't blowing like stink (like yesterday). The sky was gray, but the water looked mostly flat.
We visited for a bit before going out. When I asked what they'd like to do, Kim (the blonde who first came to the boat) said, "I would really like to see a whale. They (pointing to the three guys) would like to drink beer and be out on a boat... and see some cool stuff."
"Let's see if we can make that all happen for you."
There were a lot of boats with the transients, but our timing was good: they had just turned down San Juan Channel, heading towards us - I could rotate the boat and be at the front of the "cha-cha line." It wasn't long before more boats came, and we were in the middle of the line... with all the traffic, I didn't have a chance to get my camera out of its case. But, the viewing was good. After 45 minutes, Erick came up to the helm and said, "They are happy with what they saw with the whales and would like to see more stuff." I went down and visited with them, we formulated fun stuff for them to see, and we were off... leaving all those boats behind us.
Being Montana guys, they were excited to see Spieden Island (we told them about the exotic game animals there) - they got to see the Mouflon Sheep and the Sika Deer, bald eagles, seals, pretty vistas. I stopped the boat a few times and went down to tell them about "a slice of life" on some of the islands. They had good questions for Erick, laughed a lot, and really enjoyed their personalized tour of this part of the San Juan Islands.
Yes, it started to rain while we were with the Orcas, but guests can stay dry on this boat - either in the cabin area or under the Sunbrella canopy. It wasn't a hard rain, the views were misty and dramatic, and they were enjoying it all. And Erick and I were enjoying our time with them, as well.
On the way back into Friday Harbor, I heard one of them say, "This is for you Erick - don't give any of that to Captain Jim."
"You people know I can hear you, don't you?" I said.
Laughter. Truly, a fun group. And, a very nice way to finish up my work week. No photos, but I'll remember the day.