Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 Highlights of 2013

  1. Living the Alaska lifestyle with Robin
  2. New Zealand trip with amazing wildlife and hunting experiences
    1. Penguin viewing (see the video)
    2. Red stag viewing (see the video)
    3. Goat hunting (see the video)
    4. Camping with Lucky, The Campervan
  3. Exploring Petersburg, Alaska
  4. Awesome halibut and salmon fishing season
  5. Whales, whales and more whales. We saw so many whales, including some right by the boat. See the video.
  6. Mama Bear, Baby Bear #1 and Baby Bear #2. These bears were frequent visitors, and we were frequent viewers! See the video.
  7. Pig hunting in Florida
  8. Robin's successful deer hunting in Alaska and Kentucky
  9. Great progress with health, fitness and workouts
  10. Robin's encore career as a medical supply technician

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Holiday Story: I Am Going to Hell

This story was relayed to me by a very good friend last year (whom I miss dearly!), during the campaign hoopla of last fall's elections, Thanksgiving, Christmas – The Giving Season.

I held on to it, planning to post it to the blog and reread for when I need a pick-me-up.

Warning: You should make sure you don’t need to pee before you read it. Every time I read it, I almost pee my pants because I laugh so hard.

Here it is, for your enjoyment. Edited for anonymity.
"When [The Dog] finally decided she liked rawhide bones, we found out that she can't tolerate them. If she has a bone, she has diarrhea the next (early) morning. It's a real treat to wake up to that smell (she doesn't know how to ask to go out either).  
So I wake up to a mess Saturday morning. I clean up the worst of it, throw everything into an old plastic [local grocery] sack, and toss it on the front porch to put in the garbage bin later (because I was still in my nightgown).  
A couple of hours later, [The Mr.] and I are sitting in the living room drinking coffee (still in my nightgown). He notices something on the camera/security monitor (and it's not a political canvasser for a change).  
He says, "That's weird. Some little kid just stole a sack of garbage off our porch and ran out and got in that white van."  
I say, "Oh, shit! That's the Lutheran church picking up for their food drive!!!"
I had forgotten that Saturday was the day they were picking up the food they'd requested we put in a [local grocery] sack and leave on our front porches! 
I was going to call the church and confess, but I couldn't talk about it without laughing hysterically.
So I guess I'm going to Hell."

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Summer of Fun, Friends and Festivities

Lots of great boating and fishing, lots of great hiking, lots of great scenery and lots of good times with friends and family.

>> See summertime photos.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Summer of Wildlife

In addition to the weather, whales and our non-stop, non-sleeping summertime lifestyle, we had great wildlife sightings. So far, no bears, but the salmon are coming into the rivers and I expect to see some near rivers edge soon.

Here are some other wildlife photos:
>> Deer, puffins, eagle, buffalo, goats

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Robinhood Makes Headlines -- Again

Robin has now made headline news for the FOURTH time in the two and a half years since we have lived in Kodiak.

  • Robin received archer hunter status, and robin-hooded another student's arrow, during a recent archery certification class covered in the Kodiak Daily Mirror. (He is moosehunting today!)
    >> Read the article.
  • In other news, Robin was the first dental patient at a new community dental clinic. What the Kodiak Daily Mirror article doesn't mention is that he almost single-handedly built the clinic dental exam areas!
    >> Read the article.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Whale of a Summer

This has been a whale of a summer, both literally and figuratively.

To start with, the weather has been phenomenal. In fact, it is the warmest and driest summer on record in more than 40 years. July was the warmest since 1979, and the driest since 1967. And, we had 18 consecutive dry days and 10 consecutive days with high temperatures above 70 degrees.

The whale action has been unprecedented. We haven't seen this many whales since our time at Glacier Bay. A mama and calf swam so close to the boat we were thinking about donning our gumby suits!

Needless to say, I have been outside enjoying this beautiful weather and beautiful place. Today, it's blowing and raining (for a change), so a good opportunity to update the long-neglected blog.

