Saturday, May 31, 2008

A few critters

It's been hectic with endless days filled with endless work and play. I just love it here in summer. I only did one long kayak trip yet (no time to write about it), and a few great hikes. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera on the best hike of the year yet, so I guess I just have to do it again later...

Anyhow, here's a sea otter I photographed off Inner Point on Kruzof Island:

And some harbor seals on the Parker Group:

A brown bear, in Silver Bay where we have been seeing them about every other day:

A tufted puffin - one of about 150 we saw off Saint Lazaria Island:


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Work and training at Allen Marine

I thought I would segregate the things I do a little – this is about my job as a deckhand on the passenger vessel Sea Otter Express, which does tours mostly to the Medvejie hatchery in Silver Bay. In this boat-cleaning picture you can see the naturalist (Ryan), and captain (Russ):

We started the season off with a lot of training; everything was covered from company history to firefighting. This picture is of an evacuation drill, with Alex and Mindy in the foreground:

And here is Pablo, going through fire-fighting practice. We all got to do it, and I thought it was a valuable and fun part of the training:

Finally, here we are in one of the CO2-activated life rafts, after we deployed it in the harbor on a glorious day:

The tour has been good. I am sunburned, and from time to time I find interesting birds, bears, and plants. I even made time to go kayaking, but this is all for another post, when I get around to it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

First post of the 2008 tourist season - finally.

Once again, I am late posting news to the blog. After the last one about three weeks ago, I went back to Juneau to take my final exams and undergo three days of training with the National Guard. The final exams went very well, except for the twelve-page final philosophy paper on the ethics of ambiguity. An interesting topic, but I just ran out of things to say right around the eighth page. As for training, I scored expert on the M16 marksmanship event (it isn’t a very difficult thing to do, really; about 10% of us get expert), we did some counseling, we had a random drug test for everyone, a physical fitness make-up test, and supply issues to sort out. Overall, it was a rather productive week. I even got to work a little bit for a Sitka store that had a show in Juneau and needed help setting up and breaking down.

Birding in Sitka has been very pleasant, with low numbers, but a rather high diversity of migrants. There have been many surface ducks and shorebirds. I am working on the passenger vessel Sea Otter, which does tours in Silver Bay, South of Sitka. We go down to a salmon hatchery and we don’t see all that much wildlife generally, aside from the occasional bear, an eagle’s nest we like to visit, and the jellyfish, starfish, trees, slugs and birds I like to point out to the tourists.

I'll post a few recent photos to see if this internet connection really is capable of uploading, and then if it works I'll go ahead and put up some plants I promise I'll really do it time seriously this time it's for real I swear I'm definitely undoubtedly without fail going to do it.

Trumpeter swan Cygnus buccinator:

Ruby-crowned kinglet Regulus calendula:

I didn’t get a bear photo yet this year, so here’s a track I found up Indian River: