The New York Yacht Club

This week is slightly different from our other trips aboard the Sea Lion. It’s a charter, which means that the ship and the itinerary are essentially in the hands of our guests, the New York Yacht Club. They have ‘rented’ out the ship for a week in Alaska and so far it has been pretty good. They’re all really nice, if somewhat high maintenance (they love their cocktail hour and they had the hardest time accepting the fact that they need to hike in their mud boots). I’ve also been looking at the wedding rings on the women and some of them are ridiculous…

On the first day we saw a bear and a pod humpback whales, which surrounded the ship, so everywhere we looked we saw whales. It was amazing and everyone was really excited. We went to Elfin Cove, a tiny fishing village that has only 11 year round residents. There are a few lodges for visitors to stay at while they fish in the summer and a nice gift shop, but the whole “town” can be seen in about 10 minutes. The houses and buildings are connected by boardwalks and everything is green and mossy with snow-capped mountains in the distance, giving Elfin Cove an elfish feel.

I haven’t been doing much off the ship because of massages (although I did go on a nice hike at Lake Eva the other day with a few crew and one of the younger guests). But it’s nice to just stay on board and watch the mountains pass by. Most of them still have snow on the tops, which make them even more majestic. Today we were in Glacier Bay National Park and the morning started out rainy and cold, then by mid-day it was just cloudy and now (at 9:30 pm), the sun is shining and there’s a blue sky. I gave five massages, so I didn’t have much time to enjoy the park, but I did see a mama brown bear with her two cubs moseying along the shore. We watched them for about 20 minutes, then a big old male came out of the the forest and the mom fled with her babies. The natualists onboard said that the mom could have taken on the male and she probably would have won because she’s protecting her cubs, but it wasn’t worth the risk since the male wasn’t threatening her. Apparently, like lions, male grizzlies will kill young cubs because they want their genes to succeed.

I had a really good dinner with two couples, one from New York and the other from San Francisco. One of the women, Susan, is/has been recovering from mercury poisoning from eating so much fish. Her metal levels were up to 87 (I’m not sure what that really means, but it’s bad), and now they’re down around 10, due to a very detoxifying diet and health regime. Because her immune system was so shot from the mercury poisoning, she also got Lyme disease and she said that if she and her husband hadn’t had the money they do to spend on treatment, she would be dead right now. So now she and her husband make short documentaries about these kinds of issues and try to spread the knowledge about how harmful toxins are and what people are aren’t being informed about. The movie “The Cove”, which I haven’t seen yet, is about the illegal dolphin killing in Japan, and tests have shown that the dolphin meat, which is being sold to schools and markets, is obscenely high in mercury levels. Susan and her husband filmed the 20 minute post-video documentary about mercury and how harmful it is. She also gave me a list of other films to watch, some about foods and another about Lyme disease and how prevalent (and widely unnoticed) it really is. I can’t wait to watch them!


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