As I mentioned in the My First Time: The Victoria Clipper piece last week, I not only had the opportunity to head up to Victoria, Canada for a day drip with one of my colleagues, but captain David Mayden, co-captain Robert Reeder and Engine Controller Kurt Sutter also trusted us enough to spend some time hanging out in the cockpit of the Victoria Clipper IV on our journey back.
Talking with the men responsible for our lives on open water while they were working was a bit odd at first, but they reassured us that they knew what they were doing—thanks to being caffeinated by Caffe Vita coffee.
With our trip coinciding with the launch of Vita’s Caffe Luna drip on each Clipper vessel and in their Seattle café, it seemed as if every crewmember was ecstatic about the change.
And since Mayden, Reeder and Sutter were so welcoming; they let us ask them some questions while we got the best view on the boat. Here’s what they had to say.
Mayden: “I must say, I love Caffe Vita coffee. I actually go there quite often, usually heading up on the one in Capitol Hill.”
How long have you been working at the Clipper, how you got into it and what intrigues you doing it?
Mayden: “I was working on other boats, small passenger vessels and I didn’t want to go out to sea anymore, so I started looking for jobs where I could come home at night, and I found this job. After I was hired as an attendant downstairs, I just sort of worked my way up from that to mate to finally captain. And I’ve been here about 10 years.”
As someone who just visited Victoria for the first time, is there anything you recommend as a must-see?
Reeder: “The Royal BC Museum.”
Mayden: “It’s one of the best national history museums that you’ll find anywhere.”
Seeing how Victoria is so big on coffee itself, how do you compare it to Seattle’s coffee scene?
Mayden: “I’ve had varying experiences. There’s one coffee shop that I go near the Clipper Condo (where the crew stays overnight on trips), which is an independent place, and they have really good coffee. Overall, though, I’ve found that the coffee isn’t quite as good as Seattle.”
How much do you rely on coffee each morning?
Reeder: (laughing) “I don’t want to say that I rely on it, but I will say that I’m a connoisseur. And by that I mean that, yeah, I really am just an addict. I really like the Caffe Vita in Capitol Hill; it’s one of my favorite spots. My friends and I go and hang out upstairs and just relax. It’s great.”
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Mayden: (points to the open sea) “This is my office. (Laughing) But besides the obvious, I would have to say not having to work in a regular office. I could never do that. More than that, though, it’s the people. I love the people. We have a great crew.”
Are you excited about having Caffe Vita on-board?
Mayden: “Absolutely. Yes. The only reason I was drinking the coffee we had before was because I had to, it was what was available, and I had to stay awake.”
Sutter: “It’s a huge improvement. I think everyone is really excited about it because what we had before was just so terrible.”
Mayden: “One thing that I think is really important about having Vita specifically is, since we’re a tourist attraction, people expect to get good coffee when in Seattle, and they get that with a cup of Vita. We’re representing Seattle, and now they get that.”
What do you think about the Caffe Luna blend that we offer?
Sutter: “I really like it. It’s rich and smooth at the same time.
Mayden: “I like it, too, but, personally, it’s a little light for me (even though it’s the darkest roast Vita offers). I like my coffee really, really dark. It’s super smooth. Just before you came up here while on our North Side trip, I thought to myself, ‘Man, this coffee is good.’ It’s very drinkable. Super smooth.”
How critical is it to have good coffee available?
Mayden: “It’s just really good to have good coffee. Like, it’s a total morale thing. When you get to work at 4:45 in the morning and you have a shitty cup of coffee, that doesn’t help your day at all. But when you’re sitting there with a nice cup of coffee and you’re taking on fuel early in the morning; that definitely helps. I think it really has boosted the entire crew’s morale. Good coffee can go a long way.”
Sutter: “It’s important. The stuff we had before was so bad that I actually brought my own Insta Coffee. I would drink that because it was actually better than the stuff on-board. It was bad.”