Sunday, September 30, 2007

Slug hunting in Sitka

I must say, there is never a dull moment in beautiful Sitka by the sea. This weekend's big activity was a slug hunt held in honor of National Public Lands Day.)

According to Forest Circus officials, this was an "all-out effort to rid Starrigavan Recreation Area of the invasive European Black Slug." Hosted by the guy who accidentally released pepper spray in the office, more than 75 Sitkans participated in the hunt.

The event started with an informative lecture followed by a deomonstration of the proper slug-capturing techniques to use. Hunting gear was provided and included rubber gloves, slug-capturing devices (rubber grabber things) and buckets.

See pictures of the hunt and the free t-shirts that were handed out to the crowd (funded by a grant from our generous government).

Volunteers then mounted a safari for the slimy black invaders. At one point during the hunt, there was a fervor among the crowd because of a brown bear sighting just off the trail. Fortunately, the bear decided to head away from the people.

More than 418-some slugs were collected for proper disposal (which is drowning them in a bucket of bleach, reportedly the "most human way" to kill a slug). A marshmallow and hot dog roast around a campfire followed for all the hungry hunters.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Ferry ride to Alaska: $984
Round of skeet shooting: $11
Gallon of gas: $3.31
Pound of honey crisp apples: $4.99
16-oz carton of dried milk: $12.35

Pleasure of living in Sitka: Priceless

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My first birthday in Alaska

I had an incredible birthday ... complete with brownies and ice cream -- yum. I went halibut fishing again. I did catch fish but none as big as the first time I went fishing. It was fun. Who wouldn't have fun seeing a bunch of porpoises while fishing?!? On the way back to the rig, I had my first black bear sighting! It was running across the parking lot and was really neat to see.

I've been on another whirlwind tour of Southeast Alaska. It started with a jet to Juneau and then a small plane to Gustavus for my birthday (near Glacier Bay National Park) then a small plane back to Juneau to get on a ferry to Skagway (for a conference where I had to present to an audience of 200 -- yikes!) and then back on the 18-hour ferry ride to Sitka. Make sure you check out my photos of Juneau, my birthday and more.

The hardest part about being in Skagway was the absence of any sort of reliable phone service and the presence of hoards of people. It was crazy and made me absolutely fu*#ing insane! The 10,000 people getting off the cruise ships were definitely not happy about the lack of phone coverage. (You will note that there are no photos of Skagway because that is a place I would like to block from my mind.)

In Juneau, I took the tram up to the mountain top. However, it was completely socked in so no views. It was so much fun being with all the girls riding to the top! I went to Mendenhall Glacier (awesome, awesome -- I must return!). They have a lot of bear issues there but of course, I didn't see any.

I was really, really happy to get back to beautiful Sitka by the Sea!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top 10 facts I learned about Alaska

  1. Open carrying of a firearm is legal with two exceptions: You cannot legally carry a weapon into an establishment that serves liquor or into a governmental building.

  2. You can have a message relayed to someone who doesn't have a telephone by contacting the local radio station and they will broadcast your "muskeg message" (free of charge).

  3. Because of the frequency of weather-delayed flights, you can often obtain a "distressed traveler" rate at many hotels.

  4. If you are flying Alaska Air on a flight within Alaska, you are allowed an extra bag at no cost (probably because of the frequency of weather-delayed flights).

  5. No-seeums are nasty little bugs that cause nasty itching that lasts a very, very long time.

  6. There are three criteria to establish prior to dating someone: Does he have all his teeth? Does he have a job? Does he have a place to live that isn't a boat and has indoor plumbing?

  7. The offical Alaskan sneakers are Xtra Tuffs and they are also the offical Alaskan footwear. In fact, Sitka hosts an annual race, Running of the Boots.

  8. The offical Alaskan luggage is really plastic bags you get from the grocery store (so you'll have plenty of food to get you through those weather-delayed flights). Carrying a sleeping bag is also recommended.

  9. You better learn the 5 kinds of salmon. Each are known by two names, which can be confusing: king (chinook), sockeye (red), coho (silver), pink (humpies) and chum (dogs).

  10. Everything revolves around when a hunting season opens and you better schedule any event accordingly. Deer season starts on Aug 1. Moose season starts on Sept. 15.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Life in Sitka

Sitka is a small, friendly and very scenic town right on the water with about 8,000-9,000 people. Almost everything is walkable, provided you don't mind the rain but hey, that's why everyone has a rain coat, rain pants and XTraTufs. There are a few restaurants in town and they even deliver.

Living in Forest Service housing is, well, interesting. Other than the impossibility of the boys upstairs getting me a phone message or telling people I don't live there (and aside from the asbestos signs, other warning signs, peeling linoleum and disregard for housekeeping), it's been great. All of the seasonal employees will be moving out within the next couple of weeks. This means I will have the place and the phone to myself until April!

People tell me there are bears on my street and in the surrounding forest. I haven't seen any yet but I know they are there. It's only about a mile from work and I walk to work every day, which is fabulous. Downtown and the water are only a few blocks away. The airport is an approximate 6.5 minute drive, 8 if I have to wait for the stoplight, although the flight out is at 6 a.m. so there really isn't much traffic at that hour.

Take a look at the photos of Sitka and my place.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Drinkers needed

This was a posting on a bulletin board in my local bank:

Drinkers needed
The Public Safety Academy is conducting an alcohol workshop to train the current recruit class on how to deal with drinkers and how to perform field sobriety tests. We need participants.
  • You must be sober when you arrive.
  • Don't eat 2 hours prior.
  • Married couples shouldn't participate because a dispute may arise.
  • Transportation is provided.
  • You will get pizza at the end.

Please call 747-6611.

Now who wouldn't want to participate in that?!? What a great public service participants will be doing.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Top 10 things I learned about Alaska Airlines

  1. If you're 5 years old and carrying a fish in a glass jar filled with water (and it's more than 3.4 ounces and not in a quart-size ziplock bag), they will let you and your fish on the plane.
  2. If you just had back surgery and need to go back to the hospital for a pain killer shot because your departure flight was delayed, they will call the ambulance for you.
  3. Taking a Leatherman from the airport is a ~very~ good thing but leaving a Leatherman at the airport is ~never~ a good thing.
  4. If your flight was supposed to depart at 6 a.m. and you're still sitting there at 8 a.m. because of a weather delay, one of the airline people will make a donut run to the local grocery store and bring back donuts for everyone.
  5. If you just had back surgery and your flight is on a weather delay, left the plane to go back to the hospital for a pain killer shot, and returned to the airport, you can still get back on the same plane (if it's still there because of a weather delay) without any hassle.
  6. If you need to reschedule your flight for the next day for any reason (even if the reason is that it's sunny in Sitka), you are pretty much guaranteed that they will change your flight and not charge any fee to do so.
  7. Beverage service is not offered on the 12-minute flight from Gustavus to Juneau. It's also not offered on the 27-minute flight from Sitka to Juneau.
  8. If you're only flying in Alaska, you can check an extra bag over the allowance at no additional cost and you get an extra carry on (usually it's food and/or a sleeping bag because of weather delays).
  9. If you're nice to the person checking boarding passes before security, you can see real-time photos of the airport where you are flying and she'll check for any other connecting flights on any of the other carriers.
  10. If you want to purchase a flight leaving in 40 minutes because the small plane you were scheduled to fly on is on a weather hold but jets are still flying, you can buy a ticket at the regular price, get through security and still get on the plane.