Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moving Days

This looks like a pretty easy way to move from place to place, just hook up the house to the boat and away you go! But we went a different route. To move in and out of Alaska, the easiest way for us was to get a c-van from Alaska Marine Lines, they deliver it to your door, you load it up (we had a week and friends, THANKS LYN AND DEB!!!) then AML picks it up and will deliver it to your door to where you are moving, but in our case we will unload it at the AML yard in Seattle when we get there next week. From there we have more friends, glad we have friends! RUTH AND JERRY are not only helping us unload and reload to a u-haul, but are storing our "junk" in their shop and having us stay at their home until we get settled.
I can't believe the summer is over and we are on to another adventure! It's bittersweet leaving Alaska, I truly thought when we came here 7 1/2 years ago, we would retire here. But then our kids started having kids, and we want them to know who we are and to be able to spoil them. We were really starting to feel "homesick" this last winter, so decided to make the move after the summer charter season was over. Boy, did summer go by fast!The AML c-van, almost loaded and ready to go.

The boat did not sell before we left Hoonah. There was room on the ferry for us to bring it from Hoonah to Juneau, but not room on the ferry we were taking to Juneau to Bellingham. The van did an awesome job of pulling the boat, I was really stressing this. And thanks to yet more friends (KEVIN AND CINDY) we had a place to park the boat until they load it on the ferry for us at the end of October or it sells (keep your fingers crossed that it sells!)

Since we weren't needing our signs for the fishing charter we decided they looked pretty good on Chris Ericksons van (since he's staying in Hoonah). He was out bear hunting when we put them on his van, and had a good laugh when he got home. Maybe if he cuts the phone number off, he could put the signs on the side of his building......

So here we are in Juneau, waiting for the ferry to take us to Bellingham, we had a week between ferries, which was great. It has given us time to say goodbye to so many of our friends here. Barbara and Jacque have housed us and fed us for this week, I will miss them SO much, I wish I could pack them up and take them with us.
The termination dust on the mountains is saying it's time to go, winter is on it's way! I guess I'll be having to change this blog at some point, since Hoonah Byrd Nest won't seem appropriate when we start our new adventure in Eastern Washington.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Skate Fascination

My fascination with Skates continues. It took all summer, but we finally caught one so I could inspect it closer. They are just so pre-historic looking.
This one was kind enough to just lay there and let us take it's picture, notice the little feet like things, you can see what looks like legs under the skin too.

Frank got this close up of it's eye and gill, scary!
The tail has little barbs on it, so you have to watch so you don't get hit by it! The skin is like sand paper, very hard to hang onto unless you have a cloth or something to use between your hand and it's skin.
A shot from the top, you can't see the full spread of his wings here, since he was using them to hang on with.
He kind of looks sad here, his mouth is on the other side of him, he's like a halibut in some ways, with his eyes on top but his mouth is like a smile on the under side. His underside is also white in color like a halibut. Some people cut pieces out of the wings and cook them like scallops, we just let him go.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little Trouble Makers

The other day in broad day light, these little trouble makers were right out on the dock in the marina! Usually, they are so shy they are never around when there are very many people out and about.
These are Land Otters, they cause trouble by getting up on the boats and leaving BIG messes, they get into everything and they are so NOT litter trained!

This guy didn't want to leave his flounder he had caught and was busy munching on. He was going to put up with the picture taking even though he wasn't too happy about it.
I always wondered what ate those yucky flounders!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon, also known as Humpies are in the creeks by the tons right now trying to avoid the bears and fishermen to get some spawning done. Frank was out a couple of weeks ago catching them and trout on his fly rod. Once the salmon hit the fresh water of the creeks they start to turn (or decay) pretty fast. These are not good to eat but fun to catch and release. Right now the streams are getting pretty stinky with all of the dying and decaying fish floating in them, but this is good, a stinky stream is a healthy stream. All of the dead fish will leave needed nutrients in the water for the smolts (baby fish) when they hatch.
This is a female Pink, you can see the white on her belly where the decay is starting, they also turn very dark.The male Pinks, once they hit fresh water start to "hump up" (ah, the name "humpies"). You can see it on the top of this fish. And the humps get larger then this the longer they are in fresh water.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Cutest!

