Monthly Archives: August 2010

A Final Summer Fishing Fling 2010 – Whittier, Alaska

 

Fishing in Prince William Sound

Last weekend Dr. James Martin and Cindi of Valley Chiropractic in Wasilla took their staff and a couple of lucky spouses (myself included) on a chartered fishing trip out of Whitter, Alaska.

And it was a wonderful weekend, too. Although it rained much of the time our spirits were never dampened. The 2-hour boat ride from the Whittier Harbor out to the fishing grounds on the charter boat ”Eye Of The Storm” was scenic and pleasant. None of us had gotten much sleep the previous night, but most stayed awake for the ride anyway. We fished hard all day long, caught many fish, laughed and visited with each other, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery that surrounded us. Returning to Whittier at the end of the day, about 8 p.m., we were a tired crew, but I think each of us felt very fortunate to have been able to spend time with each other in the magnificent outdoors of our home state, Alaska. 

I took many, many pictures, of course. Originally I had planned to write a little story about our trip and add a picture or two wherever they might fit in to the narrative. But, I ended up with too many pictures for that idea so I think I’m just going to post all of them, hoping the captions will give my readers some sort of an idea of our good times and adventures.

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Becky, Sherry, Cindi and I travelled to Whittier together in Cindi’s motor home. When we reached the entrance to the 2.5 mile long  tunnel which leads to the city of Whittier we found that a stalled vehicle inside the single lane tunnel was causing a  delay. As a result it was an additional two hours before we could reach our destination, We just sat inside of the motor home, listening to music, reading, or visiting.

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Chery spent the time reading, occasionally glancing out the window at the landscape, and at others who were also waiting for the tunnel to open.

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When at last we reached Whittier and got the motor home situated it was nearly dark. But we were still hungry so we walked to the Anchor Inn for a nice prime rib dinner. It was pretty tasty, too, but I later wished I’d eaten something a bit lighter since the heavy meal kept me awake much of the night.

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Dr. Martin and Cindi after our prime rib dinner at Whittier’s Anchor Inn.

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On our walk back to the motor home Cindi wanted to show me yet another tunnel, this one a pedestrian tunnel leading down towards the harbor underneath the railroad tracks, so she and I and Chery did a little exploring. While we were in the tunnel she received a phone call from other members of our party who had just arrived in Whittier and wanted to know where to find us.

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This street scene in Whittier show the commercial area of the small community, with fish processing plants and city buildings. The processing plants were still operating at this time of night, but the streets were pretty quiet nonetheless.

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This is Begich Tower. At 14 stories it is the tallest and most prominent building in Whitter. It is also home to nearly all of  Whittier’s 287 residents.

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Becky and Cindi during our walk back to the motor home after dinner. When we first arrived swarms of mosquitoes, made it nearly impossible to be outside, but by the time we left the restaurant the cooling temperature had driven the bugs away, making our short rather pleasant.

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The girls all wanted to watch a movie after dinner and settled comfortably on the couches. I was all for getting some sleep, myself, but I snapped this picture before climbing into my bunk. From left to right: Chery, Becky and Danielle.

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Morning came much too quickly, it seemed like. Before we knew it the 5:30 alarm went off and it was time to get up and go fishing, but not before a breakfast of scrambled eggs and waffles, prepared by Cindi. Here a sleepy eyed Danielle seems amazed that I would even think of taking her picture this early in the morning, while behind her Dr. Martin and Chery enjoy their hurried breakfast.

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More wide awake now, Sarah and Danielle load up the trunk of their car with supplies and gear we will take to the dock to load onto our charter boat. The rest of us will walk, taking the pedestrian tunnel under the train tracks.

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While waiting for our boat to be readied I took a stroll around the harbor and snapped this early morning scene. Prince William sound lies on the far side of the rock jetty in the distance.

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Now that Danielle is more wide awake, she becomes a willing subject for my camera lens. Here she replays a scene from the movie “Titanic” as we leave the Whittier harbor on our charter boat named”Eye Of The Storm”.

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As we travel further into Prince William Sound many of us gather in the aft section of the boat to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful Alaska scenery. Here Laurie smile for my camera as we pass near a small island.

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Bill, too, preferred fresh and scenery air to a nice warm cabin. He and his wife, Dawn, didn’t spend the night in Whitter, but instead  left very early in the morning to make the two hour drive from their home in Wasilla.

