Saturday, July 31, 2010

Other famous visitors to Kodiak

While the up-and-coming politicians brign their film crews, most famous people that come fishing and hunting like a low profile. Once in a while they too miss the things us common folks try to come and go from Kodiak without being noticed.

And its easy to be ignored here. Many people didn't own TVs till the last few years. Many still don't have it connected to cable. They just use it to watch videos they select for their kids, but not for TV shows!

So its understadnable when you hear of a worker at a fishing camp trying to figure out who was that client was that looked so famous. Who knows and who cares? They come and they go, dressed like like all others going out of civilization.

Mike Rostad, a along time Kodiak Dayli Mirror newsman barely mentions them in his book, "Close to my Heart" :Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and Tiger Woods fished for salmon; Roy Rogers and the Princess of Monaco hunted bear. That is what they did: came here to do what we do. Even performers do it here in quite a calm way: John Denver gave a concert at a small island village for the natives, and Judy Collins sang at the local auditorium. Many others probably came and went without being recognized.

And no, the big wigs don't get special treatment. In fact, I read that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, head of the Unification Church (who has married 1,000 people at one time at sport stadiums), likes to come here to catch salmon (and converts). One Summer he was arrested for fishing over his limit.

Be warned: The Alaska Troopers and Fish & Game Dept. have no leniancy for the wicked (.....even if they are Holy).

Famous people in Kodiak

Enough about flowers. Lets talk about people who come to Kodiak.

Last week we saw a bunch of young people at a restaurant who just didn't look local or like sport fishermen. One of those in our group got up and asked what they were here for. Turns out they were all new film school graduates working on their first project: a documentary on Alaska! "What, another documentary on Alaska?", someone said.

Before she asked if they didn't think everything about Alaska had already been filmed, we asked about the director, etc, to change the tone. The big wigs were having a fancy private meal. ("Little do they know that it doesn't get much classier than Henry's Great Alaskan Restaurant right here in Kodiak!", we thought.)

But...they might have been right after all: a private diner party! When you live in AK, be best food is often what you just caught and prepared fresh!

Anyway, the paper the next day had the following story: Sarah Palin and her daughter are in town filming daughter Willow racing at the local raceway for this Fall's television series: "Sarah Palin's Alaska".

I am willing to bet that someone was making the Palins and the directors a real fancy meal in their home....and it might have even challenged Henry's!!!!

I had not heard of a Palin racing at our local track. Guess I just don't keep up with the fast crowd.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fighting bears

The paper said that as the fish start swimming up the rivers, we should start seeing more bears anytime. One of the guys at work says a bear already chased him off his favorite fishing hole last week.

Here are 2 of my pics from last summer. Who knows, we might see something like this on our way fishing soon. Two young bears playing around. And a 3rd one is coming to watch the fun.

If you want to see a video of 2 getting it on a little more seriously, check out this YouTube by somene else (he must be a professional video man 'cause he has lots of lion and tigers fighting on his site).

Anyway, I think that, just past the middle of the video, you can tell the big bear might not come out ahead. Do you see what I see?

Just copy and then paste this address on you browser to see a fight:

More local flowers

There are lots of wildflowers in Kodiak.

Here are some more pics. It's a good thing my old dog needs lots of rest stops. That's my excuse to stop and snap a picture as I take a "walk".

Hope they don't bore you too much. These were taken one day last Summer, on a 3 block walk form the beach to the house......except the last 3 pictures which were taken at the Port Lions ferry stop.

But, don't ask me their names. I don't know. They are just part of the local Kodiak scenery.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Lupins of Kodiak

With our 70 inches of rain yearly, we have lots of Summer flowers. And lupins (or lupines) are some of our most common ones.

I don't know what it is about them, but they add a little pizzazz to just about any scene. And they make otherwise seemingly sane people get on the ground and ask someone to take their picture.

Personally, I think sometimes it's good to slow down a little and just take a few pics of what's around you. It is very good for the blood pressure.

So, if your BP is up from all the problems of the world, take 2 minutes and see if you agree. Hope you don't mind the Hawaiian type music for Alaskan flowers.

PS On Google, I've seen the plural spelled lupins as well as lupines. So I chose the less popular one (just like Robert Frost took the road less travelled by)!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Flower Pictures

I've heard some like the flower picture above more than my comments about the animals of Kodiak. So, I think I will just put some snapshots of flowers taken in the last 2 years.

