Restoring Sanity in Hells Canyon


I begin this entry tonight from Clarkston, Washington with aged fingers marred by hot water burns and knife wounds from the galley. But all is well with the world because today was a day of freedom and liberty. Today was a day without work.

On these all too rare days off, life aboard the Sea Bird is a downright dream. You can join the guests for dinner, bask on a boulder and snooze the day away, or join any expedition you’d like as long as you wake up in time.

I like to think I make the most of my days off, but it’s often an uphill battle. For example, this morning I was able to travel 100 miles up the Snake River throughout Hells Canyon in a jet boat, and it would have been spectacular if I hadn’t slept through a good 80% of the trip. That’s what happens when you sleep as little as Obama and work like a Clydesdale.

But for those moments when I managed to awake from my deep slumber, the excursion proved a welcome respite from the daily grind aboard the Sea Bird. From playing with elderly dogs and picking juicy figs from a tree at the Hells Canyon visitor entrance to snoozing away on the sunny fantail while the wind knotted my hair and the boat glided sharply around corners beneath steep canyon walls, I slowly but surely recharged for another long week.

I eventually jumped ship and took myself out to dinner in Lewiston, Idaho. Though the food was mediocre and a dead fly was floating in my drink, it was a delightful change of pace to be a loner scarfing down greasy fare in the corner of a bar. With my few remaining hours until all aboard, I found a piano to play on the streets and ate lemon cake while stargazing by the river in a secluded park.

These days off, while few and far in between, have managed to keep me sane while living on the ship. If I have learned anything since I started this job, it has been how to stretch my free time and appreciate every minute of break.

And dare I say, the day I regain weekends…








3 thoughts on “Restoring Sanity in Hells Canyon

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