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Bill’s lovely wife Dawn, on the other hand, much preferred catching up on some sleep on our journey into Prince William Sound, finding a comfortable spot inside of the boat to rest her head and eyes for a while. 

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Sarah and Danielle, spent some time both inside of the boat, and outside of it. Danielle will deliver her baby, a son, in November.

Sarah clowns with the camera as she warms up a little before going back outside to stand in the rain while watching the scenery pass by.

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It wasn’t really warm on our fishing trip, far from it, I guess, and we were all bundled up accordingly. But that didn’t stop us from having fun. Chery stands with the wind in her face and a row of halibut fishing rods at her back as we pass through yet more small islands in Prince William Sound.

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Danielle, after leaving the warmth of the cabin, enjoys some camaraderie and clowning around with Cindi.

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The waters of Prince William Sound were far from being with boats on Sunday but we did see a few others besides ours. Here a commercial fishing boat heads towards the small island in the distance. 

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Sarah enjoys fresh ocean breeze, giving one of her co-workers a nice smile as they converse on the rear deck of the Eye Of The Storm.

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This is Scott, our deck hand for the day. This isn’t Scott’s normal job. In real life he’s the Public Works Director for the city of Whittier. He was only helping out on Sunday because Captain Dave’s grandson, the usual deck hand, wanted a day off.

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Our normal rigging for Halibut fishing on Sunday. A colorful jig with a very large hook, two or three pounds of lead weight, a nice sized Herring, and a whole Squid. Not for the squeamish, I guess, but luckily none of our party was squeamish, not even the women.

Jeff looks pretty serious as he fishes for halibut off the bow of the Eye Of The storm. Rain gear was the item of the day since it rained nearly the entire time we were on the water. And gloves, too, since it tended to be a bit chilly if the wind picked up.

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After Dawn awakened from her nap she became a bit troubled by motion sickness, but that only lasted a short while and before long she was outside, ready to take on the fish, the waves and the weather.

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My pretty wife Becky, still smiling even though she too was having some motion sickness issues. It turned out to be nothing real serious however,  and she ended up having a fun day right along with the rest of us. 

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Cindi fished from the back of the boat much of the time. Here she is trying to land a nice halibut with a light weight fishing rod. Try as she might though she couldn’t get the critter much closer than 40 feet from the surface. Eventually she asked Bill to remove the tip portion of the rod and was able to finally land the fish using only the butt portion.

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Becky took this picture of me as I reeled in my only halibut of the day, a small one. I caught several other species of fish, however. By the time I went to be on Sunday night my left shoulder pretty sore from reeling in line from 200 plus feet and jigging with 2 and three pound weights.

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Laurie had a heck of a time hooking a fish if she had a bite. No matter what she did it seemed the fish always threw the hook and stole her bait. Finally though, she did everything right and landed this nice yellow eye. Needless to say she was very excited about landing her first fish and you can see it in her eyes here.

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Dr. Martin jigs for halibut during a rain squall. He is a expert fisherman but on Sunday his main concern was for his staff and making sure they were all having fun even when weren’t catching fish.

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Cindi dangles her green fishing jig over the side of the boat for a few minutes as shes enjoys a lollipop. Now that I think back over yesterday’s events it seems to me that every time I looked at her she had one of the suckers in her hand or in her mouth. 

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Because the weather was looking a little bad, Captain Dave decided to stop at a small lodge to pick up a little more fuel for the boat. This unexpected delay turned out to be one of the highlights of our day. The lodge is located on an island with beautiful surroundings and lush green forest.

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Sarah and Dawn return from a tour of the lodge, which is in the process of being remodeled. Far below them Danielle, Cind and Jeff investigate a large school of pink salmon close by the shore line. Thousands of migrating fish come here every year to receive food as they travel towards their final destinations. 

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Laurie and Bill stand by as Dr. Martin  chats with the owner of the lodge.

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This old boat shed near the lodge was originally built in the mid-1800′s to as part of a nearby salmon cannery. In this photo a pink salmon leaps out of the water in its reflection. 

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Danielle, Cindi and Jeff enjoy viewing the large school of pink salmon gathered in the water near their feet. If you look closely you’ll be able to see the backs and fins of the salmon.

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Another view of Danielle, Cindi, and Jeff standing near the feeding salmon, whose fins are easier to see in this picture. Not only are there salmon here, but the lodge owner said there are six or seven black bears who come daily to the waters edge to catch salmon.

