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Last Updated: 1:33 PM GMT on May 17, 2013
— Last Comment: 2:27 PM GMT on May 21, 2013
|Posted by: joealaska, 8:24 AM GMT on January 30, 2012
A couple of nights ago we had a real blizzard. Big wet snow flakes all night. It was predicted, but I pay little attention. When I wake up during the night, it is dead quiet. The Dutch Hum is missing. And no wind. But I knew it was bad when I was wakened by DUTCHIE pawing the window trying to grab snowflakes.
We had a 6 AM delivery that morning, and it was lucky we got it done. Half my crew got stuck on the way to work. This was heavy wet snow, slushy heavy. Hard to shovel. I went out to the Tahoe and knew there was Trubba. A two foot drift was where there was nothing 8 hours earlier. I figured I could get out, WRONG. I did the rocking thing. GNU guy showed up (I was giving him a ride), and he did a bit of shoveling. But all I needed was a gentle push.
People were stuck everywhere. Like my main warehouse guy. But we were too busy to send someone to pull him out. Eventually I went to get him. I had a shovel and a heavy strap. We did a little shoveling and hooked up that strap. The wet snow was very heavy, almost like water.
A big snow shovel rig was plowing the street. The guy saw our predicament and came up and plowed as close as he could. Then he stopped and let us tie the strap up to his rig. It broke very quickly. But he had a thicker strap. We tried again, and he got the van out.
It was a major snow removal effort that day. But there were few places to put it. Piles of old snow were everywhere. And it got warmer. It has been below 20 since I got back from sunny Florida. Now it was at 40. The typical Dutch Major Melt ensued. The first time this year I saw pavement.
My Chow Porch was under 2 to 3 feet of snow a couple days ago. It is now all gone.
Dutchie has not been outside for about 7 weeks. She screams wanting to go out, and I open a window (as a joke), and she slinks away.
STUPID ME, I thought today would be an easy day. YEAH. I was woke up at 7 AM telling me there would be a delivery at NOON. Glad they did not call at 4 AM, I guess.
I was at my place until about 10:30 thinking it was a light day WRONG. One big order for 10 PM, then another for 6 PM. Then 9 PM. Stuff we had top spend time pulling. EVERYONE wanted fresh produce. But we had just filled a large order of produce, so we were already low. And everyone wanted the same stuff we just ran out of. Frustrating.
The Perfect Storm. By coincidence I am watching that movie as I write.
I was there until 9:30.
Sorry about the few photos and blogs. Right now I am just doing what I get paid to do.
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|Posted by: joealaska, 6:32 AM GMT on January 24, 2012
I have only been here four years, almost, but the recent weather here has been UNIQUE.
Non stop brutal.
Yesterday and today we had 70 mph winds. It was 15 degrees. I do not have my wind chill table handy, but I believe that makes the ambient temperature -202. I could be wrong, but it feels cold. We are not used to THIS cold up here.
That plate of ice is still around, like my driveway. 3 days ago we 6 inches of new fluff. I drove in and out a couple times, and walked on the driveway. NOW the wind has scoured all that snow away off the drive. Except for the tire tracks and footprints where that soft snow was compressed a bit. Reverse print of a sort.
I moved the weather module into the bedroom so I can check out in real time what that gust was that woke me up and scattered the cats.
Yesterday my boss called when it was still dark in the morning. He asked about the weather and I told him trubba. I glanced out the window. Normally I can see (at least) the lights on the road and bridge below, as well as at Unisea. At that moment it was a big blank black void. Whiteout in the dark.
One boat had an engine fire last week. They were about 100 miles off shore. They lost all power, the engine room is charcoal. That boat sits at Magone Marine for repairs. Looking at 3 weeks. I am surprised the boat is not heading south to do that.
That crew stayed on the boat for a few days. It was cold. We rounded up a butane burner for them to cook on. The boat had no power. Half the crew was sent home. This means they make no money. Then the crew was put up at The Grand Aleutian.
