Monday, March 31, 2008
Goldfish had a bridal shower tonight so Chico and I were on our own - we spent the time walking up the backside of Bunker Hill. You can see Chico is looking fabulous as usual and I scraped off the beard for Spring cleaning because between the big rain storm the other night and the warm temperatures I think winter is on the run! You can see in the top photo how much snow has melted in the past week . . .
The pictures of the ice encrusted rocks I posted a couple days ago were taken quite by accident! Goldfish and I were snowshoeing along the bay, picking our way across snow slides that were icy from repeatedly freezing and thawing and trying to avoid the rocks that would occasionally tumble down from above. There was a tricky spot on this particular slide but I was waiting patiently, snapping a few photos, when I heard a whoosh and saw Goldfish take the express elevator to the beach. She was laughing pretty hard so I snapped a photo and slid down to join her where we stripped off the snowshoes and continued the days walk below instead. You can see why it takes awhile in the spring for the road crews to clear the road to Summers Bay!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Out here, I live and work and sleep literally on top of the longest continuously inhabited coastal settlement in North America - with history spanning ten thousand years - right on the ithmus of land where the river empties into the sea. A true Sense of Place. Yet I can't just hop on the internet and Google for information or order books from Amazon to explain what I see all around me. There are whispers of maybe a guy that lives somewhere here who knows about the geology of the area. The University of Alaska is conducting dives along the Aleutians to try to catalog the underwater flora and fauna that have never been seen and are discovering brand new species as they go. The weather patterns are so unpredictable and extreme that you really never know what the day will bring. And when I go for walks - anywhere here - it seems like new mysteries are waiting to be discovered.
Honestly, when I found how very little published information there was to explain this world around me I was frustrated. Research is in my blood and I do it well and I don't think I realized there were limits. I always thought there was a book out there to show me anything I wanted to know. Slowly, step by step, I almost feel like I've settled back in time to where information was gleaned from direct observation. I'm surrounded by the unknown and everyday I find out something new - not something like a new item of gossip about who is doing what with whom - things like where foxes go for fresh water, and where you can find crab shells dropped from eagle perches, how the wind interacts with the land, and where the birds go at night. Information is a lot tougher to come by out here but its worth seems greater when hard won.
Anyways, enough rambling and off to bed for me . . . cheers!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The last couple nights Goldfish and I have been heading out to the valley after work to snowshoe and give Chico his run - beautiful place to hike but horrible flat light for photography. The wind whistles through, on our backs on the first half of the hike, in our face on the way back to the car, sculpting the snow into fantastic shapes, filling our tracks within minutes, Chico seemingly indifferent to its push or pull.
Most of the crab fleet has either gotten their quota or has ceased operations until the ice situation gets better - it has been an especially bad year for sea ice with one of the boats that delivers to our work losing all but 17 of their 200 pots under the ice.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Goldfish and I snowshoed up the back side of Bunker Hill tonight in a nice gale and I'm just starting to thaw after a hot shower and a giant mug of hot tea. That Goldfish, she's tougher than she looks . . . . I had to consult a windchill chart when I got home and was surprised to see at an air temp of 20 degrees, an increase in wind from 20 mph (baseline tonight) to gusts of easily 60 mph (almost knocking me down) the windchill only drops 8 degrees. The moral of the story is for me to dress more warmly when Goldfish is picking the workout, and that conditions looked and felt a lot more extreme than they actually were at the summit - I just knew I had to keep moving, and fast, or I was going to get hurt by the cold. I had a nice iced up beard going by the time we got back to the car and two ice horns growing out of my eyebrows.
