Thursday, April 30, 2009

Return of the gulls.


Spring is funny in the arctic. I mean, you know it's coming, but it takes forever to get here. The days slowly trudge by on the calendar. Then April comes and the days are getting longer. It's light out at 10pm so you know it's spring, but your still freezing your ass off at the dog races. And then one day you wake up and it's like someone has switched on the thermostat and everything starts dripping. For me, the ultimate sigh of relief is the return of the gulls. They arrived a couple days ago.

I may be singing a different tune later on this summer when they are stealing my fish and crapping on my head, but for now I am rejoicing in their return.

We are gaining over 8 minutes of light a day.

It may be 38F degrees now but it got to 40 degrees today!!! I had the window or the door to the office open all day. I was sitting at my desk listening to the seagulls screech and the water drip.

The forecast looks great and I'm looking forward to doing some fishing before the ice gets funny. I haven't seen many people out on the ice after work.

Usually there are more people out there like this bunch of fishing fools from last year. It must mean the sheefish aren't biting close to town yet. Maybe this weekend.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If You Can't Beat It, Blog It!


I think I have the swine flu, or the bird flu or the hippo flu or something. I'm still sick. I started to feel a bit better today but I think it is getting worse again and starting to spread to my lungs and the fever has come back.

Buy you can only stay in bed so long before you start to get crazy so I decided to take a ride around town and check out the water situation. This is the road my office is on. Ironically it is called Lake St.

The water doesn't bother kids any.

It's just something to play in.

The snow is steadily melting....

...but it is nowhere near even half gone yet.

And it's going to be a few more weeks before the gravel melts enough to allow the water to start slowly draining away.

The pumps are working overtime....

....but there are not enough pumps to go around.

Most of the roads look like this.

Some are worse than others.

Uyaana really wanted me to drive through this one but it looked DEEP.

He walked into it to show me it wasn't so deep.

He had to turn back because it was too deep for his boots.

Spring is not pretty in town.

It's all dirty snowbanks and mud.

It reveals 200 days worth of windblown trash from bags broken open by ravens and loose dogs.

This is the edge of the Swan Lake Lagoon. This is one of the places they have been dumping the snow they scoop out of town.

Another pump. This one is pumping out part of the hospital parking lot.

The hose crosses the street and empties into the lagoon.

Here is the honeybucket sucker sucking the puddles all over town. When it is full they dump it out onto the ice.

And here is my lovely mucky road.....but I"M NOT COMPLAINING....remember?

You know, ever since I froze my 18-200mm VR lens it doesn't seem to be taking very good photos. Either that or I am just used to looking at how great the 70-200mm f2.8 VR looks.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Too Nice Out to be Sick

So this is the first beautiful, warm (36F degrees), sunny day of spring and I am too sick to enjoy it. I just thought I would check in and say hello and let everybody know I haven't forgotten you all. Hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow, but for now I'm going back to bed.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Slop Happy


Here's 3rd Ave. The only road in town that doesn't have a least until you get to the Boys and Girls Club. Sometime during the first couple weeks of March, after the 11th blizzard in three weeks I prayed "Lord, please hurry up and send Spring. I promise I won't complain about the mess!".

Here is the lake by the Boys and Girls club.

It stretches all the way across the road.

And it is deep.

As you can see from the piles of snow we have just barely started melting. It is going to get so much worse before it gets better.....

...but I'm NOT complaining.

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful....

...and I shan't complain.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Classy Dude


Kotzebue has three Alaska airlines flights a day. The afternoon and evening flights are a usually 737-400 Combi like the one in this picture that I got from Combi's have 72 seats and a dedicated forward compartment for cargo, therefor there is no first class section. The morning flight is sometimes a regular 737-400 with a fist class section.

Uyaana and I flew to Anchorage on Wednesday (we'll be here til Saturday evening). Because I am MVP on Alaska Airlines I can upgrade to first class. Since Uyaana was coming with I upgraded him as well. This was his first time in first class. He thought he was hot stuff.

He was very impressed with breakfast. He asked me what it was and told him it was a tomato basil quiche. He said "YUMMMM!!!!" Now this is a kid who wouldn't normally touch anything called "tomato basil quiche" but because it was served in first class he said it was "the best breakfast EVER".

"Look mom, we get REAL glasses!"


Thursday, April 23, 2009



How deep is your ice, is your ice, how deep is your ice la la la la la la .......

Here is Chad good-naturedly drilling one of five holes in the ice so a bunch of us could hook for sheefish while waiting for the snogo racers to come back from Noorvik.

I took these photos so that people who don't know could see how deep our ice gets. This is brackish water ice. It is a mix of ocean water and water from the Kobuk and Noatak Rivers.

Upriver the ice can get so thick that you need a 6-8 inch extension for your auger.

This auger doesn't have an extension on it, and he just barely got the hole drilled.

After drilling down for a while you have to pull your auger up enough to empty the hole of ice shavings and then go back down for more drilling.

Almost there.......

Got it! Once the augur goes through to the other side you pull it up in a rush of water.

Here's the water coming up out of the hole.