So yesterday, as The Patriots were coming back and winning against The Ravens, I was arranging another pizza run for the crew. The pizza place somehow forgot the order ($300), so my driver was waiting for about an hour and a half to pick up and deliver it.
Meanwhile, I got a call from the second boat. The boat I had finally gotten a ride on last year. My friend was on the line, the cook on the vessel. The Steward. He said they just had an engine fire TOO. These are sister ships in the same company. Save your comments. This is a well run company that is having some bad luck. BAD coincidence.
They had their fire as they were near the spit and heading to dock. They almost ran aground. Again, they were also out of power. I heard some water got in the breaker room, and all the electric CRAP shorted out. I hate to get technical.
I was at the boat within an hour of the fire. I picked up the cook as he jumped from the ice encrusted vessel. Got it on video. I helped him look for a rental vehicle. OH. There were severe whiteouts at the time. As I went to City Dock to pick him up I got caught in one. There was a 30 foot wide one-foot high drift near the airport. Where the wind runs down the runway unimpeded.
It piles up locally. Fun when it appears out of nowhere in the whiteness.
After I picked him up we headed to OSI Dock where he thought they had a rental vehicle.
On the way, again by the airport, it was white chaos. I was driving off the road, risking getting stuck in the plow berm. I had to stop completely at one point. Waiting for some clear vision. Waiting for someone to run into me. Not sure of the lane I was in. It cleared up and there was a fuel tanker about 100 feet ahead of me. Heading the same direction, also just getting under way.
We got to OSI. The rental was in the shop. Turned around and went back to the airport. There are a couple of rental companies based there. They post a 24 hour phone number. Neither answered.
I offered to lend him our van for the night. DONE.
Meanwhile, the pizza pick up had become debaclous. The cook with me mentioned his sister ship was at Magone Dock. I thought it was at OSI, where we would deliver. We went to The Grand Aleutian to find the other cook / steward. We knew his room number.
When we got there, the door was open. The TV was on. And unoccupied. Except for the cow, but that will be covered in HANGOVER 3.
We went downstairs and found him at the front desk. He was in the process of paying for 12 meals from the buffet. To go. I guess he forgot ordering all those pizzas.
The 2nd cook had hungry crew, so he took the pizzas.
I took both cooks to the warehouse. Gave one our van, took the other, and all his carryout food, to the first boat. There was a ladder laying between the boat and dock. Laying on the ice. He went down it. I would not, but I did not have to. THANK GOD.
The food was in one big box. Maybe 30 pounds. He was down in the boat, and I was lowering the food. I set that box on the ladder and slowly slid it down. No alliteration intended.
My mind raced back to that episode where I lost all that Deadliest Catch footage to the briney deep a couple years ago. Same situation. Blowing wind. Ice and snow. Gap between boats. And I told him that story as I lowered the box.
We got her done.
The weather today was a bit worse. Constant wind.
New Alaska stuff in the media. A movie actually filmed in Alaska about Alaska. Remember those whales caught in the ice YEARS ago near Nome? The locals cut holes in the ice to let them come up and breathe? It was big news around the world. I was in the lower 48 somewhere and remeber it. Long before I moved here. Well, it was made into a movie. Soon to be released.
Also, something about BERING SEA GOLD. Gold mining by The Bering.
The second boat now has power, but will be here awhile for repairs.
Big gusts right NOW.
I keep getting questions about barbecuing in Dutch. YES, I use a lighter. The secret is to saturate a piece of paper from the charcoal bag in lighter fluid. Light that on top of the also saturated charcoal and you have a bonfire in seconds. The 70 mph wind helps. The real challenge is the in-process seasoning. You MUST account for the wind. Careful positioning of the wrist, blocking the wind, is KEY. Allow for the wind, and shake away.