The picture above I took last month and I think it demonstrates that sometimes there is such a thing as too many eagles - they aren't quite as majestic when there are 50 or 60 in the frame. It was however a great opportunity to observe group behavior and I did come away with a couple nice close-ups of individual eagles that I've posted earlier.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I was walking at noon on Saturday and saw an eagle bobbing on the surface of the water like a duck. As I watched it attempted to take off several times, each time not quite making it. Finally it took off - minus the duck it was clenching in its talons below the water line. The duck bobbed to the surface in a daze and the eagle banked sharply and dove for it again, missing twice because the duck dove under at the last second but getting it on the third try. Me? All I had was my cell phone, no camera, but I snapped a couple shots so Dad, if you're reading this in Maine, please dig through my laptop case and load any cords you find as well as any software CDs in a priority mailer and send it my way, I'd like to upload the pics from the cell phone and see if they are any good because it was an amazing experience. It was raining and it was a bit off shore so I'm not hopeful, but still . . . .
Sorry I've been absent lately and have not been reading my blog roll friends, it has been pretty hectic. We ordered some wedding bands out of Ireland and they should be here tomorrow or Wednesday . . . . cheers, gotta hit the sack.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The most important discovery I made didn't take place on Little South America; I ended up exploring the nature of a relationship and fairness and love. You see, in less than a month Goldfish and I are getting married, and my decision to spend 30 evenings on Little South America exploring (with my long hours, that time constitutes essentially all my free time each day) was maybe not the most mature idea I've had . . . . . and the ensuing discussions brought us both to a lot better place, the terrain we covered as important as any I was hiking.
I will always be pushing the envelope more than Goldfish - we're just wired differently. We have different dreams but are facing in the same direction and maybe someday I'll drag her with me to Little South America 30 days in a row but for now we're walking together and life is good. I'm going to have to put this one on the shelf for now . . .
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
1. The level of my fatigue - definitely exceeded my expectations. I'm not sure this is a positive thing, but after uploading the photo for this post last night I was so close to bonking out right at the laptop I decided discretion was the better part of valor and I retreated to the bedroom where I spent a lovely 10 hours recouping from a tough week. Of course there is no real weekend out here during the season, but I felt a lot fresher this morning!
2. Vermont exceeded my expectations. I mean, maple syrup, aways a treat, but passing a meassure to arrest George Bush and Dick Cheney on sight - that's going above and beyond . . .
3. Dyson vacuums - Goldfish got a Dyson Animal for her birthday a couple weeks ago and the thing just kicks butt - German engineering meets dog hair, it makes our tired carpets look new. And free shipping to Unalaska? Priceless . . . . .
4. My movie pick for the week was Juno - both Goldfish and I enjoyed it immensely. It combined realism with hope, a delicate trick, and the acting was great.
5. And finally, my family. I've been rolling out some pretty big news this week as time allowed (it's tough to get in phone calls with long hours and time zone differences) and without exception, from coast to coast and points in between, they were all suportive and loving. I'm a very lucky guy . . . . .
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Two of our pollock boats are heading back to Seattle for the season break and we're flying the first batch of procesors home on Monday; "A" Season is winding to a close . . . .
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Today was pretty super fabulous, weather-wise - sunny and warm with just a hint of a light breeze, it made me believe spring is just around the corner. We all went snowshoeing after work and were treated to feeding sea lions and a nice sunset. I can't wait until this weekend when Daylight Savings Time starts, that will extend my range on after work hikes with good light until 9 or so and the days getting longer all the time. It's hard to believe there is just a little over 6 weeks until vacation!
Monday, March 3, 2008
There is always so much going on with the sky out here - birds soaring, crazy cloud formations, wind whipped snow - and the sky seems huge. The big ocean, sure, everyone knows about that but its the big sky I think that can make a boat seem tiny.
Had an interesting walk with Chico tonight - he finally found a fox to chase and it turns out he doesn't really know what to do when he gets close to catching it. He is going to sleep VERY well tonight . . . .
I'm heading to bed, cheers everyone . . .
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Those of you that know boats can probably imagine the level of my excitement - which words cannot actually adequately convey - when I'm around the patrol boat used by the Port of Dutch Harbor. Some might say slapping twin 225's on a light weight glorified Zodiac is too much - I'm just sorry I didn't think of it first . . . . . .