Friday, August 29, 2008

More pictures!

I said I'd post more pictures. But first I have to address a question I'll undoubtedly be getting from people outside Alaska.

What's with Sarah Palin?

Well, I had no idea she would get the VP candidacy, either. In fact, I heard persistent rumors about it months ago, and discounted them with the same certainty that I had resorted to in order to discount the rumors that Lieberman would get that spot on the McCain ticket: "ridiculous - it'll never happen!"

Well, I was wrong, and that's it. I thought for sure McCain would get a credible VP because he's old enough that he could have an incapacitating stroke or something. I thought McCain would get someone with a good economic record (for example, who doesn't mail $3,000 to every state resident). I thought that McCain would pick someone who's not under investigation, and who isn't from a state where it seems that every other GOP official is under investigation.

So much for Alaska voting democrat for the first time in decades! She is still popular enough here that the Obama campaing in this state is largely a waste of funds. Thankfully, there are many opportunities to effect change in local government, in the upcoming October and November ballots for those of you who ar registered to vote here. The Tuesday election was not a total disaster, either.

So I have been working on a boat just like this one (I took a picture of it because it is hard to photograph my own boat, the St. Michael):

Here is a humpback whale, lobtailing off Kita Island:

A gumboot chiton I found kayaking:

An abalone, also found while kayaking:

A whale breaching off Viesokoi Rock:

A photo of orcas that another crewmember took with my camera:

Kayaking heaven, and my kayak hauled out:

One of my favorite bald eagle nests:

An ophiuroidea "brittle star" on a leather star:

A whale's fluke off Vitskari Rock:

And another one, in slightly heavier weather:

I'm leaving town tomorrow, and I'll be overseas in a couple of days or so.


Monday, August 25, 2008

A few pictures

I don't know if this connection is working or not, so here are a few pictures I took of plants around Sitka. If this is successful I will try it again in a few days.

This is Aquilegia formosa, photographed at Silver Bay:

Anemone narcissiflora ssp. Alaskana, photographed on Arrowhead:

Campanula lasiocarpa, also found on Arrowhead:

And Campanula rotundifolia on one of my favorite island groups, the Eckhokms:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The summer of my content happiness

Hello everyone. My regular coffee shop connection has been refusing to upload pictures to this website, so I will simply give an update.'

It's been a busy summer and I am tired, but I have also enjoyed myself very much. This last weekend the Mongolia contingent went up to Anchorage to do paperwork and health screenings, and the mission is now official, and not classified at all: we'll be in Mongolia for about three weeks next month, helping the Mongolian military in the capstone exercise of their UN certification. Our company will consist of our platoon (US), a Mongolian platoon, and an Indian or Nepalese platoon. This should be a wonderful way to finish this interesting summer.

Some recent highlights of my Sitka Sound adventures have been: a largely fruitless abalone hunt on weather-beaten rocks south of Sitka at very low tide (although I do have some cool pictures of undersize abalone, and horrendous scratches on my kayak to show for it), a couple of good hikes on Verstovia, and pretty good birdwatching from the tour boat on board which I now work - the St Michael. I have learned a lot about botany, but still not nearly enough to really know what I am looking at. In fact, I made a pretty embarrassing mistake last week when I triumphantly announced that I had found a rare Botrychium. Matt Goff politely suggested that it was in fact the very same Cryptogramma I had photographed and posted on this blog last winter.