Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween (Again)

Goldfish had to work this evening so I met Keri at Summer's Bay and we let the dogs run on the beach. I left a bucket of candy on the door step so the trick-or-treaters could help themselves while I was gone . . .

It was blowing snow at Summer's Bay and was collecting on the downwind side of ths huge log in the top picture. I collected about 20 pieces of pumice on the beach - they are my new favorite finds. They are rounded by the wave action and they float! Not sure what volcano is creating the lava but I love finding the pumice on the beach . . .

Testing, Testing . . . .

Looks like Blogger is doing a little better tonight, it only took a couple tries to get the image uploaded. This was last night's pizza before I added the final and extensive coating of cheese and popped it in the oven. I learned a couple things - the maple syrup in the dough is a nice touch, and I made and used too much dough for the pan I was using. I'm going to make another one tommorow, making a few adjustments, to use up the rest of the toppings I had left over. Cheers . . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pizza and a Movie

Awwww, Blogger isn't handling image uploads tonight for some reason but I wanted to check in since I missed blogging last night. The pizza was a 90% success - the toppings (creamy garlic sauce on one half, pizza sauce on the other half, red onions, green pepper, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, artichoke hearts, black olives, blue cheese, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarilla cheese and of course plenty of king crab meat) were right on but the crust turned out a bit thick. I'm going to adjust the amount of dough and cook another one in a couple days. Cheers and good night, more pictures (hopefully) tommorow.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Well . . .

That was a quick World Series, I'm sure my Dad is going to bed with a smile on his face. Goldfish just got home, she has been incredibly busy with all the crab deliveries - the captains all have to complete their paperwork with her before they leave the dock so she is on call 24 hours a day.

Me, I've been doing a bit of housework and looking for a good pizza crust recipie since my chances to cook my monthly dinner are running out for October. Only a few more days left in the 2007 pollock season . . . quota was left in the ocean for all the processors and next year will see a 10 to 15 percent reduction in the pollock quota which has an effect on the city budget which is largely funded from fish taxes. Luckily the increase in crab will partially off-set the shortfall.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Views From The Living Room

I'm sure everyone saw that huge moon a few nights ago - out here it came up right between Newhall and Split Top mountains. The top picture shows my favorite tugboat, the James Dunlap, pushing a big cargo ship to the APL dock to be unloaded. For a sense of scale, the tugboat is 100 feet long . . . . both shots were taken right out my living room window this week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dumb But Fun

Let's see, what were the highlights - it was windy, at times extremely windy; after I reached the first summit and started traversing to the other summit it started snowing - sideways; and I ran out of light, lost the trail, and had to bushwack my way down the mountain to the truck. All in all, the perfect Alaskan experience. And the perfect ending - I arrived home soaking wet, tired and frozen, and Goldfish warmed up some soup and made me a sandwich while I took a hot shower. I don't deserve her but I'm keeping her anyways . . .

The top picture is looking towards the second summit from the first. The second picture shows the narrow saddle and trail connecting the two summits. The other three pictures are looking back at Dutch Harbor / Unalaska as the light faded and the snow and wind picked up. For those that have never visited, this view shows pretty much the whole populated area of the island.

Fun time, I've "fed the monkey" and I'm recharged and ready to face more spreadsheets tommorow . . . nite all, good to talk to you today Bro, I love you . . .

Before and After

I was in a bad mood today . . . not sure why, I was feeling like I had let my brother down, that I was not making him feel as loved and missed as I should since I moved out to the island . . . work was - well - it was work. I knew I need to get out and push the edge a bit, knock the dust off. Keri picked up Goldfish to go walk the dogs so I could have the truck, I skipped the galley, grabbed a handful of pumpkin seeds and a Nalgene of water, and headed to Ballyhoo to accomplish a goal I had before winter - to hike to the first summit and traverse to the other summit. I knew time would be tight as I got out at 6 and it gets dark by 8:30. But it was fun!! And it did the trick . . . . you can tell by the before and after pics!! I'll post photos from the hike on a seperate post . . . .