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 Danielle and Sarah in the stern of our boat for the day “The Eye Of The Storm. A very nice and comfortable boat powered by (3) three-hundred horsepower outboard motors. We were all very pleased with our charter and would recommend Eye Of  The Storm and Captain Dave to any of our friends.

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Dawn and Bill pose for a photo at the lodge just before we board the boat for just just a little more fishing before heading back to Whittier. In the background to the right is the old boathouse and fur further back is another lodge which I am not familiar with and, unfortunately, did not take the time to inquire about.

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Chery looks through a rain covered window of our boat while it’s tied to the dock at the lodge. Soon we will all board and our return trip to Whittier.

As we departed I managed to get this one shot of the lodge and the beautiful forest covered hillside it sits on.

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Nearby the lodge sits this interesting old pier and dilapidated building. I’m assuming that these too were once a part of the Salmon Canning industry in Alaska.

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Before we made our final run back to Whittier we stopped once more to fish, and to give Dave and Scott time to fillet and bag our fish, some of which can be seen here as they lie in the fish box built into the deck.

Almost finished, Captain Dave makes the finishing cuts on a rockfish before putting the fillet into a plastic bag. He and Scott made quick work of this messy job, leaving us only to place the bags on ice before we returned to Wasilla.

Since Chery caught the biggest halibut she received the honor of having her picture taken with it. It was a bit heavier than she could lift so Scott was more than willing to help her out.

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When we reached Whittier we had only 18 minutes to make it back to the single lane tunnel for the 8 p.m. exit. While Cindi ran back to the campground to get the motor home the rest of us carried our gear and fish up from the boat, placing it beside the road so we could quickly load it up when Cindi arrived. As we waited Becky got a little chilly so Dr. Martin wrapped his raincoat over her shoulders to help keep her warm and they clowned around a bit while I took pictures. Cindi at last came into view and we quickly threw everything inside the motor home, driving quickly towards the tunnel entrance. We made it with  one minute and thirty-seven seconds to spare…an exciting end to and exciting and beautiful day.

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Here are a few links to subjects mentioned in the above  photo story:

Valley Chiropractic – Wasilla, Alaska

Whittier, Alaska

Whittier Tunnel

The Anchor Inn

Eye Of The Storm Charter Boat

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Please click here if you’d like to leave a comment about this story. :)

 

Saving Spuds

A little war in my potato patch

A few days ago, as I was checking out my potato plants, I noticed that many of them were severely damaged. Leaves had been eaten away as well as stems. It honestly looked as though they had been raped and pillaged by a wandering band of vikings.

I was pretty upset. I’d grown those potato plants from seed spuds and I’d been kind of proud of how good they were doing out in my little garden. And now they were looking devastated and destroyed, almost lifeless.

When I told Becky about my problem she went right to Home Depot looking for a solution. The lady who helped her seemed to know exactly what was destroying my plants…and what to do about it.

“Thrips!” she said. Central Alaska has had an invasion of  Thirps this year and they’re hitting everyone who likes to grow things. She said to spray everything with soapy water and that should get rid of the Thirps.

Well, Becky brought home a bottle of Dawn dishwashing soap & I immediately mixed up a nice batch of soapy water then sprayed the dickens out of anything that was green and growing.

“There! That oughta take care of there there little Thirps!” I told Becky when I went back inside for the evening.

But the next morning, when I went outside, my potato plants looked even worse, even more or their leaves were missing…important parts, too.

“What the heck!” I muttered to myself.

So I hurried into my studio & looked up Thirps on the Internet. They were ornery little rascal OK.  And they sure could do damage to plants by the looks of the pictures I was looking at.

Trouble was, the damage they did just didn’t look anything like the damage being done to my plants.

Hmmmmm, something wasn’t right here.

I went back out to my garden, got down on my knees, and looked very, very closely at my potato plants, looking for the culprit who was eating them.

But I found nothing. I didn’t even see a spider. Not even a mosquito.

So this morning I got out of bed at 5 a.m., just before sunrise, & went out there with a little flashlight, thinking maybe the damage was being done at night, as I slept.

Bending over, peering at that little circle of light through sleepy eyes, I was startled by what I saw. 

It was one of those rare ”Ah Haa” moments for me.

“Ah Haa!” I shouted out.

Slugs!! All over my potatoe plants. Dozens, maybe hundred of them.

“You little buggers! I’ll fix you!” I said, running back to the house for a salt shaker.

