As some of you know, one of the things that GW and I have done for several years is donate dinner cruises to local charities. They auction these cruises off at their annual fund raising events and over the years they have made quite a bit of money. The charities keep all the proceeds, we buy and prepare the food and serve the guests a gourmet-level meal that’s been prepared on board. The cruises have always been
for two couples and last four hours.
This year we decided to do a different style cruise offering for one of the charities. The local Tri Cities Cancer Center was the charity we did this one for and it started out to be an 8 hour cruise for 10 people, with the Cancer Center supplying the food. It sold at their fund raiser for $1800 and was one of the major money maker items for them.
As the cruise got closer, the lady who bought it kept asking if she could add “just one more friend” or “just one more couple” to the list and we were glad to oblige. As it turned out, there were 15 guests who came and we had a ball. She also promised to bring lots of food and drink for the event.
We held the cruise yesterday, with everyone meeting us at the dock at 9:30 so we could depart at 10:00. Our itinerary was to head down the Columbia to the Snake River and turn up the Snake. We would pass through Ice Harbor Lock then continue upstream where we’d anchor for awhile so people could swim. Then we headed back to Ice Harbor Lock and back to the slip. The weather cooperated beautifully. It was in the low 90’s with about a 15kt-18kt breeze most of the day.
We headed out of the slip right on schedule after a short safety briefing that covered where all the life jackets were, how to use the head without plugging it, etc. With that many people on board we had bodies everywhere. Several chose to ride on the bow on the way up the Snake.
While others stayed inside or in the cockpit or on the flybridge.
There was a TON of food, and all of it very nicely done. The boyfriend of the lady who bought the cruise brought a large tenderloin that he’d smoked and sliced for sandwiches, plus some sandwiches made from smoked salmon, fresh fruit, a veggie tray, snacks of all kinds, chips, dips, etc. You name it, they had it. They also brought copious amounts of bottled water, pop, beer, white wine and a large cooler filled with their own recipe “spode” made from white wine, vodka, Pellegrino, lemonade and fresh lemon juice.
We slow cruised up to the lock and got there right on time for the upstream lockage. Again, several people chose to sit on the bow while we went up…..
Here’s a shot of my favorite deck hand as we’re going up inside the lock.
There was more socializing after we left the lock…
Once we got anchored and the swimming started the activity seemed naturally to shift to the cockpit…
This is the lady who bought the cruise and her boyfriend as they’re clowning or the camera…
Before we hoisted the anchor and headed for home I got everyone on the bow for a group shot and a toast to a fun cruise….
After we got the anchor up we ran on plane back to the lock so we’d make it on time. Everyone was a bit surprised to see a boat that size get up and stretch her legs.
We got back to the slip just about 6:00, and hour later than what we’d planned on, but nobody complained a bit about being late. By anyone’s yardstick this cruise was very successful. Everyone on board ate well, didn’t go thirsty, had a chance to swim if they wanted and had lots of time for socializing. We covered about 48 miles all together and for almost everyone it was their first time through any of the locks on the rivers.