But, I have to tell you, I know nothing about flowers. Even less than I know about animals. So, if I call it by the wrong name or even if I get it's color wrong...I take no responsibility!

Tomorrow we'll start with snapshots of local lupins. Until I looked it up on Google, I thought they were called loopines.

(I'll copy the above picture form the header, so it can stay on this blog when I replace the header in the future.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Lost" Sea Otter

Here is a blog about a 2 day old sea otter found on a beach in Kodiak last month. They say it was abandoned by its mom or something happened to her. In any case, this is their blog and video I copied below. You can tell it is someone else's because it doesn't have any classy music!

So, those of you with a soft heart, join the thousands of other animal lovers who have watched this video and felt "warm all over".

But, don't you worry about the poor mom who is wondering "Who the heck kidnapped my pup?"

Just in time for World Oceans Day, a sweet video of Kaladi as she's cared for by Tim Lebling!

A couple taking a beach stroll on Kodiak Island played a key role in saving a small treasure they discovered on the shores of Mayflower Cove this week. A very young sea otter pup had lost its mother and was on the beach alone.

The couple contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, who notified the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. A local veterinarian assisted in evaluating and stabilizing the female pup by giving her fluids while transportation was arranged.

"We appreciate the help provided by Tonya Lee of the USFWS and Dr. Angie Johnson of the Kodiak Veterinary Clinic," says Brett Long, husbandry director at the Alaska SeaLife Center. "Fortunately, the pup was found and taken care of by the right people."

Era Aviation donated a flight to Anchorage, where a veterinary team from the ASLC performed a basic exam and found the pup was in good condition. They administered additional fluids and encouraged her to nurse from a bottle during the drive to Seward. Staff members named her "Kaladi" in keeping with this year's theme of caffeine-related products.

"Kaladi weighed less than three pounds when admitted, so she was probably under two days old," says Tim Lebling, the Alaska SeaLife Center's stranding coordinator. "Her mother may have abandoned her soon after giving birth, though we rarely know how an animal gets orphaned."

Although she is still very fragile and needs plenty of sleep, Kaladi is in stable condition and has become adept at suckling sea otter formula from a baby bottle. She will remain at the Center until a permanent home is identified and she is stable enough for transport. Although Kaladi will stay in the quarantined nursery, live camera feeds will allow many ASLC visitors to see her on a video display in the exhibit area.

The Alaska SeaLife Center operates the only permanent facility in the state that is licensed to hold stranded marine mammals and seabirds for rehabilitation. Because sea otter pups demand 24-hour-a-day, hands-on care by staff members at the Center who become their surrogate mothers, they cannot be released to the wild after rehabilitation.

The SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds, and encourages people who think they may have found a stranded or sick marine animal to call first at 1-888-774-SEAL and avoid touching or approaching the animal.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July days at the beach

The sun has been out for weeks. Air temps have risen up to 70!.

Since discovering that our vitamin D levels are way below normal, many people are trying to get as much sun as they can. When they do , you realize there is a lot of awfully white skin!

Here is a slide show of a day at the beach. Check out that girl's face in the 50 degree water.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The local lingo

They say you should learn the language of the locals where ever you live. I have been doing that with some success in at least understanding them. Sometimes they sound a little abrupt, but not quite as bad as New Yorkers.

For example, the growling by the guy in the picture below was clear to me;
he was clearly saying: "MY river!!!".

Not a complete sentence, but clear and to the point.

"MY river!!".

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coast Guard to the Rescue

Last week was a sad one in Kodiak. A Coast Guard helicopter from Sitka crashed and only one survived.

But they did not let mourning affect their work. Three recues were carried out form our base. And here is Monday's front page about the one where the entire boat butned on the water while fishing. Fire started in the galley after a rough night at sea. The paper says they suspect spilled fuel during the storm. All were recovered.

And I fear they might be at work again tonight. The weather has been continuously perfect for 2 weeks. Lots of fishing and sport boats were out on the water. Suddenly at 6 PM a fog wall dropped and blinded us form seeing the rocks out Mill Bay. Then it hid Spruce Cape. Now I can barely see over the roof of the apartments next to my window.

Thank you CG!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Bear Pictures


I have decided to change the picture on the top of the blog more often. Before I had one taken by my daughter at Sargeant creek. I liked the effect of the sun behind it, making look it like a black and white.

You know what cyclists say: "share the road". Every time we see a bear on the river, we hope it understands that concept.