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|Posted by: joealaska, 6:07 AM GMT on January 21, 2012
We had a busy day today, as Friday usually is. But this will probably be the slowest Friday until May. We only had one container today, and I will not even see it until tomorrow morning. Late again, just like last week. No blaming the freight company. It is Alaska. The arrival of that boat sets the short term parameters we get to work within. This weekend everything is skewed backward a day or so. The good news is there are no boats waiting for food. That will change very soon.
Next week : 4 containers. More than that will happen shortly. This week most of the big boats have come thru town. But they are packed with supplies. No big orders from us yet. But they ALL return in a couple weeks. And they ALL will need product.
This morning I knew we had gotten snow when I woke up and it was so QUIET outside. 6 new inches of powder smoothed out the recent melt. Brown was popping out again with the big melt until last night, when it was all white again.
Today a lot melted again. But it was still an ice plate underneath.
I pulled off the road on my way home to try to catch that huge dark cloud just offshore moving in. A new storm with big wet snow flakes. Tried to film the obscured sun and incoming cloud all at once. Not sure if I got what I wanted, yet.
Then I tried to leave...Trubba. I was going to have to back out of the driveway I was in, up a slight hill. I knew it was slick, and I would have to gun it to get out. Traffic was actually heavy for a town this size. So I wisely chose to turn around. I cannot even remember how, but I got off the driveway by about a foot. There was a slight indentation onto the flat ground. And before I knew it I was stuck. Just unable to get any traction on that ice. I got out and looked. It did not LOOK like I was stuck. And I thought I could get out eventually by the rocking back and forth method. Tried and true.
Wrong sir. I tried for a half hour, and it only got worse. A hundred cars passed by within 100 feet on the main road, many saw me. I was not waving for help, and nobody offered. Just when I was about to call one of my guys for help, someone pulled in to help me out. Two young guys with a local company. They attached a thick rope to my vehicle and yanked me out. But when I tried to slowly leave, the Tahoe was intent on following that old rut back into trouble. I was not as stuck as before, but it was all happening again. They two guys got out and pushed, and it all worked out.
Talked to a guy from Baranof. Sounds like it was just a stupid accident. The radar was out on a relatively clear day. The Captain got distracted. When he looked up the rocks were right there. An inspection of the hull revealed two 14 inch cracks. They were repaired. Not a big deal, but it could have been. Those cracks were right by the fuel tanks. No fuel leaked, thus the no big deal. But if there WAS a leak, it would have been a whole different issue. The boat will be leaving tonight or tomorrow to go fishing.
Our good friends on Glacier Bay returned abruptly last night. Another boat with an engine fire. A bad one (versus a good one) but nobody got hurt. The boat lost power and was helped back to Dutch. Will visit them tomorrow and hear the story. They arrived late last night. I got the call. They were HUNGRY. The stove and ovens were not working. Dry cereal gets a bit old I guess. So we ordered pizzas from a local restaurant. The first place I called was already closed. The second place only had enough stuff for 7 pizzas. The boat wanted 10. So I made a management decision and got a few appetizers. They were very happy.
The boat will be evaluated and repaired if possible. My bet is it will return to Seattle, just like Alaskan Leader last season.
I was able to get a nice tour of Healy when it was here. That bridge is the most impressive I have seen. VERY wide. The photo Arbie posted shows that bank of machines. But there is another bank just as long on the opposite side. With a wide walkway between that and the window.
There is no problem with taking photos of Renda. But there is a definite issue with boarding it and mingling with the crew. They need visas to debark. It is basically a small RUSSIA floating there. Only the Coast Guard will board it.
ME, I just do not see the threat of an attack via the arctic. At least by water or land. Sure, maybe by air, and no billion dollar icebreaker will stop that. I personally think that money is well saved and should be invested in any other method of defense. The good old days of crashing any border are gone. At least in the USA. It will not be by infantry but by missiles launched from thousands of miles away on a Dell. And the best defense will be sent the same way from here.
NOBODY is thinking invasion from the Arctic. It is not a secret being broken. It would just be stupid. Here in Dutch we may see a nice contrail from an ICBM, and I will get that photo. And hopefully a follow-up of the interception. Russia as a threat? Not so much.
