Sunday, August 31, 2008

Attack of the Killer Orcas

Most people don't realize that Orcas (Shamu to many) are really part of the dolphin family. And to think that I used to like dolphins! Recently, Orcas in the Kodiak area have been attacking the baby Humpback whales that have been migrating. Watching the migrating whales is an activity enjoyed by many of the residents, as well as visitors to the island. There are numerous places along the coastline for viewing.

Anyway, with regard to the Orcas, they are not whales due to the presence of teeth. And with these teeth, the Orcas have starting attacking the lower jaws of the infant whales. As a result, we have a small Humpback whale that died and was beached along the state park coastline.

Luckily, most of the pod have been able to continue that migration and have been seen at different areas along our coastline.

BTW, if I get information wrong, please be gentle when you send me corrections. Thanks.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Description of the Island

The island itself, is one of lush landscapes with mountains covering much of the terrain. We have over 70 inches of rain on average each year, leaving us with a rain forest environment. There are numerous hiking paths and trails that give the average person an insight to the beauty the island displays. 

We live only a quarter miles from Abercrombie State Park. This hilly and lush area is home to a variety of ever-changing plant life and the remants of a World War II fort. It is accessible year round and many people hike, job or walk their dogs in the park daily.

With mountains surrounding the town, there are frequent hikes up to the peaks. These range from fairly easy to those that require extremely good fitness levels. I speak from experience. Although I managed one such hike last year, I realize that with age, and a lack of personal fitness, I will have to limit my hikes to those of a more sedate pace.

Of course,with the idea of this being an island, there is plentiful water in which to participate in boating activities. Many people enjoy fishing and although Carlos and I love to eat fish, we haven't really participated in this leisure activity yet. Really, we decided to wait until we've had our driver's licenses for one year since that makes us official residents of the state. So, come September, watch out fish!

Even though we don't fish, Carlos has decided that we should enjoy the water via kayak. Having lived along the Gulf of Mexico most of our lives, we have been used to water temperatures in the 70-80 degree range. This is not the case here. We have recently reached the high temps for the summer. We attained the high temps of 51 degrees. Needless to say, you don't usually plan on spending in the water, only above.

I'll let you learn about wildlife on future posts. There is certainly an abundant amount of various types.

Moving to Kodiak

This is the first of, hopefully, many posts about our life on Kodiak Island. We live southeast of the Aleutian Islands and west of the mainland of Alaska. Since we are an island, all transportation must be by boat or plane. With our continually changing weather, this can be difficult at times. Flights are frequently cancelled due to winds or fog. Ferry rides to the mainland are especially turbulent in the winter months due to high waves. 

Just remember as you read the posts, this is a small town of about 6000 people. There is a large US Coast Guard base just outside the city and they have a population of another 4000. As a result we have been able to support the neighborhood Walmart store and Safeway grocery.

I’ll try to keep you up to date on the sometimes humorous aspects of small town life as well as living in the Alaska bush. Oh, and don’t forget the Kodiak bears. I have much to say about them.

Check back frequently.