This new one is also from last year.I hope you can see some red along its mouth. That is salmon egg stain, not blood.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mammal Watching on the Water

Last week end was a great one to see sea mammals. Yes, the sea lions are out “fishing”. But we kayaked out to the big rocks you see out of our house windows. And there were about a half dozen harbor seals swimming around; and one on a rock. It was funny watching him flop around so clumsily on that rock, compared to their effortless swimming.

For the first time in 3 years I saw a “raft” of sea otters. Up until now I had only seen one or two at a time. Apparently they like those rock too, because there were about a dozen as we approached. That must t be where they hang out.

And on the last day I was looking out my window when I saw my first spout form a whale in Mill Bay. A few minutes later, there was another spout. People say they see them often, but form my house it must be too far. So, what’s a person to do when that happens? Get that kayak in the water and paddle out for a better view.

And there it was, slowly swimming along, letting its small back fin show up for half minute before going under again. A pair of guys gere fishing form a small inflatable rubber raft. I am not sure they ever realized there was a whale between me and them. In fact, there might have been two. A few times it blew its spout and once it showed its fluke, as close as 50 feet form them, but they were always fishing in the wrong direction to see it.

What kind was it? Well, I’ve only been to one presentation on whales, but here is how I decided what I saw. It showed its tail or fluke only once. And it did not show its head or a tall dorsal fin. So it wasn’t a Killer Whale. It showed only a small fin that was in the back 1/3 of it’s body. That leaves a lot of possibilities. Gray whales travel in groups; they move fast and this one was just “hanging out”. And Grays should already have passed by here in April and May. So that's not it.

It wasn’t huge; it certainly wasn't a 70 footer. And it got as close as 200 feet from the beach. I still didn’t know. So today I went to look up a poster at Ft Abercrombie State Park. It was a Humpback. Well, that’ my story and I’m sticking to it.

They say these can be over 45 feet and 25-35 tons. That's bigger than I thought. So, maybe next time I’ll keep my 14 foot, 59 pound kayak a little further away.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fireworks in the light

July 4th celebration in Kodiak starts early, about 11:40 PM. That's when it starts getting dark enough to see the color in the explosions. The city puts up their show, but the locals like to create their own, too. After the city's show ends, at about 12:10, people come to the beach to fire more of their own till about 2 AM. Here are the locals having fun, as seen out my window.

You can see how fast daylight fades: the 1st. slide is at 11:40PM and the last is 12:10AM.

And daylight comes up early: here is a pic I took out of the plane, looking East while at 38,000 feet, on the way to Anchorage last week. It was 1:10 AM and the sun wanted to rise. At sea level, sunrise is at 5:15, but you can start seeing again at about 3:30-4:00AM in the peak of summertime.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time to shed

What happens when you take your Kodiak dog to the lower 48 and expose her to 80 and then 100 degree weather?

She sheds her undercoat. And there was lots of it.

Here it is after combing.

How about a pillow for Christmas?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Attacking Crow

Despite reading the story about the kayak rescue on Monday’s paper(see Tuesday's post), we did go kayaking after work that day. Three of us left at 7 PM, returned at 10 PM. We depared from the beach of the near catastrophy, went through the marina, and circled the islands just outside of town. No problems, no flipping over. Calm seas. High 40’s. What a great, leisurely kayaking day.

The most interesting thing was the interaction between a crow and an eagle. We have some big crows here, but this was about ½ the usual size (similar size to the crows in the lower 48). She made repeated diving attacks towards the eagle who just sat on a lamp post on a pier at the marina. Within inches of hitting the eagle, the crow would suddenly pull up and fly away. Despite the “attacks”, the eagle didn’t bat an eye.

Turns out eagles like to eat the eggs of crows. This crow must have been the mom of the eagle’s meal that day. And that mama crow was mad. But that eagle was not going to let that mama crow’s “attack” upset her digestion. Calm and collected she just sat on that pole, knowing the crow's beak would come close, but dared not touch the eagle. Finally after 6 attack dives, the crow flew off. Hopefully satisfied that she got some revenge.

We saw other birds this Monday: orange footed oystercatchers, horned and tufted puffins, orange footed glaucous gulls, black footed small kittywakes, cormorants, and another eagle eating his catch on a rock just above water level. But none as exciting at the attacking crow.

I was so enternatined that I didn't film the crow. But, here are pics of our departure. Summer "nights" are the best!