Sunday, June 21: Adventures in Wonderland

As 2015 represents the 150 year anniversary of Lewis Carrol’s famous novel it seems all the more appropriate that our summer in Yellowstone should so closely follow the title character’s Wonderland experience.

When we first arrived we learned the tour boat had been completely rewired “over the winter.” What we hadn’t been told was that the contractor hired for the job had been given only a week to perform the task just prior to our arrival. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone when the Coast Guard came to inspect that some things weren’t quite as they were supposed to be. Most of the discrepancies have been corrected and the toilet no longer flushes whenever we switch the marine VHF radio to channel 16.

The engine room fire suppression system also needed to be redone so the sprinkler system wasn’t drawing water from the black water holding tank (grateful we were off the day they tested that).

Apparently a few issues remain and our current unofficial hopeful guaranteed launch date for the next round of guaranteed launch date guesses is mid-July. At that point the season will be one third over and we’ll be two weeks away from the date we start scaling back tours to 6 a day.

Meanwhile the brand new fishing boats that began arriving early last season are still not running properly. These quality boats from a world renowned company are fitted with 250 horsepower engines from another world renowned company and they flat out don’t work. The propellers seem to be the main issue and I guess the 8000 foot elevation of the lake must play a role.  Our mechanics have swapped out numerous props of varying pitch to no avail. This week they’re going to try different prop materials other than stainless steel, including aluminum, clay, paper mâché, and wool.

The marine VHF radio on one of the boats has also been a problem but they seem to have resolved that by installing a small fire pit on the dive platform and teaching the guides how to send smoke signals using a slightly dampened blanket.

The weather has improved tremendously and other than slightly above average temperatures all appears normal. We’ve done some more sight seeing and enjoyed a bear encounter last week just south of Hayden Valley.

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