But we have beets if they succeed.
Yak Tracks are good when you only walk ice. But I have had issues when walking on vessels with smooth steel floors. As well as smooth concrete.
We are pretty well knowledgeable about snow in Alaska. NO SAND. But they use plenty of gravel. Over and over.
YES, ALWAYS looking forward to my next vacation. May or June, based around a family reunion. It will be combined with a road trip. Again with The Plains as well as the upper Midwest.
REALLY looking forward to it, a bit too early...
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|Posted by: joealaska, 4:16 AM GMT on January 18, 2012
Our Friday boat was late. Pretty common right now. It normally starts unloading at 7 AM Friday. Today it would be 9 PM. Weather had delayed the arrival.
We would get our first containers around midnight, and the last around 4 AM. And one of our customers made it clear they were waiting for our freight to leave. They knew the boat was late, and were OK with that. But they wanted that freight.
I volunteered a couple of our guys to arrive at 4:30 AM. The wind was blowing and sleet was going (on). I was up at 4AM dealing with the phones.
Something happened, as usual. That boat was still here at 6 PM. It was unexpected, but it turns up we were up too early...
Recently everyone was removing snow. Big piles everywhere. Even today I saw front loaders taking it away. But it is melting. Temps around 38 the last few days. Hold off on the snow removal, it will be water in a couple days. But the thinking is what if another storm hits...
The roads are fine. But our freight yard is a huge plate of ice. And wet. As well as my driveway.
One of my employees fell three times as he walked through the yard to his home 5 minutes up the hill. When I drove through the yard, I did not notice I was in a full slide sideways until it was too late. I was going 5 mph. And the result was nothing. It is a big yard.
But driving into my driveway was a bit more troublesome. The last 100 feet are uphill. And I have to slow down at the beginning, at the curve. It is a challenge to turn into my driveway. Just as I arrive, I start to lose traction. I got stuck in a simple area. Just wet ice. I was halfway in the road. It took a few minutes of micro-positioning to get up into my driveway. Back and forth a bunch.
There is a decent amount of falling ice coming off all the roofs here. Especially the metal roofs.
Each roof has metal ridges going up and down the entire surface. Ice forms, and eventually melts. Usually the sun comes out and warms that metal roof just a bit. The ice thaws and releases from the roof. Then it slides down and off. Sometimes it is a chunk at a time, sometime it is a 30 foot ribbon of ice all at once. And SOMETIMES the vibration starts the whole mess dropping at once. I have to wonder if anybody has gotten hurt, or worse. Yesterday I walked in
to the car repair place. I had to step over a pile of ice chunks that were all along the front of the building. BIG chunks. I would guess some were 20 or 25 LBS. They fell from a roof 20 feet above. My buddy inside said they all fell at once. I have experienced that noise at our warehouse. It is a roar that lasts about 15-20 seconds.
There are signs posted on a few buildings around town...BEWARE OF FALLING ICE. Most of the time, 99.999%, they are just a waste of space. But for those rare few minutes, they are very important. Just like TSUNAMI ESCAPE ROUTE.
Hope to have a response from my email to Healy when I go in tomorrow.
Happy 70th Muhammad Ali (another Louisville Boy).
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|Posted by: joealaska, 9:04 AM GMT on January 15, 2012
Weather is still an issue, just not critical.
That ice storm of last Tuesday is finally over, at least the effects. I now have a view, as the ice on my window has finally melted. The bad news is, the view of my Captains Bay window is TRUBBA. My dual pane window has become unsealed. Condensation has formed inside the dual panes. Never to leave. Like looking through wax paper. My landlord agrees, but it is winter in Dutch. Hopefully I will have a view for next Summer.
That ice storm was unique, even for here. I parked my vehicle in the WRONG direction. The windshield was covered in a quarter inch of ice PLATE. Clear and hard. It LAUGHED at my scraper. No effect. Needed a hammer. I sat in the car for an hour and used the phone, until it loosened up. Then I used the sharp tip of the scraper to pick at the ice. I was worried I would crack the window, but it was all OK. I cracked off most of it and drove to work. I removed the rest of it almost two days later.
