Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's hot and sunny here!

I have remarked before that weather her matters. Eliza Dolittle would be just fine discussing the weather in Southeast Alaska, it's all we talk about. Her cockney slang could stay hidden in the polite discussions of unseasonably warm September or an incredibly shitty June. Fyi, the 150 year average of rainfall for September in Sitka is 11.28 inches. We are a bit low this month.

So, yes, as the title of this blerg states, It's been bloody hot and sunny for darn near a week in the Greatland. So hot that they're catching blue sharks of the cape of Kruzof Island. This means there is a current of warm water somewhere off shore. TDF is thinking about going tuna fishing on the Leona. Yes, fricking tuna fishing in the Gulf of Alaska. Man, I loves me some albituna. Plus you troll as fast as our boat goes (like 6 knots) which may be pretty fun.

My tomatoes, grown inside, are showing signs of finally ripening and my celery is finally becoming tall and stately. I'm leaving work early to go and sip some minty booze on my porch and lay in the sun. Because I can and because I know that soon it will rain and be dark.

Make minty cocktails while the sun shines, kids! You'll regret it on a rainy day later.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crater Mountain High

Finally found the picture! Here we are lounging in the hummocks in Crater Mountain. I love all the red in this photo.

In other, decidedly less awesome, news we are trying to buy a truck. This post is sort of a Hail Mary of truck purchasing. Our list of requirements is not long, but each requirement further narrows the choices by at least half. Since you asked, ahem, here is what we want:

Toyota Tacoma extended cab
Manual Transmission
Less than $10k.

Finding this golden goose of a vehicle is very hard. It wouldn't be if we lived in TN, somehow that's where all the awesome Toyotas meet up, like some sort of yuppie truck Jugaloo gathering. Do you know anybody who has one of these unicorns? We have ca$h money to spend.

Buying a truck has made me realize that I'm some total Luddite crank when it comes to cars. I can't stand automatic transmissions and power windows scare me. We had this large suv *coughSuburbancough* that fell apart from the inside. The Power windows were the first to go, then many things followed. It was really fun watching a piece of Americana rot into America's Temperate Rain forest.

All of these woes remind me of my first, and really only, Truck. She was an 1989 ranger with a Mazda engine. Everything was manual, including the steering. I totaled her on the freeway at Christmas and managed to rebuild her with a crazy drunk guy I knew. I learned the Bondo Method of bodywork. She started life black and I sold her as a pearly purple. I never did get around to fixing the gaping hole in the upholstery. I miss that little thing.

What was your first car? Do you miss it?

Friday, September 10, 2010


My husband and I haven't really had a vacation the entire 7 years of our blissful married life. We have had "vacations" and a trip to Baja that was infinitely more fun for him than me. Most trips away from home, they are not vacations and should not be referred to as such, are to visit family. (Hi, family reading this. We love visiting, really.) It's great being warm and seeing loved ones, but it's not the adventure that he and I desire.

Well, dear readers, we are taking a dang vacation. Our plan is to drive the west coast from Santa Barbara to Blaine over a 3 week period. We are shopping for a boat, so this is a business vacation. Bah, don't care. I finally will get to see that weird part of Northern California with all the hippies and the statue of Paul Bunyon. We plan on joining the rest of America by sleeping in our car in a Wal Mart parking lot.

Our hope is to purchase a new truck and drive it up, filling it with all kinds of fall goodness and cheap fishing gear. If we're lucky, we'll buy the truck soon and can bring AK plates with us. We have no plans except to stick to the coastal routes and see as many harbors as possible. (I will be wearing my Xtra-tuffs so that any local who fishes will see them and know that I am awesome, and fish too.)

Any must sees? I like the strange and unusual. Roadside attraction stuff like giant balls of twine.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Things you should know about commercial fishing

1. You are at least damp all of the time, if not soaked. Parts of your body will peel off due to being wet and salty all of the time.

2. You will stink. From sweat and from rotting salmon-ick stuck to your body. Salmon ick ranges from blood to viscera. I peeled a chunk of spinal blood off of my shoulder over the weekend.

3. You cannot be claustrophobic. The fo'c'sle is dank and you sleep in a coffin like place near the ceiling. The hold is dark and cold. The hatch to the hold must stay closed all the time (even when packing fish) to keep the ice from melting.

4. Repetitive motion is the only motion. You scrub the deck at least 20 times per day. The salmon get clubbed in the same manner with the same arm (Hammerstein). The path between the wheel house is worn.

5. Breakfast can make or break the day. Eating is secondary to catching fish so eating before you're pulling them keeps the hunger pangs at bay. Warm breakfasts are best, but anything will do. I know that if I don't eat I become nauseous, crabby, and hard to work with.

6. Things break all of the time. The wash down pump stops working if it gets too hot. You will lose stuff over the side. There will be electrical fires. You must be able to fix the situation and move on.

7. Mornings are dreadful and amazing. Getting up an hour before dawn in an Alaskan summer means regularly rising at 3 am. This is a time that should not exist, yet manages to be spectacular. The way everything is purple and quite. The potential of another day on the water. It breaks your heart, it's so perfect.

8. Only breakfast is more important than sleep to functioning. Get some when you can. It's never quality sleep--the motions, the noise, the damp--but it is something.

9. Have a clean change of clothes to wear at night. You do not want to smell like fish guts when you are trying to enjoy pork chops or a beer.

10. Coming back into the harbor, late at night and tying up to the cannery is about as exciting as it gets. When they lower the tote down to you and you fill it with your catch, and they have to keep lowering it because you caught more than 1,000 pounds of salmon flesh, you take a breath. The icy cold and the way your back screams from shoveling out all of the ice doesn't matter.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Some days you get the Baar. Well, dude, some days the baar gets you. Today I was the carrion picked at by the vultures. I was gum under the shoe. I was the bag full of only yellow gummi bears. I had to re-image my gov'ment computer. This means that I have to reinstall every program, reestablish every connection, and mostly remember what on earth I had on the thing.

I got home at 11pm last night, got to work at 8:15 today. Have to go fishing at 5 pm. I should be more excited about fishing, but I really just want to lay down and read for awhile.

Burned the Flight of the Conchords cd, though. Foux de fa fa should get me through the day.