When I was living in Baltimore, I listened to NPR everyday. I took a lot of pride in knowing current events, and I felt like I was staying informed and continuing to educate myself. There is an NPR station here in Sitka, but I hardly ever listen. I spend very little time in the car, since I ride my bike everywhere. And I can't listen through the internet, because I have none. I feel a little out of the loop. I'm very focused on myself and "being" here in Sitka, which is a good thing. So, just like Simon and Garfunkel's "Only Living Boy in New York," I get all the news I need on the weather report.
When we arrived, it was pretty cold and rainy (of course.) We were expecting this, but Alison said that it's been a cold May so far. The warm weather is coming...
Skeeter and I are living in an apartment right outside of town. It's about a mile and a half from Crescent Harbor, where we work everyday. An easy bike ride. Our housemate Stephanie is also working for Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures (SSOA). She is from Olympia, Washington. We all had a hard time finding sumer housing, so we joined forces. I'm glad we did, because our apartment is very nice: spacious and already furnished. The former tenants even left behind cleaning supplies and some baking ingredients.
We started training on May 5th. The next 5 days were FULL 8 hour days. We reviewed company policies, unpacked gear, and cleaned out the office (a big blue school bus.) We also spent time in the pool, working on kayak rescuing and self-rescuing skills. I feel very prepared. Even though SSOA is a small company, Alison and John are incredible organized. John has been a boat captain for years here in Alaska, and he likes to keep everything ship-shape.
Last Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, we were on the water. We have to learn the islands and channels so that we can plan kayaking routes. We don't take the same route every time. We adjust according to the wind, the currents, and the abilities of the group. We also had to learn which beaches are good for picnics and ditching (if the weather gets really bad while we're out.) A lot of the islands in the sound have complicated names (Russian and Tlinglit names), like Japonski, Galankin, Chai chei, Casiana, and Bam Vorishni. I don't have to worry too much about remembering this stuff, because I'm the tour manager. I will be spending most of the time at the bus, talking to tourists and taking their money. But I do help the guides out a lot: I outfit their clients, clean and launch their boats, and pull them in when they return. I also check up on them and make sure they have all of their supplies for the trip. In return, I get 20% if their tips.
The first cruise ship came in last Wednesday and it was great. Beautiful, sunny weather. And we sent out 4 tours. That's a full day! The days since then have not been as full, but the weather has been great. No rain. I didn't think that was possible in Southeast. Despite the beautiful weather, the cruise ship passengers just haven't been interested in paddling. But hopefully we'll be more busy in June, when schools are out and families are traveling together.
That's all for now... Peace!