The M/V Kennicott and the Birders
I hesitate to even write this post, but it was a significant part of our first day on board. AdventureMan and I headed for the forward deck just after we had eaten lunch, and found a nice place to watch departure and the whales and the passing scenery. As we stood there, a crowd began to gather, and they were all chirping and grabbleing, and the group got larger and larger and we kind of got shoved aside. It wasn’t intentional, it’s just as the group grew in size, like minded birders, they just backed out, and pushed into us.
Birders. There was a group of birders on board. We like birders. We belong to a bird group! But these birders are seriously focused people. Have you seen the movie The Big Year? These birders were loaded for bear, all decked out in foul weather gear, real rubber overalls and headgear, and had serious huge single-focus lensed cameras and equally formidable bird spotters.
They took over the forward deck.
Like I say, my emotions are mixed on this, because we like birds, too. We like people who like birds. We don’t much like being pushed aside, and having to climb over equipment set up where people usually walk. For those inside, the best viewing is from the forward lounge, and there were so many of the birders, busy spotting, that you really couldn’t see from the inside, nor could you get one of these prime positions on the forward deck because they would be first up in the morning to get the spot, and they would hang out there dawn to dusk.
One of the birders turned out to be a person who knows a very good old friend of mine – life is funny that way, and you can meet some great people on the Alaskan Ferries.
We had to admire their focus, and their persistence, and their seriousness with which they pursued their passion.
When we hit Yakutat, they were first off the boat, early, 5 in the morning kind of early, the whole flock of ’em, beady little eagle eyes sharply seeking unusual birds for their check lists. You could hear them making bird noises. Back on the ship, someone would say something and all eyes, all binoculars, all cameras would turn in one direction, and people would take their best shots. They manned their prime observation post with military dedication.
They left the boat at Whittier, on the second day. We wished the all success, and we were glad to have access to the front viewing deck once again.
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