>> See some whale photos.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Red Stag, New Zealand Style

The primary hunt for this New Zealand trip was for red stag. It's an animal between a big deer and an elk in size. These are awesome creatures who "roar." It is a sound much louder and deeper than an elk bugling. An amazing sound to hear out in the wilds and remoteness of New Zealand. It really carries, too, and you can hear it from miles away -- literally.

We were about 1 1/2 hours from Blenheim, a total of 5 hours from Christchurch. In the middle of nothing. Lots of scruff, rugged and beautiful country with mountains, rivers, gorges, canyons and some steep, hot hiking. It's near Mount Gladstone, sort of.

The weather was perfect: blue skies, clear, crisp in the mornings but really heated up as the day went on to about 65 degrees. Which for us, seemed really freakin' hot. My pores were definitely cleaned out from all the sweating. Did I mention it was hot and steep?

We had spotted this fellow the night before, and were hoping he was still around. We were about to pack it up and head to another ridge, which I really did not want to do. (The sun was beating down and the climb was steep.) But, then I spotted him. I called attention to the guys ahead, and they got into position immediately. Good thing, too, because it all happened so fast.

Robin ranged him at 300 yards, set up and took the shot. Drilled him and down he went! We could hardly find the bullet hole -- that's how thick his hide was -- we had to find it from the inside. We also had to get through these prickly bushes, but all in all, he was pretty easy to reach.

He was around 450 pounds, and made really awesome burger!

See the photos from the red stag hunt.

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Zealand Hunting at Glen Dene, Lake Hawea

Wow, what a stunningly beautiful place. Here are some of our hunting photos at Glen Dene station. If you're interested in a hunt at Glen Dene, talk to Robin first because we want to go back. Check out their website.

Our hosts Richard and Sarah Burdon were phenomenal and have a phenomenal station. They even had us for tea. What great people! She didn't even mind that Robin wanted to cook ... but who would? :-)

We camped at Lake Hawea Holiday Park. Boy, was that a beautiful, fun and friendly place to be. Well worth a stop if you ever go to the South Island.

Robin shot an arapawa ram at 225 yards. He is a cracker shot!

See our hunting photos. 

(More scenic photos to come later..we're still rooting the 1,400!)

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Zealand Oddities

Sometimes pictures speak louder than words.
  • Weird bathrooms. 
  • Weird roadkill. 
  • McLamb = McNot
  • Predicaments
  • And more....
These should all make you smile or scratch your head ... or both.

Enjoy these photos.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lucky Camping in New Zealand

While in New Zealand, we rented a campervan, the Lucky Cruiza.

What an awesome and amazing way to see the country. We drove about 1,400 miles in that thing, averaging around 30 miles to the gallon. We freedom camped (pulling over wherever we wanted). Tip for all you New Zealand bound campers: rent the porta-potty. This gives you "self-contained" status. Well worth having it along and opening up all these scenic, secluded opportunities to camp.

We also stayed in established campgrounds from time to time. These were great, and not like KOAs in the U.S. They were complete with showers, grills and laundry facilities. Of course, all in scenic places.

The scenery was fantastic. The weather was perfect: 65-70 degrees, sunny, clear, dry -- very different than Kodiak weather.

We were able to cook our meals, which is a significant savings. Eating out in New Zealand is very, very expensive. Although, they did have a great deal of gluten free options wherever we went.

Most of our meals were stag burgers or wild pork, all shot by Robin when we were hunting. We found a butcher along the way in a little town, who ground the stag into burger for us. It was awesome!

See some camping photos.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New Zealand wildlife

Wildlife in New Zealand was spectacular.
  • Penguins: We saw lots of penguins, little blue and yellow eyed, in several different areas. One was near Omaru, others near Dunedin, Curio Bay and places in between. Awesome viewing and we also have some awesome video.
  • Birds: Royal albatross, one of the only places in the world you can see them on land. Shags (cormorants) spoonbills, herons and swans, to name a few.
  • Four legged creatures: All imported, including a 140 year old taratoura lizard, sheep, red stag, fallow deer, rabbits and more. We even had to stop several times driving down the road because of sheep herding.
  • Marine animals: Seals, sea lions, including one wrestling match for sea lions going for the best napping space. We even saw some dolphins jumping in the ocean while we were driving down the road.
See a few -- and I do mean a few -- photos of wildlife.

