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We’re Not Leaving Today…Because It’s Friday

Northwest Navigation / David B Small Ship CruisesSailors are a superstitious bunch. It seems that there is a superstition for everything on boats: no bananas, no flowers, no whistling, no women nor redheads (Sorry Sarah) to name a few.
Every year, with the exception of one, we have started our season on a Thursday, because it’s bad luck to start a voyage on a Friday. The one year we accidentally did begin our season on a Friday, we had problem after problem. We joked that the problems were with either gremlins or because we started our voyage on a Friday. After three days, we consulted a friend who was well versed in maritime lore. He suggested we “start the trip over” and do some “fresh provisioning.” So we sent our guests out kayaking, while Jeffrey and I took the skiff to the beach to gather some wild greens. When the guests arrived back at the boat we welcomed them to their new trip. They played along with the rouse and we didn’t have any more trouble.

So yesterday, (Thursday, April 23rd) we were scheduled to start our first trip of the year, but as we all know, Alaska is closed until May 19th. For me it was a bit of a melancholy day thinking about how much I had been looking forward to the trip north and the new season.

In the later part of the afternoon, while I was on deck washing the boat, I looked up to see a familiar face. It was a woman who lives locally and has been on a couple of Alaska cruises with us. She was stopping by to pick up some rocks she had collected on a previous trip, and she was also checking in on us to ask how we were doing. Seeing and talking with her really raised my spirits.

This morning Jeffrey and I had a long talk about what it feels like to be “on hold.” We agreed that one of the silver linings of this whole mess is reconnecting with so many people in the David B community. We’ve enjoyed all the Facebook and Instagram comments, conversations, phone calls, texts and notes back from our emails.

For example, there was a nice comment on Instagram that said, “Hang in there! We’re rooting for you.” It helped me to remember that this whole pandemic is temporary, and we’ll be back doing what we love with our amazing community.

In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy seeing you in all these socially distant ways, and we hope y’all are hanging in there too!

Stay well,
Christine

PS – Our 2021 and 2022 schedules are on our website.
PPS – Plus to avoid any bad luck we will continue to start our seasons on a Thursday.
PPPS – Feel free to email Sarah with any questions about our upcoming seasons.

Since we didn’t get to start our season because of the coronavirus, here’s a little clip from the first day of last year.

Nothing Happens

Northwest Navigation / David B Small Ship CruisesOn our voyages we often run big tidal rapids. Yeah, in the big boat, not just in the skiff. And you’re saying “is that safe?” Of course it is.

If you’re wondering what tidal rapids are, here’s the explanation: As the tide rises and falls along the coast, the water is forced into all the bays and inlets and generally, the wider the inlet, the calmer the flow. Narrow entrances, on the other hand, make for much more dynamic (that means “scary”) flow, especially if there is a large area beyond the narrows that tidal water has to fill and drain. Add to that, higher tides mean more water is shoved through the constriction. On the West Coast where we operate, we have the perfect combination of big tides and lots of narrow passages. Most of them have huge whirlpools and boils and some of them run 12-14 knots or more (that’s 16 mph!)

So back to the “is that safe?” question. The reason it’s safe is because we go through at  “slack water”. “Slack” is the moment that the current stops flowing one direction, and turns and flows the other, usually about every 6 hours, and it’s super predictable. We look up the time in a published current table, do our planning to show up just a little early, and motor right through. All in calm water.

I know, I kind of let you down, because you were probably expecting great stories of surfing the David B through a huge 14kt tidal bore. But that’s actually it. If we show up at the right time nothing happens. In the beginning of running the David B, we used to tell the guests all about how strong the current could be, and show them pictures of boats getting sucked sideways as they tried to transit during the peak of the flood, and then we’d get there at slack water and… nothing. It was a let down for more than one guest on more than one occasion. We’re now careful to tell everyone what the peak flood is like, but that we’ll be going through at slack.

Right now, I feel like we’re headed for the tidal rapids. If we all do the right thing and do our planning right, nothing will happen.

All in calm water.

Stay Safe and Stay Well,
Jeffrey

PS – Don’t forget you can contact us at any time for reservations, information, or recipes. Our current schedule through 2022 is up. Our phone number is 360-474-7218 or shoot Sarah an email.

Dreaming in Glacier Bay

A Visual Meditation

Take a few minutes to escape into John D’onofrio’s beautiful photography set to haunting flute music. He put together this short meditation to inspire those of us who dream of great landscapes in distant lands. John is one of our photography instructors and this slideshow video is from several years of trips with us in Glacier Bay National Park.

Humpback Whale Diving

Humpback whale diving in Alaska

Sometimes we will be sitting in an open area watching whales when one will surface and swim towards us. There are so many beautiful sounds: the whales’s breath, the sound of water cascading off its body, and the laughter and joy from our passengers.

Taken on one of Marine Ecology of Southeast Alaska trips.

Ephemeral

Iceberg in Alaska

Ice calved from a glacier is the essence of ephemeral. As you move around an iceberg, it changes in color, it glows, its shape reveals other shapes. You see birds taking off, or flames frozen, then without warning, it capsizes and you realize that moment has gone and something new is in its place.

Taken in 2019 on one of our Glacier Bay Photography Workshops in Alaska.

Lupines at Lamplough Glacier

Alaska Hikes in Glacier Bay

When I graduated from college, one of my mentors gave me a children’s book called Miss Rumphius. In the book, the main character sought to make the world a more beautiful place by planting lupines. Every day I’m reminded of that story and each day I hope to make the world a more beautiful place with kind words, a smile, a photograph of a pretty place, or a shared experience.

This pretty place is in Glacier Bay National Park where there’s a short hike next to Lamplough Glacier. We like to visit this trail as often as possible and especially on our photography workshops where we can spend hours exploring the beauty of nature.

Black bear in Fords Terror

Bear watching in Alaska

While we were at anchor in Fords Terror we got to watch this female black bear who had a couple of cubs. They ate grass and barnacles and crawled over rocks. While we were anchored in this spot we also got to watch two other bears on the opposite shore.

Watching a tidewater glacier

There is nothing better than a cool sunny day with a fjord filled with ice and a tidewater glacier. Join us in Alaska for 8-day as we explore the fjords, islands, and forests that make up the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska.

Photo Workshop in Alaska

Photography Worksshop in AlaskaSpending time ashore in remote areas is one of the best things about our trips. On our Landscape Photography workshop with Matt Meisenheimer last year, we wandered along the side of a large waterfall at North Dawes, which is a beautiful anchorage just off Endicott Arm in Alaska’s Tracy Arm /Fords Terror Wilderness. There were numerous side streams and wildflowers like this river beauty. Even though it was pouring rain, Matt helped us set up shots and create photographs. He answered questions and guided us among boulders. It was a pretty awesome day. Our photo workshops are really fun and creative. It’s also nice knowing that on cold wet days, the David B has a wood-fired cookstove with warm galley and hot soup waiting for our return.

Hummingbirds in Alaska

Rufus Hummingbirds in Alaska on a bird watching tour.

We started keeping a hummingbird feeder on the David B a few summers ago. We often had hungry birds coming to the boat and checking out all the red things on deck. One time a tired one arrived that was too weak to fly up to the feeder. We set the feeder on a chair next to the bird. It regained its strength and a few minutes later it buzzed off. We love these small visitors and appreciate the way they help us connect with nature and care for the world around us.

For more information visit any of our Alaska itinerary pages like this one for our Juneau to Petersburg 8-day tour.