Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The good people of Kodiak !

36 hours after our recent kayaking,
we looked in the back of the van and realized the paddles were missing.

We had left them at the marina's boat ramp.

Still, we went looking for them.

And there they were!

Someone had put them off to the side, behind a storage container,
where no one would find them,
except someone looking for them.

36 hours later, and no one had taken them.

Imagine THAT in any big city!

PS: Did you notice the grass turning green?
And its still April! Summer IS on it's way!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Attacked from behind !

We went kayaking last weekend after lunch and stopped to look at the sea lions. Suddenly a big wave comes form behind and almost topples us over, as it pushes our kayak towards the rocks.

It was a big bully sea lion who snuck up behind us and created a big white-capped wave....
on purpose we are sure, 'cause they never make waves like that when they come up to breath.

Then he goes and climbs on the pier, as he shoves a young one off into the water!

We should report him to the "bully" police !


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Whalefest T-shirt

We bought a Whalefest T-shirt.

But I wonder if we shouldn't wear this in the lower '48.

PS I guess I should expand on this.

The Gray Whales we see here were actually born just west of Baja California in Mexican waters. They return here on their way to the Bering Sea each Spring to fatten up. Once it's Autumn/Winter, they return South to lounge around, breed, and birth their young there. But food is not abundant there, 'cause they return here pretty skinny.

There is one cluster of whales that goes to the waters off Hawaii. But, I have heard that a few have been identified Wintering off Japanese waters. And then mixing in with our whales. Don't know how true it is, but it was in a documentary.

In any case, those whales just have NO respect for national border, do they?


Friday, April 26, 2013

April whale watching

April is when the Gray Wales come past our shores.

"Illegals" they might be considered, 'cause off Mexico is where they's born.
But here in Kodiak we welcome their yearly visit, as if the return of friends or relatives.

So we wandered off, past Pasagshak bay, to Whale Pass, by Fossil beach.

And sat atop a cliff, watching 3 whales dive for over 30 minutes.
We saw 2 fishing boats coming towards them and wondered if they'd be scared off.

No. They the boats came and went, and there they stayed....
guess it was too good of a feeding spot to leave because of just  2 passing boats.

Well, if (as the joke goes) an elephant can sit wherever he darn pleases...
I guess three 50 foot, 40 ton whales can feed wherever they darn please, too !


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Further down the road

If you keep going past Pasagshak beach,
It's surfer's beach that next you'll reach.

And if the waves are right for you, well,  put in you  surfboard and enjoy the day.
But if it's not, just take a walk.

And what a place this is...
to pitch your tent or park your RV...
wake to the ocean's waves....

or just keep an eye for the whales offshore...
and check for the fox's visit near dusk!



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The beaches at the road's end

If you drive south of Kodiak, you reach a fork in the road at 30 miles.

If you tun left, you get to Chiniak, whose pics we saw a few days ago.
But if you turn right for 10 more miles, it's Pasagshak creek and bay you reach.

That's where you'll find your anglers, upon the coming months,
at the junction of that creek and bay.

Some have even build real nice homes,
to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kodiak life.

At first we thought that was crazy,
but after a few years, even the quiet noises of our small town makes us wish to "get away".

For those who come for a short time to Pasagshak bay,
there is nothing better than a kayak ride to lower the BP and calm the nerves.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Basking in the sun

On another recent outing
(due to clear blue skies and temperatures in the 40's to encourage us)
we drove 40 miles south to Pasagshak Bay.

Along the way we passed Kodiak's cattle,

with their long hair to keep them warm, even in rain.

Meanwhile, the buffalo calmly basked in the sun.

If they only knew how many humans would
love to be in their place,
enjoying this view!


Monday, April 22, 2013

To White Sands Beach

As you might have noticed,
we are going on daily outings since we returned to Kodiak this week.

And yesterday we went north to White Sands Beach.

It's our one beach with white sands.
And the white is visible only at low tide.

It's white because it's the remnant of the white ash from a volcano that exploded a century ago, the most powerful eruption of the 20th century: Novarupta, at Katmai off the Alaska penninsula.

Approximate location of the June 6th, 1912 eruption. Ash fell on the town of Kodiak for three days and although the town was about 100 miles from the volcano, it was covered with over one foot of ash which collapsed many buildings. Map by Geology.com and MapResources.

You can check up on it at  
and see just how strong that eruption was !

We've read it put one foot deep ash over a 3,000 square mile area and was perhaps the 6th strongest eruption of all times, according to the internet. But Kodiak was the only populated area to be significantly affected by it.