Walking was treacherous, even on flat ground. Baby steps was the requirement. Still no guarantees.
My stairs had 4 inches of forward sloping ice the last couple days. The door in front is still blocked by a 6 inch slap of solid ice. But now it is melting.
The last day we have been around 40 degrees as the bananas come to bloom. Suddenly we go from ice to water and slush. I was paying 300 bucks an hour for snow removal the last few days, now it is a lake. My porch was deep in snow, covering my Smokey Joe (easy UK). Now it is almost bare.
I finally dragged out the CHOW PORCH a couple days ago. Just to get rid of the cobwebs. It was for a fat friendly cat that was more than happy to chow on stale kibble. Wonder if THAT is illegal?
Later that evening I walked out there and was surprised to see a nice healthy golden fox which was just as surprised. Gone in a few seconds, not interested in chow. The recent deep snow has shown signs of fox activity. Tracks in the morning snow.
The bad weather has even shut down DUTCHIE, Queen of The Temperat Tundra. Wind and rain, she screams for egress. Snow and ice, she finds refuge in the 56 gallon trash liner I have provided for her pleasure. To each her own. She just went out during the MELT for the first time in about two weeks.
Vacation seems to be in the distant past. I have come back to a few unique projects, stuff I am not used to. But MANAGER means TAKE CARE OF IT. Feeling the pressure pretty early in the season. It still has not really kicked in, probably in two weeks or so. Today our replenishment vessel was very late. Instead of 7AM Friday it was 9 PM. One good customer was waiting for their cargo, so we did our thing. The boat wanted their stuff ASAP. They were ready to leave. It took a lot of coordination with the freight company to get it all straight. I volunteered 2 guys to be in at 5 AM, to deliver it by 6AM.
I was up at 4am working the phones and arranging. Not a lot of sleep before then thinking about it.
Got home at 7 PM.. It was a sleet storm for the early guys. We got it done. That boat was still here at 6 PM, I guess we could have gotten a bit more sleep.
All those flat tires a couple months ago? We got a new set of tires for my vehicle. Today one of the new tires broke a steel belt.
I will email my buddy on Healy and ask what the latest is. The updates everyone has provided has helped me. I wanted to wait until they start off-loading fuel.
Baranof is at Magone dock getting repairs. I have talked with the boat, but the people I know are not there. Still no word on the accident and cause.
So I posted some photos with Shutterstock. They want 10 photos submitted so they can approve the photographer. It took a few hours in our HIGH SPEED DUTCH INTERNET to do so. There is a requirement that all photos must be posted within 21 days. So I really only had a limited supply of photos. And I jumped in, just to test the waters. The results of the photos submitted was NEGATIVE. I needed 7 out of 10 to move on.
Let’s see, out of 10 photos I had ZERO approved. I suck.
It was a lot of the snow photos of recent, as well as an eagle photo and others. They said my WHITE BALANCE was off. As well as other stuff. It made me realize I am just Joe Point and Shoot. And that was it. They are looking for commercial quality. I have submitted nothing re-touched. I guess that is the way to go, whenever I do that.
No big deal. I just do not feel there is enough time right now.
Watching Saturday Night Live. The host came on and I had no idea who he was. Took a half hour to learn he was the Harry Potter guy. Still do not know his name.
I am getting old.
TEBOW!!!??? WO BE (I)T. Maybe BRADY!
WE ALL LOVE FOOTBALL, so you gotta like San Francisco.
I am outta here...
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|Posted by: joealaska, 7:13 AM GMT on January 11, 2012
Weather continues to be a factor. It is affecting how we can do our job. The good news is that only a couple boats are in town. There was no container vessel this last Friday, so there is nothing to be delivered.