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pacific Sun

This isn't one of ours but if I'm out walking with my camera and a new boat comes through the East Channel I like to take a few shots. It would be cool to gradually collect pictures of the whole fleet . . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winter is Creeping Down

The temperature was a pretty balmy 46 degrees today but you can tell by the snow slowly creeping down that we'll have some at sea level eventually. I'm not complaining - it is super mild out here compared to the "Alaska" I'm used to, and there will only be maybe 3 months of snow on the ground compared to the 6 months in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. I've got a few more hikes I want to get in before the snow gets serious and stays around so hopefully the Sox will wrap up the World Series quickly so I can turn the TV off until the Superbowl.

Last night it was early to bed; tonight Zack called and confirmed his vacation time was approved so we're flying him out to the island for 4 days at Thanksgiving - fun! It's the only family I'll see until next April after "A" season is over and Goldfish and I do our grand tour of the states, ending up in Maine before returning to Dutch. I took the photo right across the street from my place yesterday on my lunchtime walk.

Cheers . . .

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Halloween

We carved our Halloween pumpkins tonight and since Goldfish was carving a super nice rendering of the Edvard Munch painting The Scream on hers I figured I should work up something cool. I really wanted to put the Russian Orthodox Church on a pumpkin but thought I'd save that for next year so I went with a nice local theme. Cheers . . .

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Red King Tommorow

One of our boats, F/V Bristol Mariner (sister boat to our boat Arctic Mariner pictured above) is making a red king crab delivery tommorow, our first of the season. I'm hoping I can tear myself away from purchase requisitions and spreadsheets long enough to walk the 100 yards to the dock and watch some of the unload.

We went out with Keri and Elaine to 3 Amigos tonight for their authentic Mexican night - fun fun! And it looks like my Red Sox are going to the World Series . . . . . good times . . . . cheers everyone!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Well . . . .

Let's see, what's new on the island . . . . we got a 70,000 pound delivery of golden king crab in on Thursday and should be getting some red king deliveries in a few days. I bought a 20 pound box of the brown king so Zachary can have some at Thanksgiving if he makes it out here. I signed up for a pottery class today that begins in November . . . we found a freezer out here so Goldfish doesn't have to get one in Anchorage when she goes to Anchorage in December . . . . I've got more pictures than I know what to do with . . . . I wonder if the eagles are warming up their feet when they're sitting on the street lights???

Friday, October 19, 2007

Knackered But Interesting

We were watching copies of a BBC car show that Goldfish's brother had burned onto DVDs for us and they used the term "knackered but interesting" to describe an older car. I decided that was a good term to describe my point in life - motorcycle wrecks, snow machine wrecks and various minor owwies ensure the "knackered" and I think I've had a pretty full life so far that makes me "interesting" . . .

We went out to the Grand Aleutian to celebrate our monthly anniversary of being on the island. It looks like we'll be flying Zack out here for Thanksgiving if everything works out,that will be a blast. For a break from eagles, here's an big old anchor half buried in the beach on the spit enclosing Dutch Harbor. The portion showing is about four feet long.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Unalaska Superstar

We have this local television station out here that does some some programming - all produced locally - and broadcasts public service announcements and ads with music the rest of the time. All we have ever watched is Flash on Alaska Wednesday nights at 8 if we remember. Anyways, they are having their annual fundraising drive this week and their annual production of Unalaska Superstar, a karoke competition that they showed tonight. Pretty entertaining!

