Friday, May 31, 2013

Why so much variation?

Yesterday we said that the Reds coming in were 4 - 7 pounds.

Why so variable?
It makes no sense if what you typically hear is correct:
that they spend 4 years out at sea before returning.
If so, it must be that some went off to better feeding areas while out at sea.

But it turns out, it is not so simple.

Red salmon stay 2 - 4 years out at sea (not the often quoted 4).
So, I guess some of the small ones might be the young ones.

Anyway, here are pictures. No its not an aquarium somewhere,
It was taken by just down form the  dandelions in the header pic of this blog,
at high tide, at the shallow part of the marina,
during Crabfest, this past weekend.

Pardon the reflection of the clouds;
We just snapped it with the I-Phone and no polarizing filter.

Look "through" those clouds and here you'll see
dozens of 5 inch salmon, happily swimming pass by a starfish.

Those little fish are the "smolt",
which will stay around  shallow protected bay waters for a year before heading out to sea.
Then return about this time in 2-4 years.
Yes, there is some variation:
a real cold winter's water run-off makes them swim up the rivers a little later.

Anyway, I really wish I was an elementary school kid again.
Because, here in Kodiak, I think every kid can tell you the different salmon's life cycle.

For us "late arrivals" to the island,
we just have to search the Internet,

and look up articles like this:

But to get more accurate information, we must look up the particular type of salmon, instead of this "average" information.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good news:

1) The Reds are in the Buskin River,
     coming in about 2 hours after high tide.
     Mostly four pounders, occasionally a seven pounder.


2) It's not yet well known.
    So, you can probably have the river to yourself
    for the next few days!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Opening up

Yesterday, we gain passed by the lily pads in Ft A.
Look how they've changed in a day.

Yes, opening up they are.

Everyone's different, with it's own water-drop design up on top.

But each with a red-pinkish tinge like the rest.

Somehow, we thought these were tropical plants
and didn't expect to see them in Alaska, when we got here 6 years ago.

But you know what is fun?
Paddling your kayak on a foggy day on Lily Lake.

Try it in the summer, when it's rainy & too rough for the sea.
Paddle along the lily blossom flowers,
while listening to a loon, somewhere in the fog.

Monday, May 27, 2013

What a difference a week makes!

Here's last week's picture of a pond at Ft Abercrombie.

Despite nearly 50 degree days, half was still covered with ice,
(since much of it is in the tall Spruce Pine's shadows).

But look at it today,  the Sunday before Memorial Day:

The surviving lilly pods are turning green form their winter yellow,
and there is a nice layer of green algae along it's edges!

But, if you are a flower person instead,
you'll be happy to see that flowers are blossoming
at the other side of the park,
along the Flower Meadow Trail.

If you want a real fine flower show, take that walk on the July 4th weekend!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

When Thursday's fog lifted.....

we discovered that

Spring has sprung!


Friday, May 24, 2013

To compare with yesterday's fog picture.....

here is a picture taken a few days earlier
from the same spot as yesterday's foggy beach pics
on the ride to work:

Do you agree?
Both have their beauty.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Foggy Thursday

It's been sunny in Kodiak for weeks. That is unusual.

What is not unusual is that Crabfest is coming this weekend.
And that means that fog is sure to be here!

Here's the view form the house this morning.

And this is the view I have often showed you on my way to work.

Kind of pretty ....
and makes you wonder what is just behind that fog.

But, it doesn't slow down the middle school class form going on field day to Ft. Abercrombie.

Happy as can be, 'cause the school year is almost over,

and Crabfest will open today!


Curious sea otter

On this week's walk through Near Island, we ran into a sea otter who seemed as interested in us as we were in him.

We were on the north point of the island...and do mean the point, because this spot is so thin that it allows only 2 persons to stand side by side on a rock as you look north to the channel.
He came from the west, the city side. Then he rounded the point and went on the east side of the island towards Long Island, continuously coming out of the water to check us out. When we are on a kayak, they keep much further away.

Looked kind of skinny to us, but that's probably because his summer food crop has not yet developed.

Here he is when he first spotted us:

He must have felt comfortable enough to relax and swim around on his back.

But, then he decided it was a good idea to check again, and see if were a threat.

No, we looked harmless there on shore.
So he just slowly rounded the point we were standing at,
coming back up to look at us every few minutes, 
and went all 270 degrees form southwest to southeast of us.

Sorry, the You Tube video won't load directly, so go to this link or copy and paste this address to your search engine to see him swimming around us on a 1 minute 40 second video.:

Incidentally, in the past, people have asked us why we never photograph their "raft", or groups of otters that travel together.

Well, in Kodiak we see them individually, not in groups. We've never seen a "raft". Don't know why. But that's just the way it is here .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Are we being invaded?

This weekend, we suddenly heard a lot of airplane engines.

