Friday, May 30, 2008

Halibut season

The fish are back! (And so are the whales!). We went out fishing last weekend and caught some pretty big halibut. I'm still sore from all the reeling.

Check out these pictures.

It's pretty awesome to be out there fishing looking at these views, listening to the whales spout and talk and seeing sea lions and sea otters.

The biggest fish we caught was probably around 80 pounds...but of course, the big one (estimated @ 150+ lb.) got away because the line broke. I'm gonna get him, though. I geared up and now have a bigger reel, stronger line and determination.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Serious about security

I don't know how you feel about national security but I can tell you, "they" are worried about me. I have had 4 background checks done on me this year, including having to ink up 6 sets of fingerprint cards.

Here are some of the questions our government asks on one of the security forms:

  1. How long have you known this person?
    Choices listed are: years, months or I don't know this person.
  2. On the average, I associate(d) with this person ....
    Choices listed are: daily, weekly, monthly, twice a year, once every year or 2, once in 3 or more years.
  3. Do you have any reason to question this person's honesty or trustworhiness?
    Choices listed are: no, yes, I do not know this person well enough to respond, and (my favorite) I wish to discuss the adverse information I have.
  4. Do you have any adverse information about this person's employment, residence or activites concerning:
    Choices are: violations of the law, financial integrity, abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, mental or emotional stability, (my favorite) general behavior or conduct, other matters, and I wish to discuss the adverse information I have.
  5. Additional information which you feel may have a bearing on this person's suitability for government employment or a security clearance. This space may be used for derogatory as well as positive information.

Being able to log on to a government computer in Gridless Gustavus: Priceless

Sunday, May 18, 2008

All in a day's work

My varied and interesting work continues.

This past week, I participated in MOCC training, a course to become certified in motorboat operation. It was truly one of the best classes I have ever taken. Not only did we practice donning gumby suits (survival suits), we got to swim around in the water in them! The goal was to get into one in under 2 minutes ... not an easy task, but one I was able to do.

(Sidenote: for fun, one of my friend's and her husband have contests for this sort of thing -- the one who goes fishing in his survival suit. She holds the household record of 45-seconds.)

See some of my "work" pictures, including Petersburg touring, float plane ride and skiff operation.

I drove a 16-ft skiff (motorboat) around all week and backed a trailer with a boat loaded on it in and around the parking lot. I learned how to tie all sorts of boating knots, how to dock a boat and how to dock a boat in reverse!

This coming week, I'll be taking my Vista leader on a tour of Gustavus, taking a kayak safety class, taking the skiff out for more "practice" and hopefully riding out to the cruise ships for what's known as a "transfer".

Social Saturday

Life in little Gustavus certainly is never dull and in typical Alaska style, things rarely go as expected or planned. For example, a 30-minute trip to "town" on a Saturday actually takes a few hours.

If you go to the post office during the week, it takes about 3 minutes total at the post office. On a Saturday, you need to allow at least 45 minutes at the post office: 15 minutes to chat with the two or three people you run into in the parking lot before you go in; 15 minutes to chat with the postmaster and people inside the post office; and another 15 minutes to chat with whoever pulled up in the parking lot in the half hour you've been trying to get out of there.

Then, you have to stop in at the Community Chest, the local thrift store, (it's across the street from the post office) and check out what's new. Of course, you run into other people there, which takes another 20 minutes.

Then, you have to stop at the store to pick up a couple of items and, well, you know the drill...not to mention who you might pass on the road and have to stop in the middle of the road to catch up. With summer and the whales approaching, you also need to allow time to head out to the city dock to see if you can spot any whales in Icy Strait.

This evening was the opening "local" dinner at the Gustavus Inn. They kick off the summer season by serving a reasonably priced dinner, which is a huge social event. It was packed! They were geared up, though, and had plenty of waiting space and a fire ring to hang out around. Of course, you saw most of the people you saw earlier in the day, plus the rest that you hadn't!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Yet another funny/odd email received

"The telephone in the SRD Archy spot, formally held by Jeremy Karchut, is missing. This position will be filled in the near future and we would like to have this phone returned. If you have it please return it. Thanks."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Little Norway

Last week I traveled for work to Petersburg, AK, also known as Alaska's Little Norway. You can do all sorts of cool stuff ... like seeing a tide water glacier, whale watching, deer watching, hiking, kayaking and tons more.

It wouldn't be traveling in Alaska if there wasn't some sort of story so here goes.

Because I'm an official Forest Service volunteer with a travel budget, I have to fly with USFS licensed/carded pilots. This means they sent a special plane over from Juneau to pick me up. (Which meant more $$ instead of flying over on one of the regularly scheduled commuter flights but hey, our tax dollars hard at work.) After that, I was allowed to fly on Alaska Airlines on their only daily southbound trip to Petersburg.

On the return trip, I was really wondering what was happening as I watched us fly over the Juneau airport. (It's not like you can land anywhere else anytime soon.) The 25-minute flight from Petersburg to Juneau actually lasted 55 minutes. After about 30 more minutes of flying in a holding pattern, we learned the pilot was "in training" and had overshot the runway. (Pretty sad that the flight time was shorter than the time we spent in the hold pattern.)

Instead of flying back to Gustavus, I got to fly in a float plane to Bartlett Cove, 10 miles from the Gustavus airport. This is the cove that I see out of my living room window. Also pretty cool. I could walk home from there, although Robin was there to pick me up because I had 3 boxes of groceries (including 5 dozen eggs).