Beware of Alaskan Trees

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Hanging out on the Lido Deck – Boat in a Boat

I have officially survived one full week in a boat! And considering I’m currently sitting in a boat on a boat I feel like I should get bonus points. Though the days feel endless, I’m surprised by how quickly this week has passed. It feels like I’m a world away from home and I’m only at the beginning of my journey. To give you a little recap of my week, I’ll include my high’s and low’s. This is my initiation week after all and what’s life without a few icebreakers?

Lo’s:

  • I was attacked by an Alaskan tree that stabbed me in the eye with a branch of pine needles on a hike. It took two days for my eye to stop hurting every time I blinked. And the worst part was that I couldn’t even lament to others about my eyeball injury because it’s just not socially acceptable. It has been a long and quiet road to recovery.
  • De-molding the carpet under my bunk with the crew was also a low moment. Armed with a face mask, gloves, flashlight, and a bucket of bleach, I shimmied on my back and ripped out damp carpet during my usual cookie and coffee break. I was not a happy camper to say the least.
    1. *Side Note* This actually just turned into a high because the Captain gave us an internet card for our painstaking effort.
  • Getting used to a radically different lifestyle has been tough and homesick-inducing. I am getting used to less sleep, less introversion, and more physical labor.

High’s:

  • Hiking through Tongass National Forest with the other stewards. The rumbling rivers and vividly green and dense mossy trees engulf you the moment you step past the tree line and you’re on your own. Following bear tracks and your own intuition, you create your own adventure. Don’t forget bear spray.

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  • Joining an afternoon excursion to Red Bluff. The mud came up to my knees as I slugged through the forest to reach a lake in the mountains. The expedition leader had us all put away our cameras as we celebrated a full minute of silence upon arrival.

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  • Grabbing a large Italian vanilla cream soda in Petersburg and calling home.

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  • Kayaking with sea otters and thousands of jellyfish in the Inian Islands. The tide was down and the friendly otters were happy to swim up and put on a show. After coming back ashore, I followed one of group excursions up the river to watch and learn about the salmon migration upstream. Talk about a resilient species!

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  • Seeing my first orca and glacier in the same day. Also getting my National Parks Passport stamped for Glacier National Park and Preserve.

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  • Doing a polar plunge at Glacier National Park. The water was a frigid 45 degrees and I felt stabbed by a thousand needles when I dove in. However, the momentous pride I felt when I walked in to an applauding lounge later that night made it worth the chill and thrill.

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  • Having a group of humpbacks swim right up to the boat for an hour while they fed and dove in greeting.

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  • Sleeping in until 9am on my day off. Reading a good book on the lido deck and enjoying some peace and quiet amidst the breathtaking scenery.

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  • Kayaking in DeGroff Bay all by my lonesome in my double person kayak. Resting my calloused hands in the frigid ice water below while the sun warmed my face.

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So there you have it. Living on the Sea Bird has been demanding, but the high’s certainly outweigh the low’s. Can’t wait to see what next week has in store.

 

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