We looked up and there were 6 planes, quite close together.....

heading for the Near Island float plane airport.

Were we being invaded?

No, it didn't look like the North Koreans.

But it does look like tourists are on their way,
(and a cruise ship is in port).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Kennecott returns

Remember how I couldn't catch up with the ferry last Friday,
to take it's picture from our house?

Well, 54 hours later it returned,

with a load of new arrivals to the island.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Windy days

While windy days & whitecaps can eliminate your kayaking on Monashka bay...

it's a wonderful day to take a sail,

now that it reaches the high 40's EVERY single day!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sunday, we're off to 3 lakes

Our last week of April's walk was off Bell's Flats....starting from the gravel quarry.

Off to three lakes we went.

If you go, you'll have the pleasure of our typical soft moss.

Due to the elevation, it's not yet as green like as Ft A, but equally as cushy on your feet.

Remember, though, this is prime bear country, so keep your eyes watching around you.

We didn't notice this guy, just his fresh tracks.
Fortunately,  he had gone in the opposite direction from us. 
So we continued onward.

Within about 1/2 mile, you'll be at the first lake.

Just pose, and smile.

By the time you go around this one, you'll see the next lake.

So, pose and smile once again.
' Cause, this panorama is all around you:

Now, at 44 degrees, you might not want to go down to your swimsuit and jump in the water.

But, the folks we were with told us, that as kids in the summer, they'd ride their horses up here, ride them into the lake, and jump off their backs into the water. Then watch the horses swim to the shore, where the horses would just wait for them. 

That's the type of fun kids have here. But, there are things to do and see that keep all ages happy. 

Now, imagine taking this walk in the first 2 weeks of June, when the new green grass has replaced the brown, and the snow still crowns the mountain tops. Prettier than the scenes from The Sounds of Music movie.


Friday, May 17, 2013

The various Kennicotts of Alaska

Did you see the ship in the background of our recent "ride your bike to work" blog?

Here's a pic from its official website:

Well, that's the Kennicott, the ferry you will most likely be riding if you are transferred to Kodiak this summer.

I tried pedaling home to get something better than my I-Phone to show it to you...but couldn't keep up as I pedaled uphill trying to beat that ship!

You'll enjoy the ride in it form Homer.

And for history's sake, let us tell you that it is named for the Kennecott mine here in AK. Copper first was discovered there in 1900, while the great Alaskan Gold Rush was still running. What is interesting is that this is the richest copper mine in the world. They took $ 270 million dollars worth of coper out of it and 9 million of silver before it closed in 1950. (That's when a million dollars was worth a million dollars) And guess who owned it: a syndicate of the Guggenheims plus other rich cats. So next time you go to appreciate the art museums in Bilbao, Berlin, Venice, NY, or their photo museum in LA.....remember this is where much of that money came form.

And if you want to go to the mine, you can: it is a now National Historic Landmark, administered by the National Park Service. You can fly there, or you can drive off the road that goes to Valdez, AK.

But, may we recommend that you leave your car in Chitina and take a paid tour to the mine....'cause the road from there is over the old railroad route. We can tell you personally that the left-over railroad spikes will puncture your tires....and if you have anything other than the most common size tires, you will have a $ 1,000 tow to get you back to Anchorage to get new tires.

Well, as you ride the Kennicott ferry, you can read the posters about the mine and learn that a typing switch of an"e" for an "i" led to naming it the Kennecott Mine on the formal organization papers, instead of Kennicott glacier, for which it was named.

PS We apologize for snatching all these picture off the internet, but we left all our pics of that trip on a computer in the lower 48. If we had our pictures, we would show you some wonderful public campsites, with your own private waterfall, more beautiful than those we in the the Southwest would drive hours just to see. Imagine, just you and the waterfalls, miles from the closest human being.....except for perhaps a few bears who were doing their best to hide form you.

Yes, take your time in AK to see not only what Kodiak has, but check out the rest of this state while stationed here!


It's Ride Your Bike to Work Day !

Did you ride your bike to work today?
It's Ride Your Bike to Work Day.

So, how about riding it on Monday?
You'd be surprised at how many more nice things you'd see.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Going fishing

Some boats leave at dusk:

Some, in the middle of the day:

While some return in the morning fog:

Lots of boats are going out this time of the year.

And since their favorite areas might be far away, they leave whenever their gear and people are ready to go.

There is no rush hour in Kodiak.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Up and awake

Tuesday we were woken up by light coming in from the living into the bedroom. Thinking it was time to go to work, I went to the kitchen and saw it was only 4:45 AM.
So I got the I-Phone and snapped this pic with the "Panorama" App.

And before going to bed at 11PM, I took another one with the regular I-Phone camera.

So, last night we closed all black-out shades and doors form one room to another, so we can let the alarm wake us up the next morning at a more reasonable time.