I love Sea Otters, they are so darned cute. We don't get them much in our area, very often. This one was floating along when we were whale watching at Pt. Adolphus last week.

He's just too cute!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fly Fishing with Frank

Frank loves to fly fish, I think it's his favorite type of fishing. After we went and picked strawberries last week, he talked me into "standing guard" while he fly fished for trout in Kennel Creek. Everyone knows how much I love being bear bait, but I did it, I stayed on the bridge with my gun and camera while he fly fished.
No, Frank didn't leave that pile of poo......

The Chum salmon were in the creek spawning, I love watching them, so I was occupied with them, when I remembered I was supposed to be watching Franks back. When I turned around this nice fuzzy guy was walking towards him on the bank. Frank couldn't see him because of a fallen log, so he started to walk towards the bear for a better look! Then he said, "well, are you going to take a picture or what?"
He finally decided to cross the creek, then went up through the woods onto the road, (ACK!) by me, where my adrenaline kicked in. At least my mind didn't go blank, when he stopped and stared at me. My first thought was to run, then gun, then camera. That shot was a little blurry. Thankfully, he kept going back down into the creek and away. Frank said he was very proud of me for not running in circles shooting my gun! I think I'd rather get my next rush from eating horseradish.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wild Strawberries

Frank drug me out of the house today to pick wild strawberries. I don't know why I'm so hard to get out of the house, guess I really am a homebody. So we strapped on the guns, and headed out the road. Once I'm there I really have a great time. I grew up picking strawberries in Oregon, well, these guys are not even close to being an Oregon strawberry! But for such a small little berry they pack in a lot of flavor. At first they are hard to find, they kind of tuck themselves into the moss and they grow really close to the ground. Most of the time we were on our knees picking these guys, but once we got used to seeing them they seemed to be everywhere! The area was flat with a big area to see around, so it wasn't as bad as I expected, there weren't many places for bears to hide and jump out at me.We pick almost 2 gallons, but cleaning them takes forever! The strawberry shortcake we had tonight was well worth the effort.We picked them all, red ones and almost red ones.
The salmon berries and blue berries are also ripe now. I don't really like salmon berries, there just isn't much flavor there. We'll wait to pick the blueberries after the first frost when we pick high bush cranberries.

The wild flowers are really in full bloom now. Frank took some good pictures of the flowers.
I love the color of the Fireweed, it's so beautiful this time of year, and it's everywhere!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Different Views

Once you live in a place for awhile you forget how others see it at first glance. Little things that we see everyday that put others in awe. I'm not saying that the beauty of Alaska doesn't still thrill me, I never forget how blessed we are to be able to live here, to see the whales, always awesome, the sunsets because they are so rare, and any wildlife. But there are times I forget we are really remote, and I forget to point out the eagles, berries, starfish or crab to others who are just visiting, even though I'm still looking at them and enjoying seeing them, I forget that others don't see them as easily as I do now. I thought I would share some pictures that were taken by someone "just visiting" to give a little different perspective on Hoonah.This is how it usually looks, weather wise, overcast, low clouds, fog. Downtown Hoonah taken from the harbor.
A many legged starfish. I didn't realize there were so many different kinds of starfish until we moved here. One of the Tlingit cemeteries. There are 2 here, one for the Eagle Clan and one for the Raven Clan. I have never figured out where they put you if you are not Tlingit.......... A sure feeling of remotenessA rare sunset.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bubble Feed

This guy has been hanging around Hoonah right where we catch our bait in front of town. He's been bubble feeding all by himself, seems pretty content and the boats all around him don't seem to bother him at all. He's been fun to watch and tourists and locals alike line up on the docks to get his picture. In this video he's in about 30 feet of water.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fire Works at 10pm

