Monday, May 31, 2010

I MADE IT!! Hello batsies, family, etc. I have finally made it to Sitka! I arrived at around 6 today and my employer, Linda Behnken and her two kids Rio (6) and Haylen (8) picked me up. She brought me to her house where I'll be staying and house-sitting for her while she's out fishing for most of June and July. The house is a little log cabin with a great view of the water, I'll be posting some pictures soon. She has two shepherds, Rascal and Trout who are very well mannered. Linda is great, I've really enjoyed talking with her and she makes me feel very at home here. At dinner she told me a little more about what she has planned for me, but I'm still a little fuzzy on the details.
Linda is the head of the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association; the link to the website can be found on the side. The website explains the organization much better than I could, but it's basically a association of fishermen committed to maintaining the sustainable harvest of halibut, stablefish and rockfish while supporting healthy marine ecosystems in the area. I will be doing some general data entry and grunt work for them while also helping at their booth at the Sitka Fish and Farmer's Market. I will also be working with the branch of ALFA that focuses on sperm whale research. This endangered species tends to eat fish off longline fishing lines, putting the whales in danger and hurting the fishermen economically. The link to the website describing the research is also on the side of the blog; in the next few days I'll be learning how to do data analysis, mainly of acoustic recordings of these whales. I also hope to help out at the Sitka Sound Science Center, doing general maintenance for them particularly in the salmon hatchery. I will hopefully be learning more about each of these facets of my internship in the coming days.
Unfortunately, the weather for this week is not looking so good. It's supposed to be rainy and stormy through Friday and of course, in the confusion of leaving this morning I forgot my raincoat!! Hopefully I'll still be able to take some runs and explore the neighborhood. Linda (being a marathon runner) told me about some great trails right in this area, but I was warned against running on them alone in the mornings or evenings due to bears. She's already seen 4 bears this spring including one mama bear who charged her, but was scared away by her dog Rascal. Uh yeah, I think I'll stick to the roads for now.
More info to come!! Miss you all!!