Anyway, here in Monashka bay you get to see the white sand beach during low tide,
with the darker sand and rock on higher ground.

Otherwise, it's Kodiak's typical black rock and sand,

as you see, along Monashka Creek,as it makes it's way from the grassy area to White Sands Beach.

Or along any of our other beaches.

Yes, there are many calm and serene place to see !


Sunday, April 21, 2013

April in Kodiak

Kodiak... a typical April view !


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Kodiak Outing

On our first week in Kodiak  after our long road trip,
we decided to take a drive...and get away from "the city".

So south to Chiniak we drove, 40 miles down the road.

And what did we find?


and Ducks

and well-fed Black-tail deer.

We stopped and strolled by the beach

and noticed eagles flying below our cliff.

And some above

Even the young ones were all around,

some coming so close and fast we could not focus.

Over a dozen were all around
and there was a reason they liked this beach so much....

Do you see the tail? 
Yes, a whale has beached and died, providing them with plenty of food.

And you would think that's enough for all. 
But something has caused the end of one eagle.

Perhaps it was the "swat" of a feeding bear, 
who was bothered by this one' pestering persistence.

So away we go, appreciating that not all is for us to control.

We might as well enjoy what we can see,
like this fox, trying to hunt right in front of us, along the road.

But, loosing sight of his quest,

he crosses the road

stops and stares,

and hopes we leave him alone, to feed his need.

And so we do and head back to town. 

Yes, it's just another day in Kodiak.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Finally home !

We finally reached home..

where, they tell me, it's been sunny for a month.....
the snow in the city has melted.....
and the temperature  is over 40 !



Thursday, April 18, 2013

The ferry ride home

We left Whittier expecting a horrible ferry ride.

I've heard there is usually a High pressure system on one side on the mountain and a Low on the other, causing Whittier's high winds as they cross over it's mountain pass.

But as we sailed away, the winds stopped, the sun came out,
and the seas flattened to the SMOOTHEST ride ever!

So we took the opportunity to watch the snow on the mountains.

No matter where you looked, there they were:

So much snow and such steep sides that at any minute.... 

we expected to see 007 skiing away form his villains.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On the way to Whittier

Last Wednesday, before 7 AM, we headed out towards Whittier to catch the ferry to Kodiak.

The Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet is the first body of water people would see after they fly to Anchorage, on the way to catch the cruise ships down the Inside Passage from Whittier or Seward. If you've ever been on a bus with them, you'd hear a lot of "ohs" and "ahs".

At this time of the year we saw large chunks of ice that had broken loose as the "bore" tides ripped the ice sheet apart. A bore tide is a wall of water ranging form 2 to 6 feet that come sin as the tide changes. This is the only place in the USA where bore tides can be experienced. So, some folks like to "surf" those tides; I already saw some surfboards on top of Anchorage cars. But, it is probably too early for that, because the ice chunks are sill numerous.

Not a good time to surf, if you ask me.

But that was not our goal. We were off to see the Alaska Conservation Center in Girdwood.
They have a large collection of injured Alaskan wildlife like brown and black bear, moose, and caribou which you can see close up. In fact, there was a documentary on Alaskan Wildlife that was filmed there, pretending it was in the wild. If you put your camera lens between the metal of the fence, you can make it look like your wild animal is just a few feet away and in a completely open field.

Unfortunately it did not open till 10 AM since they still consider it Winter Hours.

So down the road we went to cross the tunnel to Whittier. Since it is only wide enough for one car, they open it towards Whittier on the half hour and from Whittier on the hour. So we tried to make it for the 8:30 opening. This is what we met.

Unplowed roads from the Whittier turn-off till the tunnel.

Fortunately a few 18 wheelers had already passed and flattened the 4 inches of snow so we could pass easily with our 2 wheel-drive van, without studded tires!

And this is what we saw:

Yes, untouched fresh snow along the way.

And covered walkways along Portage Glacier

If you look close, some local ducks are swimming in the stream.

Unfortunately, the snow plow then came,

with it's roaring noise and cloud of snow,
reminding us it was time to pass through the Whittier tunnel.

Once over the pass, the snow blew and the car shook from the wind.
20 degrees and constant high winds, with gusts well above 50, maybe up to 70!

So, as the snow swirled and the ferry backed into the dock,

we wished that it'd be cancelled because of the wind!

But more about that ferry ride on another day.

(PS These are not Black and White pics, but it is just they way it really looked)