It was spitting snow tonight when I went for my walk up Haystack and there is more dust on the moutains. Goldfish says I focus too much on the eagles and not enough on the ravens . . . . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Summer's Bay

Goldfish and I were out at Summers Bay last week collecting driftwood for craft projects and I saw this piece we thought was perfect but it was about 6 feet long and a few hundred pounds. I think she was still okay with me bringing it home if I could load it on the truck . . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Safe Crossing

This is the little footbridge we use to cross the river when we want to go to the library or walk up Haystack. The Isaalux Bridge name seemed a bit ironic with the eagles lining both railings, watching the river for fresh silver salmon moving up to the lake.
While I type I'm watching the two big tugs pull a huge container ship off the APL dock and remembering the evening I spent on the James Dunlap on the night of my birthday. The combined 8000 horsepower is rumbling through the window as they ease the ship away from the dock, each burning 250 gallons an hour while towing. Our crab guys settled on price today and started baiting up in preparation to head out - some have left already. The price is up nicely from last year, so with the higher quota it should be a banner year. There is only another two weeks left in the 2007 pollock season and the plant workers are thinking more and more of home and the two months off they will enjoy before the 2008 "A" season starts.
I'm taking the evening off to chill out and read - cheers everyone . . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007

With Repetition Begins Transcendence

I'm not sure who originally said that but it took three months on a sorting line for me to understand it. You can figure out a lot doing hard physical labor for 12 hours a day, seven days a week. You truly do work through it and out to the other side . . . . my production plant time is behind me now but the lessons I learned stayed with me.

This is probably my favorite of the eagle shots I took yesterday, I was probably three feet away from the eagle and I believe he was contemplating taking action to re-establish his personal space. My family will tell you that in Maine and the rest of Alaska I can't pass up taking a photo of moose - well in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska there are no moose or bears, just foxes and eagles and ravens . . . . . so folks, you're going to see lots of eagles because I can't get enough of them and I'm surrounded by them every day. Cheers . . .

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Red King Season Tommorow

The red king crab opens tommorow and you can see a lot of the fleet tied up at the docks, probably still negotiating price. Our boats are not heading out yet and it looks like the situation is similar at other seafood companies. The opening price is higher than last year, even though the quotas are up - great news for the fleet. I took these from Haystack Hill tonight on my walk along with some great eagle pictures I'll post over the next few days. The top picture shows the Unisea plant and the bottom is Alyeska Seafoods - lots of boats tied up at the dock all over. We skipped the galley tonight so Goldfish could cook a rice and bean dish and a big salad - it was fantastic and guilt free. I was hiking Haystack tonight to "pay for" eating the prime rib last night at the galley . . . .

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wild (??) Horses of Summers Bay

This post if for my wonderful sister in Idaho, whom I love and miss very much - great to talk to you last night! These are the "wild" horses of Summers Bay - I saw them when I visited Dutch Harbor a few years ago, before I moved here, but I have not seen them until this evening when Goldfish and I headed out to do some beach combing at Humpy Cove. I think a woman wrote a children's book about them back in the 90's, I saw a copy over at the museum bookstore. Anyways, they are beautiful and very friendly and I shared my apple with them so they wouldn't climb into the passenger seat with me.

The crab fleet is definitely in town - Latitudes (formerly the Elbow Room, and soon to be closed forever) is packed tonight with fishermen and crab groupies. The Cornelia Marie went by the plant this afternoon and on the way to Summers Bay we could see a helicopter buzzing over some crab boats about a mile offshore, so I'd say the Deadliest Catch film crew is here and filming. There was some more termination dust on the mountains today but it was a nice sunny 46 degrees down by the water. Cheers!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Loving the Eagles

I'm not sure why there are so many hanging around the house these days - and I have no idea what the one in the bottom picture is doing - but I'm loving the eagles everywhere, it reminds me of how it was in June when I first got here. The one in the top picture is the same one from yesterday's posting . . . cheers!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eagles Are Back

There seem to be more eagles hanging around lately, which I love. I don't know where they go but there seems to be a seasonal fluctuation in the numbers hanging right around the house. The most I have seen was that day I counted about sixty just walking from the library to the house, and then some days last month I would only see a few over the course of the day. They are always a welcome sight - I took the picture above today at lunchtime when I took a walk along the creek. He was eating a salmon and I caught him just as he was taking off.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oh My . . .