Yesterday, Monday, I was told there were warnings to stay home. This is not unusual, and those who CAN stay home. There was not a lot going on with us, but there were a few issues to take care of. It was a struggle to get out of the driveway, but I slid out into the road and headed down the hill.
Right off it was interesting. EVERYTHING was white. The road was white. There were 8-foot walls of plowed snow on each side of the road that were white. AND it was snowing (white), and it was still dark. So I raced at 2 mph down the hill maintaining my bearings by nearby houses.
When I got to work, the snow was pretty deep and unplowed. My assistant got her car stuck in her driveway. She took a cab to work, and the cab would not take her all the way to the stairs up to the dock. She had to break a trail, but got in. It was hard to see stairs that needed to be climbed.
Two other employees were stuck and unable to get in to work. One guy called in and asked to stay home. I took care of some business. One of the local processors needed a small order delivered. I was the guy. There were just 4 cases to deliver, and I fell 3 times as I tried to walk down the stairs carrying one case at a time. No big deal, I just fell into deep snow.
When I tried to deliver I could not pull into the processor, due to the 4 foot berm left by the plows.
The city had literally shut down that day, and only a couple plows were working. So I parked on the road and had to walk over that ridge with the product. I got some help from the customer.
When I left I saw Baranof, a vessel featured many times on this site in photos, on the rocks not far from the road. This was the narrow entrance to Captains Bay. But it is not THAT narrow, and with all the equipment these boats have, there is no good reason to end up there. I am sure there was some failure of equipment. Sooner or later I will get the real story, as I know those guys. It is a well run vessel. Weather was bad, but more so for cars and not the boats.
I had to seek a place to pull off the road (that damn berm again) but I did and got some pictures. Two tugboats were on the scene, and in just a short time they pulled the boat off the rocks. Pretty uneventful. Baranof went to Crowley Dock and sits there pending an investigation.
Meanwhile the temps rose from the low 20s which we had seen for the last week, rising to 35 Monday afternoon. The big melt. It was needed to stabilize the snow. There is snow EVERYWHERE, piled up by plows. It will be here until June. There is nowhere to put it. The guy who works the freight yard where I work said the CORPORATION likes to bill him for STORAGE when the snow is piled up. When it is dry snow, it blows everywhere, even after being plowed and “removed”. It comes back. Well, when it melts a bit, even a little, it freezes back when the night comes around (it is 21 again right now). Now it is icier and just sits there. GOOD, because it has been 50 mph winds ALL DAY, starting late last night. Most of my windows are victim of an ice storm, PLATED in ice. No vision is possible. No views.
I did not leave my place today. VERY RARE.
It was my “day off” but it was a busy day on the phone. Big day tomorrow.
RENDA and HEALY will get the job done. It is just a matter of when.
I got a nice note regarding my FLAT STANLEY submission. They discussed it for 3 days!
I will be using SHUTTERSTOCK to post and sell photos. Will probably try others. Just testing the waters. My name is, as usual, JOE ALASKA. I was ready to pull out the old favorites, but then I saw they only want stuff from the last three weeks. Have not posted anything yet.
Stumbled on a public TV special on Costa Rica. Awesome wildlife and plants. Not a lot of very rich or very poor people. No army. ZIP LINES! It sounded pretty good. The next show on the channel was about Billy The Kid. Lots of good stuff in New Mexico, home of CASA. He called last night and he is doing well. His company is painting the interior of two water pipes 1100 feet long and 8 feet in diameter at a power plant. I like to call him and disguise my voice (ineffectively) and ask for a quote to paint my window sills in my bathroom. I WANT THEM SCRAPED AND PRIMED!! He told me about a big storm that came through over the holidays, a couple feet of snow.
Big snow? How about Cordova, Alaska? I heard 15 feet. Kodiak. Homer. BIG WINTER.
YLEE, thanks for the BBQ backup.
Arbie, that subsistence issue is highly abused as far as I can see. People who have no NEED applying. I am not talking about Native Americans.
