Wellness Specialist in Training

So I’ve been back on board for a few days now, and I’m starting to fall into the rhythm of the wellness specialists daily schedule, which is a 180* change from being a steward. I get up around 6:15, have my tea in the lounge, then head up to the bridge deck with Susan (my wellness specialist mentor) to lead a stretch class at 7. I haven’t led any yet, just watched and participated so I can learn and see what kind of stretches and exercises work. Next week I’ll be on my own, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to lead stretch classes then! We’ve had a pretty good turn out and the guests all seem to enjoy it, even though I’m sure many of them haven’t stretched their hamstrings in the past decade.

After the stretch class, we hand out the smoothie brought up by a steward (usually vegan for me!), then head down to breakfast and a quick staff meeting to decide what everyone will being doing that day. Susan and I usually lead a faster paced, or aerobic, hike for those who aren’t as interested in learning about the natural environment and history (which is what the naturalists discuss on their walks). I also help out with kayaking – getting guests in and out of the kayaks (which can be quite challenging), making sure the kayaks don’t float away, and racking them back up at the end of the day. A couple of days ago I went out with a guest in a double and we paddled along the coastline and saw a natural arch with snowcapped mountains shining through the opening.

When there is no kayaking or hiking and no one has signed up for a massage, I’m pretty much free to do what I want. We were at the Inian Islands a few days ago and I went for a zodiac cruise where we saw a lot of Stellar sea lions and a humpback whale that surfaced a few hundred yards away from our zodiac. Later, when everyone was back on board, we spotted a pod of orca among the humpback blows and even a Minke whale, which are rare in South East Alaska.

Yesterday we were in Glacier Bay National Park where we’re not allowed to get off the ship, so everyone gathered on the bow to look at the mountains and glaciers. We’ve had relatively good weather so far, so being outside for a long time is manageable with frequent trips to the lounge to refill coffee/tea mugs. En route to Marjorie Glacier we saw a mama bear with her two cubs, a couple of mountain goats and as we were leaving, there was a dead whale carcass on the shore with a grizzly bear on top, feeding on the meat. It was gruesome, but pretty incredible at the same time. Later in the afternoon while Susan was giving massages (I’ll start next week), I set up the massage chair in the lounge and gave free 10 minute massage to guests and a few crew. They all loved it!

This morning I gave Susan a facial and back massage in return for the one she gave me yesterday. I’m getting familiar with the spa – where everything is and how everything is set up. There’s a towel warmer, a number of different oils, lotions, masks, scrubs, etc… that I can use for each treatment. I think it’ll take me a week or so to get everything memorized, but I can already tell that I’m going to love it!

We also had a presentation by a National Geographic scientist later in the morning about her work with the Critter Cam. Her team attaches the camera onto the backs of different animals such as whales, sharks, penguins, seals, and sea lions to study their behaviors and movements. She showed a video of the footage they’ve captured and it’s amazing! There’s one segment of a critter cam on a baby humpback and he’s on the bottom of the ocean looking up at the rest of his pod bubble net feeding at the surface. That’s never been documented before, so it was incredible to see, especially since we see the bubble net feeders from the surface on the ship, but never what is going on down below. You can check out some of the videos here.

Later today I’ll be going for another hike at Pavlov Harbor and hopefully we’ll see some more bears!


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