Today at noon, out the living room window, through the fog, you can see the snow dusting the top of Mount Newhall, the mountain I hiked just a couple short weeks ago. It is all melted now, as I type this glancing out the window, but it is definitely a sign of things to come . . . .

Monday, October 8, 2007

Water Water Everywhere . . .

Not the water surrounding the island, the water in the nalgene bottles I'm sucking down to get my veins nice and plump for tomorrow's trip to the clinic. With the new job comes the new medical benefits and the new physical with the new blood work - for some reason my arms have always been a problem to every phlebotomist I've met; I even stopped giving blood years ago because it just wasn't worth the hassle, despite all the good deed aspects.

Anyways, short post tonight, we're watching God Grew Tired of Us tonight, a documentary on the Sudanese refugees relocated to America . . . gotta love Netflix. . . . cheers! The picture was taken at Humpy Cove at the mouth of the creek; Chico ran down the beach and got all the seagulls flying at once.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

100th Post

This is the 100th post for this blog, one I started soon after I arrived in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. I actually started it about a week after I got here, as soon as I had internet access at home. It is very different than my other blog but it is exactly what I envisioned at the beginning - almost all the pictures are mine (except for two of Aubrey and one of the jumping whale) and there are really no deep thoughts posted here. It is a way to keep in touch with the family I have spread from coast to coast - a son in Anchorage, a sister in Idaho, a son in North Dakota, and a sister, brother and Dad in Maine. I moved here because there is tremendous opportunities out here, the company I work for is first rate, the beauty of Unalaska is amazing, there was no one place I could live to be close to everyone, and Goldfish loves it here - and I love Goldfish. I have not had an unhappy day out here; just the opposite, I am always challenged, I have seen and done amazing things, and every day seems ripe with opportunity.

I've found that I can be as close to my sons from here as anywhere else - after all, what would I do, live somewhere in British Columbia, halfway between them? I do wish I was closer to my Dad and brother in Maine but I think after me being in Alaska 19 years they are at peace with where I live and it gives them a great place to visit. My sister in Idaho is a tougher one - I miss her dearly, and there are times I have considered living there. I remember times on my motorcycle riding by her town in the evening, the fields of fresh mint flooding my senses, small town football games being played under the lights with all the town in attendance; cheap, fresh produce pulled from the ground that morning, the mountains an hour ride away. I miss her, and my nieces and nephew. But I do dearly love this rock I live on . . . .

I took this picture last week when I was walking with Chico on the beach at Humpy Cove. The wind was whipping the sand along the beach and it was exposing all these wonderful finds, ripe for the picking. I have a nice stash of fantastic driftwood from that day. Anyways, the wind was also exposing dried out, almost mummified, spawned out salmon. The seagulls were pecking at them (those are the tracks) and Chico was eating them whenever my back was turned (they give him very bad breath on the ride home). All the shells and driftwood seemed to be floating on the sand from the windstorm . . .

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Changing Out The Gear

Cod season closed at the end of September and all our boats that fish cod for us also fish crab as well, requiring a gear change. Ironically, crab pots and cod pots are identical except for the opening, and some pots have openings that can be configured either way (but I hear they are a pain to switch over). Our guys just switch to another set of pots entirely - this picture shows three of our boats rafted up next to the dock in preparation for unloading their cod pots last week.

This got me thinking about changes I have to make as well. My move from blue collar to white collar out here in Unalaska means I need to find time to still work out and the press of the holidays means I need to get cranking on all my projects. No big changes, just little nudges on the tiller to keep me pointed in the right direction . . . .

I'm keeping this short, I just had a nice talk with my Dad back in Maine (love you Dad) and we're going to throw a movie in the new DVD player (love you Zack). Cheers everyone . . . .