(We took 1,400 photos!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Zealand: Quote of the Day

"We don't give change."
What the ?!?@#? This was the response from the campervan rental agent . Exact change required, or they get to keep the change?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Zealand: Quote of the Day

"Would you like ice cream in your milk shake?"

Server in response to Karen ordering a milk shake, which is really just flavored milk. If you add ice cream, it's $1 more and still just like flavored milk.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Top 10 New Zealand Cultural Lessons

  1. Freedom camping is much more regulated than it was my first trip there 10 years ago, but still very doable and very awesome!
  2. Forget about using a 5 cent piece, even if you received it as change for something. This is "no longer in circulation" and merchants won't accept it. They also "round" all transactions.
  3. Kiwis like to drive fast. Robin determined this is Darwinism in action; it weeds out the stupid.
  4. "No, you can't do that" or "No, we don't do that" is a very common response.
  5. Eggs are not refrigerated. At all!
  6. McDonald's McLamb is a Mc-NOT! If you do eat lamb, lots of mint jelly is recommended.
  7. Hot and cold water faucets are sometimes reversed, but not consistently. And, sometimes the hot water is simply cold. So, you never are quite sure what will come out of the tap.
  8. Possums, giant hares and hedge hogs are common road kill sightings. The possums are weird, too, and have tails like a squirrel (photo to come).
  9. If you are invited for "tea", that could mean tea, a snack, or a 5-course meal.
  10. Robin is not allowed to cross the street alone, and you must maintain a firm hold on him when doing so.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Zealand: Quote of the Day

"You Americans. You're always asking for discounts."

Camp site representative in response to us asking about AAA or AARP discount.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Top 10 New Zealand Statistics

  1. Miles from Kodiak: 8,000
  2. Wallaby spottings: 1 (by Karen, but too quick to get a photo)
  3. Photos taken: 1,400 (working on sorting these out to upload for viewing enjoyment)
  4. Times Robin almost got hit by a car while crossing the street (in one day): 5
  5. Days we ate red stag burgers: 12
  6. Sand fly bites Karen received: 50+ (Robin received 0)
  7. Miles driven in the caravan on the South Island: 1,300
  8. Red stags sighted: 70+ (shot by Robin = 1)
  9. Roundabout driving incidents: Too numerous to count
  10. Times Robin tried to drive in the right lane and hit the windshield wipers to turn on the blinker: Too numerous to count

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Zealand bound

In one week, we begin our journey to the Southern Hemisphere. I can hardly wait! We fly into Christchurch and will go on a 3-day hunt with New Zealand Trophy Hunting.

Then, some crazy fishing/diving adventure.

After that, we get in our Lucky Cruiza (campervan) and the real fun begins ... Driving on the wrong side of the road, camping who knows where, seeing penguins, and lots more adventure!

Stay tuned for updates and photos along the way.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quote of the day...

"I'm not stubborn ... I just have good ideas. There's a big difference."

Robin's response when I said he was stubborn after his repeated refusals to have me start the truck so it could warm up.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keeping busy with the USCG Auxiliary

Last year, we joined the USCG Auxiliary, which has been keeping us busy in the free time we didn't have.

We've been training to be boat crew members, which means we can go out on boat patrols and serve on USCG vessels. We were recruited to be Auxiliary "officers". I am the materials officer and Robin is a liaison officer.

See some photos of us in uniform!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

A belated greeting for a healthy and happy New Year!

We had a great Christmas, having a wonderful meal with friends followed by a hike out Spruce Cape, one of our favorite walks.

Robin entered the family sock contest, retaining rights to keep his flamingo trophy.

See some photos.