BULL, -51 in Bettles? Ouch. I landed in Allakaket when I left Anaktuvuk Pass and it was only
-20. We had to take on some freight, so they opened up the doors for about 15 minutes. NOBODY was dressed for that. It is featured in my book. I have film where we took off with no working heat, an iced windshield, and the pilot watching the edge of the runway to keep us straight. Alaska stuff.
I was in the co-pilot seat, so I had a good view. AHHHHHHHHHH!
TEBOW? I walked in after work and turned on the TV which I own. I only saw the first play of overtime. That was it. The miracle ends this weekend. I know EVERYONE LOVES FOOTBALL, but if you know not of what I speak, google TEBOW and JOHN 3:16. It gets pretty weird.
LS WHO choked on their own puke against Alabama. LOVED IT.
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Updated: 5:39 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
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|Posted by: joealaska, 5:42 AM GMT on January 09, 2012
Have not seen any foxes in awhile. When I see them, I tell you.
Recent local news said there were a sightings of several foxes dragging a trap on its foot. This is a bit upsetting to most tender-hearted people, not to mention the foxes. I saw this once and that was enough. There is a definite line drawn here, trappers on one side and animal lovers on the other. I know for a fact that other folk feed the fox. But that is illegal. Troopers will fine those law breakers. Funny, trapping is just fine and dandy. Trap away. Hopefully the idiots who do not know how to set a trap correctly will not catch your legal pet by mistake.
The State Troopers are asking for people to “trap responsibly.” Me, I want to question WHO is responsible. I have thought about it a lot, knowing I am the law breaker. WHY does someone want to trap a fox? I see no legitimate reason.
The foxes are NOT aggressive in any way. They run when there is a problem. I heard of one fox bite since I have been here, and it involved a camera being shoved in its face. I would have bitten also. The foxes in Dutch live a happy life of 3-5 years. Why not let them become part of the community? Let the locals feed them. What is the problem? Sorry, but BAD laws do exist. Let us feed them like pigeons in New York.
Anyone who comes to my chow porch will be fed, foxes and / or troopers. You are welcome. There is a meeting set for the public to discuss this issue. I hope I can attend.
Thanks for the photos of RENDA breaking through the ice. I thought that RENDA would just follow HEALY. But it appears Healy cuts up the ice all around the RENDA. I guess that is why I am not at the helm. Yet.
The SNOW is the big story here. Last year was snow-lite. Well, this year is making up for it. Add the wind, and it is a never-ending issue. It has snowed almost every day, so it keeps getting higher. But even when it stops, the wind kicks in. The snow is light and gets re-distributed. 3 days ago I had a 4 foot drift along the whole front of the duplex. In one night it disappeared. Yesterday a plow cleared my parking area at the duplex. This morning there was a 2 foot drift right down the middle.
Two nights ago the wind was blowing at 55 mph. It was blowing ice against the house, and it was loud. Today it was dead calm and sunny. Almost cloudless. I wanted to take some late afternoon pics, but the ONLY cloud moved in front of the sun and it changed the nice light.
Posting some photos on the internet for sale. Will see how that goes, anything is better than nothing.
Grilling again tonight. Brats.
24 degrees at 8:40 PM local. WIND, at 1 mph.
Comments For This Post
|Posted by: joealaska, 3:39 AM GMT on January 05, 2012
So RENDA was in town early Tuesday, carrying a decent load of fuel bound for Nome. It stopped in Dutch to FILL ‘ER UP. First it sat in the bay and had an inspection to check whether it was suitable to operate in US waters. It passed. I drove by as it was being pushed into the fuel dock, so I got some quick film to document that.
They were hoping to top off the tanks and depart the same day. But when I arrived at work today, Renda and Healy were still here. Sometime during the middle of the day they were able to leave.
It is a 5 day cruise. 2 days of clear water, 3 days busting ice. Healy will lead the way through the 2 foot thick ice until they reach the greater Nome metro area. There the ice gets thicker, and the water shallower. Everybody expects no problem in transferring the fuel from well offshore.
