Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Fun in Kodiak

It's June 28th, seven days after the Summer Solstice and days are getting shorter (the day after the Solstice we already lost one minute of daylight!). To make matters worse, tomorrow I start work for 5 consecutive weeks. So, to take advantage of my last day of vacation, this is what I did.

7:00 Fed the dogs. Read the paper.
9:20 Cindy dropped me off with my kayak while she went to church. I tried kayaking around Abercrombie State Park but the waves were too high (there were some 5 footers near the rocks) so I stayed in Mill Bay.
11:30 Cindy returns to pick me up and have lunch. Then it is siesta time.
3:50 Cindy goes off to tennis and I go bike out to the water reservoir. We had been there a few days before. But as I rested I saw something that wasn't there at that time. Three fresh deposits of bear scat. Needless to say, I cut my rest time short and pedaled back quickly. 
5:30 Washed the car and had dinner
7:00 Took the dogs on a short 2 miles hike to Island Lake and down the creek back home.
8:30 We are both off to the VFW shooting range to practice. Cindy is liking this sharp shooting stuff (I think because she is better than I am). 
9:30 Then it's back home for showers, resting and lowering the black-out shades to get some rest before work the next day.

The sun has been shining for weeks, the air temp is 61 and the water temp is a warm 49 degrees! The only good thing about work is that I can do much after leaving the hospital since the days are still quite long. 

Hope you too are having fun.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Solstice

Days are getting quite long. Sunrise tomorrow will be at 5:12 am and sunset at 11:07 pm. Every day we gain about 4 minutes. With the twilight we will get to see light beyond midnight during the Summer Solstice, around June 21st. Here are pictures I took recently. They are quite similar to photos I took in December at 9 am and 4:45 pm when we had 6 1/2 hours of sunlight.

For what its worth, I've noticed that the sun rises about 20 degrees more to the south during the winter than in the summer. (That is my estimate, not something I have seen published) This is where it really counts to place your windows with more of a southern exposure to capture the winter sun. I don't know why they make a big deal about the southern exposure in New Mexico and Colorado. You get the winter sun all the time anywhere by comparison.

To celebrate summer we bought a watermelon recently. Unfortunately, it was overly ripe from the long trip it made from Mexico to us. So, enjoy your southern fruits and vegetables. We will soon be enjoying our wild blueberries, salmonberries (more like raspberries, but not as tart), and making rhubarb pies. That will be a nice finish to a freshly caught salmon dinner!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sea Otters

Today we'll talk about sea otters. Here is a picture of one that climbed on the kayak of the lady who runs the excursions listed on the picture. Note how the water just runs off their fur. It is impermeable to water and extremely warm. It has to be because unlike seals and sea lions, sea otters have no fat or blubber. So their coast are really great.

This is why the Russians  came to this area in the 1700-1800's....for sea otter fur. But they almost sent them into extinction. Fortunately, there are enough for us to see on many of our kayak excursios. They like to live where there are kelp forests underwater. They love to eat sea urchins and sea urchins love to eat kelp. So, otters keep the sea urchins under control in our bays.

There are a few sea otters out in Mill Bay near our house. The picture of an otter in the water along with the kelp was taken last week from the bluff on our 5 mile hike. It was sunny and 55 degrees. Not much need for jackets anymore. Come visit.