Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a Busy Week!

Let's see, since I blogged last I had EMT training on Thursday night - Dr. Baines gave a fantastic lecture on the Native American perspective to medicine and medical care - he is polishing the talk before presenting it to the Mayo Clinic; Friday after work I brought Jed for a walk down by the processor wreck and the firing range, then we played wii golf until midnight; Saturday after work was the Soup Off to benefit USAFV (Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence) - we took home a jacket, fleece pants, a shirt, a wonderful book and video from the silent auction, 4 free haircuts and 50 pounds of free air freight from door prizes, and a gourmet dinner for two and tour on the Tugboat Gyrfalcon from the live auction; and finally tonight after work we went to a very dear friend's birthday party, then I went to Book Club - whew!

I've been on edge for the past two weeks and I finally realized why.  I have a lot of empathy, and this has been a really tough end to the season between the storms and the volcano repeatedly blowing its top.  There are hundreds of people I have said "Thanks for your hard work this season and have a great vacation" to, and then had to see them stuck here day after day, unable to go home.  I have friends stuck in Anchorage (the airport is completely closed and thousands of passengers are backed up), and if the blizzards stop long enough and the flying weather improves, it seems like Mount Redoubt blows again.  I hope this week we can get everyone home safely, get the plant back to just one shift, and all my friends can get to where they need to be in a timely manner.  Cheers everyone!  The photo is eagles hanging out at the Small Boat Harbor last week. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bracing Against the Last of Winter

This has been a tough week out here, mentally - we are back in full winter mode after a tantalizing early break-up and near spring last month, and the volcano is still blowing on and off, making it difficult to get our crews home for their season break.

I was watching this raven being blasted by the wind the other day and I realized I never knew their feathers were light colored under the black, and I marveled at the fine banding on their feet and legs.  I was also amazed the raven could keep its perch, given the wind velocity.  Isn't it interesting when we see new aspects of familiar things?

Monday, March 23, 2009

All Too Easy ?

It is almost impossible to not anthropomorphize this eagle, given the look on his face (you may need to double click the photo to enlarge it).  Clearly, he is appalled by the state of the nation these days . . . 

Just when we are wrapping the pollock season up and starting to fly our crews home, Mount Redoubt is erupting, forcing the airlines to cancel all the flights.  The airlines up here don't take any chances, especially after a Mount Redoubt ash cloud in 1989 caused KLM Flight 867 with 245 passengers to lose all four engines and plunge over 13,000 feet before the pilots managed an emergency restart and landing in Anchorage.  This could be very bad news for all fisheries out here that are trying to fly crews home - the logistics could get interesting with no air freight coming in (no mail, no emergency parts, etc.) or out (no medivacs, no mail, no one leaves the island).  Additionally, we all buy our food weeks in advance, shipped by barge from Seattle, based on projected crew levels.  The menu may get a bit spotty if we don't ship that 30 folks a day home for the next 10 days or so . . . . . 

Friday, March 20, 2009

On Second Thought . . . .

Maybe they aren't always really all that spotless . . . . 

Tonight after work I walked the dock by the plant and spotted these dirty birds, tearing into a fish - quite a different sight than the one bathing!  After taking pictures it was off to Public Safety for training and then to the Grand with Goldfish to celebrate our "Island Anniversary".

Monday, March 16, 2009

Keeping Our Nose Clean

Considering some of the gore and nastiness eagles get into on a daily basis, it always amazes me how they stay so clean looking.  The answer of course is they need to stay clean and fit in order to survive - and with no communal grooming that I've ever observed, they are probably careful about getting dirty in the first place, and are almost obsessive in their bathing rituals.  

Humans have adapted the environment to suit our needs so we no longer need to be clean or fit to survive - but it sure increases your chances of passing on your genetic material!  Cheers, I'm off to the shower . . . . 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bunker Hill Workout

Going up the backside of Bunker Hill is pretty much the perfect workout - it's close by, it's just 45 minutes roundtrip if you don't hang out too long, and there is a great scenery reward once you make the top.  With both Goldfish and I dieting and working out like crazy these days we're hitting it several times a week.  It is a favorite of Chico's as well because there is always that possibility of running across a fox to play with!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guest Appearance By Winter

Earlier today the island was all pure white from a dusting of snow, from the sea to the mountain tops and yesterday there were waves of snow squalls passing over the island, changing the weather from one minute to the next.  I have to say, I have never lived anywhere where here is so much weather to consider - whether you need a hat when you go on a hike, whether it will rain in the next hour, whether you have time to put a coat of paint on the shed before the next storm, whether you loved ones will be safe, out there in the waves, wind and weather.  Weather, whether, weather, whether . . . . . . I do know one thing, there is a song in our hearts as the days grow longer and the season winds down and everyone excitedly discusses their upcoming plans for the season break!

Monday, March 9, 2009

View from the Living Room

Blogger has been making it tough to upload photos - I finally had to shrink these quite a bit in order to get them posted.  Yesterday was a blast; a real productive day at work, I went over and got some great pictures topside while Joe and Gary were diving at Little South America, and then sea lions were jumping in the East Channel when I got home.  I'm not sure if they were feeding or playing but it was fun to watch!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

The nice weather continues out here on Unalaska Island and if we can just sneak through another couple weeks I think we might have a chance of canceling winter altogether.  I just came in from walking Chico along the river, it's almost midnight and the sky is completely clear, a half moon and the stars blazing away.  There has been steady boat traffic in the channel; crabbers, trawlers and a few new boats I haven't seen before.

Yesterday I went riding, out to Morris cove and then almost halfway up the pass before the snow started getting a bit deep on the road and I had to turn back.  Just a few more days until daylight savings time gives us another hour of light in the evenings to play!

Monday, March 2, 2009

March Already

I can't believe February is gone and March is here in a flash, with me right back in the middle of the dreaded end-of-month reporting at work.  Time for a quick peek at how the goals are coming along - an ugly peek in this case.  Lets see, only 4 books and 83 miles on the recumbent bike in February . . . .yikes!

Good things did happen in February though - I went on some good motorcycle rides and hikes, got in lots of good walks with Chico, had some cool storms.  Goldfish and I both did great on our diets last month.  We went to the Chocolate Extravaganza at the Museum, started with the Unalaska Greatest Winners, walked in the Polar Bear Run.  We had some great get-togethers with friends and made a couple new ones, and we recorded a Story Corps interview.  Valentine's and Goldfish's birthday were both a blast.

It feels great to have a fresh month stretching ahead, ripe with possibility, and the weather has been amazing!  Cheers and good night . . . . .