Friday, July 2, 2010

Home Alone

Linda and Kent's fishing boat
Hahlen and Rio giving me a tour of the boat.
Hahlen showing off one of the "hoochies" he made.
Trout at the top of Mt. Verstovia, another glorious hike we took on Monday.
Here's one of the pictures I took of the whale we followed while out in the skiff today. Such a pretty whale!!

Linda, Kent and the boys left to go fishing yesterday so it's just me and the dogs at home now. Much of Sitka headed out yesterday actually because today marks the beginning of the king salmon opening; for a week everyone with a trolling permit will try to catch as many king salmon as they can. It's a pretty crazy week where fishermen sleep little and fish in all sorts of weather. I hope Linda and the gang are doing ok! It was a busy week of preparations and packing for them, but the boys did take some time to show me around the Woodstock. It was nice to get a chance to see their other home. Hahlen of course explained all the fishing gear to me using lots of foreign terminology while Rio showed me the dozens of "hoochies" that he has created. "Hoochies" are mini, octopus-like figures that hang from the fishing lines and attract king salmon. Rio has taken it upon himself to make the best "hoochies" possible by combining little octopi of varying kinds including glittery and glow in the dark. He let me in on the best combinations, but I am sworn to secrecy. It's really neat how they can work as a family and each contribute on the boat. After my fishing experience I couldn't imagine having young kids to look after while fishing, but Linda and Kent make it work.
It's been another week primarily in the whale office; I've been entering data, beading more gangions and finishing the poster, but today I got to go look for whales! Jan Straley, my boss at the whale office, took me out on her skiff and had me practice taking pictures of humpback whales. She's been promising me for weeks that she would take me out on the water and today we finally went! We found one humpback feeding and followed it around for awhile. The whale would submerge for 5 to 8 minutes then would surface several times in sequence. Sometimes it would "breech", or jump full into the air, but most of the time it would just blow air from it's blow hole then dive back down exposing its dorsal fin and sometimes its full fluke. My job was to stay balanced in the front of the skiff and take pictures of the dorsal fin and fluke so that we could identify the whale later. It was hard to get the timing right and I missed getting a shot of the fluke several times by just seconds. I did get a few good photos though and I'll hopefully get much more practice taking pictures of humpbacks before I have to take pictures of sperm whales while on a longline fishing boat. It was so cool to finally be out on the water, seeing whales in real life as opposed to just cataloging pictures of whales on a computer screen.
Being home alone has been good so far! I've enjoyed cooking meals for myself and having some peace and quite. Grocery shopping was an interesting experience; it took me about an hour to find everything and I knocked over a display of soup cans in the process (soo graceful). The dogs are great company; they need a lot of exercize and certainly keeping me active. Yesterday I fell while running and really scraped myself up, but I returned to the house to find a wonderful belated birthday care package from my former roomie and best buddy Mollie. I gorged my self in chocolate covered pretzels and I think that helped the healing process.


  1. Hi Annie - we all missed you at the 4th of July party. I had to eat all the frosting by myself (with a little help from Johnny and Christopher). The pictures of Sitka are amazing. Love that whale.....much love and many thoughts, K

  2. HI Annie - Ulf and I just enjoyed the pictures of the killer whales - and the concerts. What an experience you have had. I should have gone to Sitka - believe me, there are no concerts in Point Barrow! Love from us - K and U