Oh ya, it's another 4th of July in Hoonah! We made it down for the parade today, we had to show Chase (our friends son who is staying with us and learning to deck hand) what it's like to celebrate the 4th of July in a small community. I'm sure he was terribly impressed! The parade looked the same as last year, Smoky the Bear and Sammy the Sockeye were riding high again, along with all the sirens from the ambulance and fire trucks. Chase didn't complain about all the candy he scored though. We actually went down to the park after to check out what was happening there. Not much.....not even horse shoes! A lot of food being sold, and there were races for the kids, but that was about it. Fireworks start at 10pm tonight, last year half of our van occupants were snoring before they were finished! I hope we can make it up that late for Chases sake, he really wants to go. Man, are we getting old or what?!These 3 wheeled bikes were a new addition. I keep waiting to see them around town with tourists in them, someone should be making some $ with them.
Frank (or Dread Barta) is finally getting his salmon itch scratched, we went out for fun yesterday and caught 9 Silvers, 1 big beautiful Chum and 6 halibut. Chase will learn to fillet too!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Montana Deb and Lin week-end

Our friends Lin and Montana Deb from Juneau were here last week-end with Debs parents who were visiting from Montana. A little rough water the first day out, but we managed to bring in a boat load of halibuts, a ton of crab and we gorged on clams too!

Lin with the "one" that didn't get away! Nice 56 pounder!

Saturday the guys had their own day on the water for some salmon fishing, they managed to bring in 5 silvers and a nice chum. YUM!
Frank (Dread) got over his salmon bluesDebs parents, that look says it all. I can't wait until we go visit them in Montana, what a great couple of couples!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun Filled Friend Week-end

Friends from Juneau and friends from Washington all were here this week-end. That meant a lot of fishing and crabbing. The first day we brought in a limit of halibut (14!) That's a whole lot of fish to clean and wrap. I think the last of the crab has just finished cooking, we'll be shelling those for a while, good thing a lot of them will be going back to Juneau. I think we are all tired, but a good tired, it's always so much fun when we get together, the week-end went by way too fast.

We got so many crab, we ate until we couldn't hold any more!
That week-end was so much fun, time went way too fast, but we got a ton a halibuts and lotsa crabs. Yum YUM!
This is "Aflack", she comes back every year to the marina and every year she looses all of her babies to Eagles, mink, and other predators. This picture was taken last week-end, I saw her today and she had no babies left.........poor Aflack.
I love the "girls" week-ends, and I love my girls!!!! I can't wait until our next one!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Neka Bay

Frank and Erickson went up to Neka Bay fishing the other day, what a beautiful day they picked too. For some reason I had a different idea of how it would be up there so stayed home instead, but now that I see the pictures, I don't think I will turn down my next invitation.They caught and released a bunch of beautiful sea run Dolly Varden. What beautiful fish they are!The wild flowers were in bloom everywhere.
Frank got a great picture of these shooting starsAnd these are something I've never seen before. Chocolate Lilies, how pretty is that! They tried to talk him into bringing me home a big bouquet for in the house. But they never made it here, they thought they were pretty funny, I guess they don't smell as good as they look!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sum, Sum, Summer Time!

Someone said to me today, "I wish it would rain", ACK! Bite your tongue!!!! It's been 2 years since we've had this nice of weather. I don't know what she was thinking. It's so nice to say, "man, it's hot in here", or "where are my shorts?" And I know I am not the only one feeling GOOD!
The kids are out swimming off the docks, the water temperature today was around 50, that's really not that warm.......

The tubing looked like a lot of fun too:
And sunbathers, ha, you don't see that very often in SE Alaska! I bet those 2 were really red today!And this awesome picture that Frank took today while doing a whale charter. He said they were jumping everywhere. It's not just the land lovers that are liking this sun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Harvest of The Sea

This week we've had a -4 tide, which is an excellent time to go clamming and since it was not too early in the morning we decided we'd better go get some. When we pulled up to the beach there was a lot of sea grass covered with herring eggs. They were everywhere, and the clams were squirting all over under the grass and farther up the beach in the sand. Frank convinced me that I needed to try eating some herring eggs just to say I had. It's not something I'd like to add to my diet, but I can say I tried them. Very crunchy, but I'll pass next time, thank you very much.
It only took us about 20 minutes to get all the clams we needed. Frank raked them up and I gathered, rinsed and put them in a 5lb bucket.The clams will stay in clean saltwater for a couple of days until they spit out all of their sand.
Also with that low tide we were able to get our crab pots in a good location, left them overnight and ended up with 16 dungeness crabs today.Tomorrow we will spend the day cooking, smoking and canning the clams. Cooking and shelling the crabs, and freezing or canning what's leftover from us eating them!