Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Harvest Continues

The salmon berries are fading but the blueberries are coming on strong! Goldfish's Mom has been a regular in the berry patches this past week and is hauling her hard earned booty back to the mainland tomorrow, all vacuum packed and frozen. It was great having her visit and we hope she comes back soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Congratulations to Alex and Crew!

For those of you that haven't been following their blog , Alex, Kimbra and Corrie have successfully sailed over the Northwest Passage and are now poised by the South tip of Greenland in preparation for crossing the North Atlantic to England. They are only the 26th small boat to ever complete this passage and they have had big adventures since that evening in June when they were in our living room! They are three of the most unassuming, friendly and competent folks I've had the pleasure of meeting and Goldfish and I wish them safe passage on the final leg of their journey.

For all adventurers, armchair and otherwise, I'd urge you to consider contributing to the Berri's voyage here - Alex is entirely self-funded, he is definitely not a corporate type. I'd consider it a personal favor if you did, as Goldfish and I have, and consider it well spent. For any that haven't, take some time and catch up on their blog as they had a front row seat this summer to one of the most gripping stories on Earth - the melting of the polar ice caps - complete with swimming polar bears far from shore.

The video is of the Berrimilla leaving the Small Boat Harbor in Dutch Harbor, the morning of June 29, 2008. Picture this 33 foot sailboat sailing from Australia to Dutch Harbor, then over North America to Greenland, and now on to England - how did YOU spend your summer vacation???

Cheers, Steve

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Olympics Closing Ceremony

The evening of the closing ceremonies I pedaled my mountain bike over the pass, 14.6 miles from doorstep to doorstep with a big hill in between. The most bizarre transformation occurred over the course of all that television watching - towards the end I found myself grabbing a pair of binoculars and watching a pair of sea otters playing in the East Channel in front of the house (while a commercial was on, of course!). What I realized is that the world seen through the television had become my new reality, and what was happening in my own front yard had become something distant and foreign. Biking the pass kicked my butt (and involved a fair amount of pushing the bike on the steeper sections), but it was my way of reconnecting to the island.

Goldfish's Mom flew in this morning for a few days and seems to be having a great time! And I'm back blogging - I'll be checking in on everyone soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not to be Outdone by My Sister . . .

Some of you might remember my sister took a photo of an eagle posed similarly when she was visiting last month. I just wanted you all to know I too was capable of capturing "poetry in motion" . . .

The dang Olympics are wearing me out, and to my regulars I apologize, I'll be back soon and will be visiting your sites to get caught up! I blame Goldfish for this - I hadn't watched them since Carl Lewis was breaking records but now I'm hooked and we're making plans to be in London in 2012 . . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Berries Are Here!

I'm starting to see a few more vehicles on the side of the road, drivers off in the bushes loading up on nature's bounty. This island is truly a berry picker's paradise - Goldfish came home from walking Chico last night with this haul and tonight we're both meeting up after work to pick to start loading up the freezer. I eat local berries 3 or 4 times a week, year round, and the best benefit is the gathering!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life's Twist and Turns

When you reach a certain age - and those of you of that "certain age" know what I'm talking about - you can look ahead and make predictions on where your working life is going to lead. You've had enough jobs to know what you're good at and enjoy doing, and you may even be in that job you can see yourself doing until retirement. The fun part is to look back on your earlier years and marvel at how you ever ended up where you are today.

I went to college for chemical engineering, then teaching, then industrial instrumentation, then anthropology. If I knew every bit of what I know today and was somehow able to start over and magically graduate from high school again and enroll in college, I would STILL not know what I want to major in, and I would STILL accumulate hundreds of credits in classes that I enjoy. I don't regret a single moment spent in a college classroom, at six different colleges. But honestly not a single class has ever helped me much in the workplace.

I've spent about equal time between earning a living with my hands and earning a living with my head - I need both parts in my life, and if I am employed using my hands then I usually focus on intellectual pursuits in my off-time; if I sit in front of a computer, I try to be more physical and hands-on in the evenings. The one thing I know for sure is I never could have imagined 25 years ago that I would be working on an island in the Bering Sea - but maybe I could have . . . . between the military, managing a grocery store, multi-craftsman at a college, and managing a small business, I also worked herring in Bristol bay and on a salmon boat in Cook Inlet. The outdoors and the sea have always been a draw for me so maybe it was inevitable I would end up here, site of the last great sustainable fishery in the world, at the busiest fishing port in the United States. Surrounded by mountains and all that you've seen on this blog, an endless Discovery Channel happening outside, waiting to be discovered. What a strange, twisting trip it's been . . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How 'bout Those Olympics?

I missed half the opening ceremonies because I took a motorcycle ride out to Morris Cove and walked on the beach. Tonight, I missed the first hour of coverage because I was in the spare bedroom installing bike computers on our bikes, but gradually I'm starting to get sucked in and have a feeling I'll be parked in front of the dreaded boob tube more than my usual couple hours a week, at least for the next couple weeks.

Goldfish is a huge Olympics fan - crazy, rabid, off her rocker-type fan (sorry sweetheart, but can you deny it??) so if I'm going to see her while the flame is lit, I'd better start getting familiar with the athletes and events . . . .