Renda is no stranger to this area. The vessel is described as a reliable workhorse that gets the job done. It was obvious it had been experiencing some ice prior to its arrival, as the hull was pretty scraped up.
The vessels left today in a nice gale/blizzard/weather mess. Strong winds were blowing the deep snow all around. Hard to tell, but it was probably snowing again also. The wind scours the current drifts into new shapes. And there were periods of real whiteouts. Bad day to drive. I have not seen pavement since I came back to Dutch. The roads are white, and everything else next to the road is white. Throw in some blowing snow and it gets interesting. It is easy to meander off the road, like driving up Haystack. The wind blew a finger from a 7 foot drift across the already narrow road. That finger was just a couple feet high, but it was a real jolt when I blasted right through it. Never saw it.
We provide housing for a couple of our employees. My latest project is trying to exterminate bedbugs which have overridden the place.
There will be a quiz tomorrow.
Have a good evening.
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|Posted by: joealaska, 9:33 AM GMT on January 01, 2012
Happy New Year.
2011 was good, but let’s move on. In 30 minutes, it is NY in NY. New Years in New York. After that, all other time zones get a replay. As always, low key for me. The only night you should NOT go out and party is tonight. Fireworks are scheduled at 11:59. Weather could be a factor. If not, it could be spectacular with all the snow in the background. Haystack Hill is the best view in town. I will take a short walk from halfway up to the summit for my viewing pleasure. Weather permitting.
A great opportunity for film.
You may hear DUTCH in the news this week. Some of you may recall the monster storm that hit western Alaska about a month ago. It went just north of us in Dutch. Well, that storm disrupted barge service to that area. Barges carrying fuel for that LONG winter. Critical fuel.
Not sure how we all got to THIS... But we have a RUSSIAN tanker coming to save the day. The original plan was to stop at Japan for fuel. But weather and LAW changed that. So it went and loaded almost a million gallons of fuel at SOUTH KOREA. Now it is coming to Dutch. It arrives Tuesday (or so) for another 400,000 gallons. FIRST the tanker must pass a test by the US to confirm its ability to operate in US waters safely. (Since the US cannot offer help). There was an exemption with the JONES ACT that allowed the tanker to proceed.
The RENDA, 370 feet in length, will arrive on my day off, and I will document it as best I can.
Once it “Filler ups” it will head north to Barrow. Now it needs help to get through the ice. Our friends at The Healy have been waiting since before I went on vacation. Healy is the ONLY operational ice cutter. They will lead the parade to NW Alaska. The shallow waters will stop the parade about a mile from shore. From there, the fuel will be offloaded via a mile long pipe laid out on top of the ice. Time to sweat it out.
Stay tuned for the outcome.
Florida is just a distant dream. Was I really there? All I have is some receipts to remind me... I did grab a flyer talking about the history of KEY WEST. Good stuff.
Key West was the biggest city in Florida in 1890, and was “richest” city in America. But things went downhill pretty quickly. The city eventually gave up and surrendered its powers. It was bankrupt.
Then there was the hurricane of 1935. Many WW1 veterans were in financial troubles due to the depression. The government offered them jobs to maintain the railroad that went down to Key West.
Everyone knew a hurricane was forming. The government hesitated in sending a train to evacuate, then sent it. It arrived as the hurricane arrived. Lower Matecumbe Key. There were hundreds of people waiting. Just as they were ready to board, a 20 foot wall of water hit the train and passengers. Only the engine remained upright, and the engineer survived. But everyone else died. Nobody knows the numbers. But 40 miles of track were washed away, and the railroad was never rebuilt.
Kentucky won the BIG game in the Bluegrass. Louisville had a surge at the end to make it look close. It was not really that. SOMEONE had to lose. It gets important in a couple months.
Weather is clear right now. Looks good for midnight.
New guy is gone for two weeks again. We were pretty busy today. Looks like it will get crazy soon. Wish I had spent more time in Key West. I did not know the history at that time.
Already I am looking forward to late May.
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