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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Crack Job of Logistical Planning

October 17, 2014

This morning we headed to the airport where we were to meet the guide for our cruise boat – the New Flamingo. 

We were well aware this was the “economy” option.  However, the lack of planning was bad even for a third world country.  Here are the various stupid things that occurred just today:

  • We were told to meet the guide at the airport at 10am.  We were told this was to coordinate with other inbound passengers.  Sure enough there were two flights that arrived at 10am and 11am both carrying a passenger for the boat.  But there was another flight at 1pm that also was carrying passengers for the cruise.  Fortunately for us, the 1pm flight was late and the guide decided not to make us all wait for the flight now due at 2pm.  But apparently the original plan had been for us all to stand around for three hours.
  • When we got to the boat, they told us they needed to go to the fuel dock and refuel for our trip.  We were told to go to our cabins for 10 minutes as we were not allowed to be roaming around the boat while they were refueling.  We teased them that no way would it be 10 minutes – but they assured us it would be that short.  Uh huh.  We can’t fuel our boat in 10 minutes.  25 minutes later they let us out of our cabins.  Why they hadn’t done this in the morning before we arrived at the boat was unclear.
  • When we got to the boat they fed us lunch, for which the apologized for the meager offerings.  Apparently the food for the cruise had not yet been loaded aboard due to some screw up.  Wasn’t clear precisely what the screw up was – we were told that the food was unloaded from an airplane and taken to the wrong port on the island, but we were also told it was still on the airplane that was inbound late.
  • We had been told there would be snorkel gear aboard the boat.  This is a 10 passenger boat and we are filled to capacity.  There are four wetsuits.  One men’s XXXL, one men’s XL, and a couple of shorties (short sleeve and short legged).  One of the crew members tried to convince Melissa that the men’s XL fit her fine despite the gaping gaps around her arms, legs, and neck that were just going to let cold water pour into the suit.  We elected not to snorkel in the cold water despite this being the only activity offered twice a day for several hours per day.
  • We went ashore for a walk along a beach with the naturalist guide.  He told us that it would be safe to bring cameras.  Mike and Holly were smart and left theirs behind, but Melissa took hers along.  That it didn’t get soaked was just the luck of the draw.  They took us to and from shore through the surf on the dingy – which we do every day so no big deal.  But for the fact that you’re gonna get wet.  That the boat didn’t put all the electronics and cameras in a dry bag to keep everyone’s stuff safe was mind boggling.  You can bet that just because they assured us our camera would stay dry didn’t mean if it got wet they were going to pay to replace it.  We later asked for a dry bag and they told us that yes of course, they had dry bags aboard.  A black trash bag was produced.
  • Since two of the passengers were on a late flight, the boat dropped us on the beach for the guided walk, along with snorkel gear for those that wanted to snorkel.  Fortunately we were smart enough to realize that no one was going snorkeling in this particular bay – it was rough – with three foot white caps making swimming difficult to say nothing of trying to actually snorkel.  But the boat then left us there to return to port to pick up the late inbound passengers.  So we had nothing to do but sit on the beach for a couple of hours waiting for the boat to come back because local park regulations won’t allow visitors to do anything other than walk up and down the beach – no exploration beyond the high water mark is allowed.
  • At dinner purchase of wine and beer was supposed to be offered.  But none of the crew speaks any English, and our English speaking guide apparently doesn’t consider it part of his job to come and make sure everything is going well aboard the boat.  His job is to do the walks on shore – twice a day for an hour each.  When we aren’t actively engaged in a nature tour, he makes himself unavailable by heading for the crew quarters.  So we couldn’t figure out if the wine and beer were supposed to be a “help yourself” and write down what you use on the whiteboard next to the liquor cabinet or if we are supposed to be served by the crew.  We did eventually managed to figure out that they had no wine, but there was beer for sale that they were happy to provide.
  • While the four of us are comfortable aboard the boat and could likely react to any emergency, some of the passengers have never been aboard a boat before.  No safety briefing.  Not even a “here’s where the life jackets are located”.  Turns out the life jackets are in your cabin – where you probably can’t get at them in an emergency during the day when you are up on deck.  And they are tied up with string such that it’s not clear whether you could quickly get them lose from where they are hanging or if you would end up hopelessly frustrated by a tangled knotted mess.
  • Onto the boat itself… again, we knew this was the “economy” boat.  But there are no toilet seats in any of the bathrooms.  We kid you not.  And our toilet leaks so badly that the bathroom floor is always soaking wet.  They run the generator aboard the boat to supply power to the electrical systems, but they turn it off at night.  Which turns off all the lights.  So if you get up in the middle of the night to use the head, you have to do it in the pitch black dark.  Where the bottoms of your PJs promptly get soaked.  And if you aren’t careful, you will fall in due to the lack of seat.  All while you are feeling about trying to find the toilet paper.  Was it on the wall to the left or right?  Fun times.

Ok, enough whining.  On to the good stuff…

We did go walking on Playa Las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island and got to see these cool flamingos fly by.  It was named Las Bachas – which means barge because a big barge sank when it hit the beach.

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