That positive forecast comes as one Whittier charter company is expanding their operation and banking on bigger business.
Lazy Otter Charters has been shuttling people around Prince William Sound for more than 15 years. Up until last month, they were doing it in a small six-passenger boat. At the beginning of May, Mike and Kelly Bender were able to pick up the 22-passenger Qayak Chief from another couple retiring from the charter business.
“This will probably triple our business,” Kelly Bender said.
They’ve got big plans for the boat. Besides being able to haul more people, they hope to help out with the next big movie that shoots in Alaska, and even year-round operations.
Higher gas prices and a bigger boat allowed Lazy Otter to implement “ride sharing” by picking up and dropping off people during the same trip through Prince William Sound.
“There's a calendar on our website and we basically let you know where we are going,” Kelly Bender said. “We're going to a certain area and we have so many seats, or we're dropping somebody off in this area so we can pick up another group on the way back. It really helps kind of soften the costs for people”
The Benders say so far traffic through Whittier is up and their bookings are as well.