A third volcano is erupting out here and there is a fresh crop of pumice washing ashore, some of it right in front of the house. Tonight Chico and I went for a nice long beach walk before bedtime, he is on the couch now sighing dramatically because I haven't turned in . . . . cheers, sorry I haven't posted as much and am behind on comments and reading blogs - it's the Olympics!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Evening Remembered

I took this photo when my sister was visiting and I am posting it mostly to tease her - we were walking home along the beach frontage road after taking oodles of pictures of eagles and her camera batteries were all completely dead. The lighting behind the Russian Orthodox Church was getting really interesting and I took a couple shots and poked fun at her for not being prepared . . . . it was wonderful having her out for a visit - so Sis, how did your church photos come out? Ohhhhhh, that's right, ead batteries . . . . :o)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another World

The sun and fog were combining to create surreal landscapes all over the island when I got off work today so I headed out to explore. I had a tough time picking a photo out to post but felt drawn to this one - sometimes you just have to be there to experience things in person. I know I live in an amazing place but I've traveled all over the United States extensively and feel anyone can walk out their door and see something amazing. Life happens outside . . . . .

I had a wonderfully productive evening; I washed and waxed the truck, walked the dog, finished assembling Goldfish's bike, got in two motorcycle rides (one over the pass), lots of quality time with Goldfish, and trimmed up my shaggy beard. In the foreground of the photo are the sand dunes by Summers Bay. Cheers everyone, get outside and discover something amazing today . . . . . .

Monday, August 4, 2008

Waiting for Salmon

I rode out past Humpy Cove tonight after work and this youngster was sitting on the little bridge across the creek. He's keep one eye on me and every once in awhile he'd check the creek below for new arrivals, fresh from the ocean on the last high tide. The salmonberries are just starting to ripen - should be good picking when Goldfish's Mom comes out in two weeks!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Random Bird Brainage - Chapter 1

Goldfish and I went to dinner at a coworker's house tonight; fish tacos, beans and rice, mango and banana crepes and good conversation made for a relaxing evening. Now I'm poised at the emotional summit, distantly aware of the enormous amount I need to get done in the next 24 hours but not ready to commit to the task just yet. In this state of mental neutrality I thought I'd throw up some tidbits of Alaska Steve trivia for general consumption . . . . .

1. In case you haven't figured it out, this blog's primary purpose is to give my Dad something to read in the morning when he eats his cereal. It's a tiny bit more complex, perhaps - there is a son in Anchorage; a son in North Dakota; a brother and sister in Maine; and a sister in Idaho in addition to my Dad in Maine eating cereal - but more than anything, it is the thought of my Dad not having a post to read that will drive me to commit that 20 minutes to getting something up, no matter how long my day has been. Case in point, it's after midnight and I need to be up in a few hours, and here I am . . . . a blog is just simply an efficient and elegant way to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. I have also made a few new friends along the way that I like and admire and would have never met off-line.

2. I have nothing to sell and no agenda to push. When I was growing up my Mom and Dad would generally cancel each other out at the polling booth, and I'm a product of that - I'm not the most conservative member of my family but neither am I the most liberal. As are many Alaskans, I'm a member of the Independent political party but do not necessarily vote along party lines. I am most passionate about issues I feel I can investigate first hand and effect a change in such as North Pacific / Bering Sea commercial fishing policies.

3. With that said, I have nothing but admiration for folks that blog to educate, illuminate, and advocate their position. I love regional blogs that are often the best source of news in that particular area, I love blogs with photos taken by the blog author, and I love blogs that follow grand adventures. You might be surprised to know I only read just a handful of blogs regularly - that is due to time constraints, not a lack of interest. I do generally investigate and bookmark the blog of anyone who takes the time and trouble to leave me a comment, and I plan on linking to more of those blogs soon. I've been blogging for three years now and I can't imagine stopping, and I have few ideas for additional blogs for the future.

Enough bird brainage for now, cheers . . . . .

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ulatka Head

Ulatka Head is the portion of Ballyhoo farthest from the airport. These were taken when my sister was here - in the top photo she is on the top of a bunker looking down the cliff and then Chico and I are completely upstaging her in the bottom photo. This bunker is maybe 300 meters from the bunker in the photos from my last post. Saturday night Goldfish and I walked Chico at this same spot under completely different weather conditions, looking for a reported beached whale on the rocks below Ulatka Head; we could barely make out the anything as the whole area was in the clouds.

Tonight Care Bear came over and showed us her vacation photos and trimmed up our herbal garden. Work is pretty intense this weekend with end of month and it's still rattling around in my head so I can't think of anything clever to say . . . . .

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rest Day

After a really busy month of July I declared a productivity holiday this evening and stayed in, reading and napping. I've got a million projects and the end of month reporting looms on the horizon but tonight was pure self-indulgence. Bro, great to talk to you at lunch!

These are a couple pictures taken on Ballyhoo when my sister was here; just beyond where she is sitting is a very long sheer drop to the Bering Sea. This a wonderful spot to watch the fleet come in, whale watch, or just find peace from a busy day. My sister connected with the spot right away - what an obviously ocean gal is doing in Idaho is beyond me . . . .