Seaside resident Christopher Lloyd is the captain of Astoria's new ecotouring boat, the 40-foot yacht Christina Cousteau.
Lloyd launched Columbia River Eco Tours Inc. in March and started offering sightseeing trips to guests at the Cannery Pier?Hotel in Astoria this month.
One of its first journeys included passengers from the television program PDXposed, which is scheduled to air the trip along with its tour of Astoria on KGW NewsChannel 8 on May 8 and 9.
Lloyd's ecotours highlight the sea lions in Astoria's East Mooring Basin, the historic Hanthorn Cannery at Pier 39, the U.S. Coast Guard station at Tongue Point, bald eagles at the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary in Cathlamet Bay, giant sitka spruce and a wide array of waterfowl in the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the hand-cranked railroad bridge and salmon nursery in Knappa's Blind Slough. And, yes, the yacht has a heated cabin and restroom facilities.
His tours are being promoted at the?Cannery Pier Hotel currently, but Lloyd has begun spreading the word to other hotels in the area.
Donna Quinn, a marketing manager for the Cannery Pier Hotel, said the new business fits perfectly with what her hotel guests are seeking when they visit Astoria. "When we have guests who come to Astoria, they want to learn about the river. The river is a defining thing here," she said. "This is an opportunity to get people out on the water in a really wonderful way."
Lloyd has degrees in ocean engineering and oceanography.?He's been living in Seaside for 10 years, and recently got his boat captain's license through Clatsop Community College's Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station. He's also worked as a lobster fisherman, a model and an actor.
While he is happy to provide information about the river on the trips, Lloyd said his primary goal is just to let people see it for themselves.
"I really want people to experience the Columbia through their own senses, and I'll tell them more if they want," he said. "You could call it ecotourism or just floating on the water."
Lloyd discovered after starting the business that someone else had launched a Web site with the same name in 2002. It was Robert Jacob, owner of the Cannery Pier Hotel. Lloyd purchased the domain name, (www.columbiariverecotours.com), which is now full of information about his tours, his yacht and his own personal history.
Four-hour tours cost $125 and depart a 9 a.m., 3 p.m. or 6 p.m. from the West Mooring Basin, slip D-7. They pass underneath the Astoria Bridge before heading farther upriver.?Shorter tours are also available.