I killed a lot of them in the next few minutes, but I was pretty  sure the war was far from over. I still had work to do and battle plans to make.

Putting first things first I spent the remainder of the morning weeding and cleaning up the garden, trying to make it less hospitable for slugs.

Now I have a really nice looking potato patch, if you don’t look to closely, & try to ignore the plants that have slug damage. But I think, if I was a slug, it wouldn’t look too inviting anymore. It’s too clean, with not enough places to hide out during the daylight hours.

I know I’ve not completely won the war against slugs, yet, and that more of them will come, continuing their attacks on my potatoes, but at least I know now who the enemy is and what he looks like, and I’ll be out in my garden early every morning from now on.

Salt shaker in hand. 

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This is what those stupid slugs did to my precious potato plants as I slept at night. Hopefully, now that I know what to fight against, new leaves will form to replace the damaged ones.

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My potato plants after I’d finished weeding and cleaning the area up. Well, almost finished. The lawn wasn’t quite mowed when I took this. The boards are there to fool slugs. They will suppose it is a safe place to hide during the day. But I will know better than them because I am smarter. I will just lift the boards and squash them!

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There was some encouragement for me as I fought the slug war this morning. I really got excited when I accidentally unearthed these beauties as I was weeding. Aren’t they purty, though! We’re gonna have potatoes yet. I just know it.

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A real photo studio experience

A photo shoot with my grandsons

I knew the grand kids were spending Saturday night with us (all except Destiny who is feeling well), so I spent the day planning out a picture I wanted to take of Dalton and Brylan in my studio. I had a great pose in mind, one I thought would be easy for them to pull off together, and in my minds eye I could see it being a wonderful portrait of them, showing the wonderful brotherly love that they share with each other.

I had my light and background all set up by the time they arrived and I had already spent some time making sure my exposure was correct. Everything was well planned out, I thought.

But I forgot that boy will be boys and after I had them in my studio only a couple of minutes I realized that my vision of the perfect portrait was not to be.

Dalton understood my posing instructions fairly well, although he insisted on ad libbing the first few times I tried to adjust his position or posture, and his smile was purposely forced and exaggerated, but I could live with that because I felt I could control it long enough to get  just one good picture.

Brylan, on the other hand, seemed not to understand my instructions at all, and in fact would do just the opposite of what I said to him. If I asked him to turn his head and not his shoulders he moved his shoulders and not his head. When I said be happy and smile he scowled. If I told him to look at the camera he would look at Dalton.

It wasn’t long before I broke into a sweat. Finally, I gave up on my originally planned pose, deciding to just take the picture “Au Natural”, letting them just be boys, taking whatever I could get.

I still tried giving them advice and suggestions, of course, and sometimes they actually seemed to be trying to help me out, but mostly they did there own thing, causing me to be quick on the shutter release button. Luckily I’d decided to hand hold my camera and do away with my tripod for this session. It’s a good thing, too, because the action was fast. It was hard to keep them in my viewfinder even without a having the camera tethered to a tripod.

Brylan quickly became tired of the whole deal after only a few shots, I found myself promising him impossible things if only he’d let me take a few more pictures. That worked a couple of times but I finally realized our photo shoot was over and told him he could go back into the house and let grandma take off his new shirt before he got it dirty.

Well, he didn’t want to go back into the house & actually seemed hurt that grandpa was trying to get rid of him. so, I told him he could stay and asked if he wanted me to take another picture of him.

A big smile and a nodding head got him back under the lights and in front of the camera. That’s when I got the best picture, the one below.

It seemed to me that the simple photo shoot I’d planned took much longer than I’d expected and to tell the truth I was sweating profusely when we finally called it a wrap.

Actual real time?  Probably15 or twenty minutes, and I’d only taken 17 photographs, many of which were severely underexposed because the action was happening so rapidly that my flash didn’t have enough time to re-cycle between shots.

I finally sent the boys back into the house to change their clothes then wiped the sweat from my face with a towel.

Whew! That was actually a lot of work! 

I never did even come close to getting the shot I’d been planning all day long, either. Maybe another time.

And maybe not.

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This photo of Brylan (left) and Dalton, taken in my studio yesterday afternoon, made my efforts worthwhile. The boys were a lot of fun to work with even though their rambunctiousness made grandpa sweat a great deal during the photo session. But their smiles are contagious aren’t they? We’ll do it again someday.