I Go to Sea as a Sailor because of the Wholesome Exercise and Pure Air
The job of a deckhand is really being the Jack-of-all-Trades of the ship. We are CPR/First Aid certified, we have run all the Coast Guard safety drills, we are also responsible for the less glamorous aspects of boat maintenance including scrubbing engine rooms and the like as well as cleaning the heads twice daily.
The day starts with boat washing. We hose off the outside decks and scrub the windows. Then, precariously balanced on the narrow walks on the side of the boat with one hand desperately grasping on to the side railing we squeegee the windows with our free hand.
Then we clean the inside of the boat. The inside windows gleaming, the buffet sparkling, the tables and chairs perfectly arranged, the bathrooms (heads) are restocked as we prepare to board.
We take boarding photos, check tickets, greet passengers and direct them to their seats, we answer (sometimes inane) questions about the impending trip.
We put on life jackets, jump off the boat to untie lines, we pull each other back on to the boat before we motor away.
We make safety announcements, we plead with passengers to take precautions if they fear motion sickness, we tell them to please, please regurgitate their recently enjoyed meals off the stern…and aim for distance.
We serve drinks and the all-you-can-eat salmon and prime rib buffet.
We keep an eye out for sick people, we pass out ginger candy and puke bags, we run defense on those pale, nauseated souls and lead them (briskly) away from the heads and out onto the deck, we clean up vomit. We clean up vomit. We clean up vomit. We make sure people are as comfortable as possible. We get them crackers and ginger ale. We assure them the tour is nearly half over.
We tell kids not to run. We tell adults not to stand on the benches. We point out black bears high up the mountain. We answer (sometimes inane) questions about the animals. We run to the decks to watch the humpbacks, the orcas, the porpoises, the sea otters, and the sea lions.
We take people’s pictures, we talk to them about their vacation and we hope they have a good time on our boat.
We get to the sweetest part of our trip, the all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. We are no longer astounded as we watch the woman we just saw “near death” lying with her head hanging limply against the table surrounded by puke bags which form a halo around her skull wolf down 5 pieces of cake.
We pull back into the docks, we hop off the boat and retie the lines. We thank the people for taking the trip with us. We hope they tip and tip well.
We read their comment cards. We clean and vacuum and prepare for the next day. We cart the day’s trash back on land and toss it. We sign out and enjoy Alaska’s midnight sun.