Friday, October 5, 2007

Beached Barge

A couple days ago Goldfish and I took the dogs for a walk around the base of Ballyhoo past the airport. The top photo shows Chico exploring the inside of the processor barge that is beached out there; the third picture you can see one of the several seals that were bobbing right off shore watching us walking the dogs.
And speaking of beached barges, one ran aground in Humpy Cove early this morning. Humpy Cove is the spot where I took the photo of a large broken fish float on the beach and posted it a few days ago. You can read about the grounding here. You'll notice the article states the winds were gusting at 46 MPH when the barge was found drifting towards shore this morning - and this had calmed down quite a bit from the night before - I told you it was breezy out here lately! Perfect weather for the start of the red king crab season in 10 days! Cheers . . .

Ohhhh Yeah . . .

The big news . . . . my youngest son Trevor and his super cool wife Megan have been trying to add to the family and he told me two days ago they seem to have been successful so little Aubrey won't be the only child by the time her second birthday rolls around - and now I'll have TWO grandchildren??!!! How can that be possible, I'm barely an adult myself?? Anyways, congratulations Trevor and Megan, you are amazing parents! I'm proud of you both, love ya - Dad

Thursday, October 4, 2007


We're getting some serious wind gusts this evening, even by Dutch Harbor standards. One of our crab captains was up in the parts room today commenting that when it starts howling like this, you know it's crab season. We're getting a delivery of about 100,000 pounds tommorow morning.

I took this photo yesterday when we walked along the base of Ballyhoo to the shipwreck - it was fun! You can see from the wind sock by the runway it was breezy yesterday as well but tonight is a whole new level. There were seals right off shore keeping an eye on us while we walked by, there was a cave dug into the base of the mountain, and the wreck was fun to explore. We stopped by Surefish and picked up Keri's dog Kali to keep Chico company and a good time was had by all.

I'll post more pictures from yesterday soon. Tonight we went to the Museum of the Aleutians for a lecture and book signing by Ray Hudson wrote Moments Rightly Placed, and is just releasing Family After All documenting Alaska's Jesse Lee Home in Unalaska between the years of 1889 and 1925. He was a very good speaker and a super nice guy; I'm looking forward to reading his latest.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Quick Post

Goldfish and I are going for a long beach walk and then out to eat tonight so I thought I'd get a quick post in at lunch. This is a remains of a huge float on the beach past Summer's Bay - I could have curled up in it. You can see Little Bishop's Rock in the distance, off the point. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Big News

Today was day two of the new job, not too much to report on that front yet. I didn't post anything Sunday night as that was my night to cook . . . I hit two out of three recipies, the cherry and chocolate chip scones came out good, the quiche lorraine came out good, but the English muffins from scratch, baked on a griddle, were not the best. It is from a very old family recipie from a cookbook my sister compiled last year so the directions are a bit "sparse". I love a challenge though so I'll keep trying until I get it right.

After work tonight Goldfish and I went hiking on Ballyhoo with our friend Keri and her dog Kali, and of course Chico. We watched the whales for awhile while the dogs played; the weather was outstanding!

The photo shows crates of crab legs coming out of the cooker and into the chiller. After the chiller they are glazed, boxed and shipped. We're getting another crab delivery in a couple days, it's a fun process to watch.

The big news? Can't tell, I promised I'd wait a couple days! Cheers and good night!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wierd Feeling

I started my new job today - same company - and I felt disconnected from the whole process. In the plant I could watch sea lions jump out of the water with salmon in their mouth, watch the boats go by in the East Channel, watch the sunrise every morning, watch the birds, watch the salmon jumping, watch the weather change (sometimes minute by minute), watch the wind play with the water. Now, in the engineering office, I don't even see the outside until I go to lunch or come home. I think the solution might be to take a walk at lunch and then spend lots of time outside in the evenings when I can.

We were up on Haystack Saturday and I took pictures of the Iliuliuik River below. In the top picture, see all the white things in the water? Those are spawned out salmon that won't flush out until the next tide. The middle picture shows the seagulls making a guantlet for the salmon to run on their way upstream; you can see all the fins of the salmon sticking out of the water. The bottom picture shows the number of gulls there were with the Russian Orthodox Church in the background.