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Last Updated: 4:57 AM GMT on May 23, 2013
— Last Comment: 5:45 PM GMT on May 23, 2013
|Posted by: joealaska, 9:37 PM GMT on February 24, 2012
Tomorrow morning we have 7 container vans to unload on our Friday vessel. The crew is going to be there in about 9 and a half hours. Right now it is a blizzard outside. Blowing snow and sleet that hurts when it hits your face, that blurs when it hits your lens. We tend to have interesting weather on Friday.
Internet is down right now. TV is still OK.
I wanted to post a lot of photos, but that is on hold for now.
This is a record book winter in Alaska. Record snow in Anchorage. Record cold in the interior. We do get breaks, usually spectacular. Yesterday, Wednesday, we had blinding snow during two periods in the morning. In between those storms we were blinded by the sun on that new snow. After the second storm it was full bore sun for most of the day, and immediate meltage.
The roads here, especially the rock roads, are in the worst shape ever. Superlative pot holes. The big heavy trucks have to creep along to avoid damage. They laid some rock down on Ballyhoo Road that was small boulders, baseball size or bigger (bear with me UK) that filled in the holes, but provided its own challenges.
After a few days, whether it was by compressing the boulders in the ground, or breaking them up with MY tires, the road is better. Better, but still not good. The BIG debate here is spend CONSTANT money on maintenance, or just pave.
(Internet is back UP)
The Chow Porch has been sold out the last few nights. Perhaps it is the new florescent lighting (AND new logo!), but I think it is more word of mouth. Twice there have been 4 in line to chow. A new participant is NOSEY. You will know him when you see his picture. Not sure if he was a victim of a fight, a trap, or just an accident. But he is a victim. His nose is injured, maybe even a bit bent...
But he is a repeat customer. He uses the fox butt block method (FBB for Arbie) to ward off other hungry vulpines as he chows. Just keeps his rear in the way of the others. NOSEY is aggressive in defending his food, but I saw a rare FOX FRACAS as he was away from the CHOW. Fox fighting, and last night I heard one loud BARK. Not sure who produced it.
Tonight, GNU and I had dinner on a big boat. Good food. I had heard of the storm coming in tonight, but it was just starting to blow when we left.
(INTERNET IS DOWN AGAIN.)
An hour later it was CRANKING. Only 35 mph wind, but that snow was sticky. 33 degrees at my place, but colder up top where it was coming from. I turned on my FAIRY LIGHTS (is late February too Tennessee??). And I also turned on the full porch lights. That is when I saw the fox head near my northern facing secondary chow porch.
(THE TV IS NOW CRASHING) (PIXILATION MAXIMUS).
The fox I saw was a small common brown colored fox, not sure if he was a regular. He was camped out in a snow drift. And it looked like he was prepared to be drifted over for protection. Maybe that was FOX WILEY WAY RULE #4. All I know he was in a swirling blizzard and just sitting there.
This was on the downwind side of my duplex, the protected side. The side now having a 2 foot funny shaped drift that was not there 2 hours ago. I opened up the back door a few inches, all I could do, as a snow drift was now blocking THAT. But I told him I would be back with food.
(INTERNET IS BACK)
Then the wind started BLOWING, so I went to the southern facing porch. The main porch. I chose to call to the fox, asking him to come around the duplex. I whistled, and he was there in a second.
I put out some dog food right by my door. I fully expected the kibbles to be blown away, but no. And that fox SNOWFLAKE came right up to chow down. I was the least of his problems. He was coated in snow. And he ate a lot of food. I approved it as NO CHARGE.
Took a lot of pics and some film, but conditions were tough. Lots of blowing moisture. This is why I do not buy a $2000 camera.
The door was open as I was pelted with ice, but SNOWFLAKE was cool. FLASHES for FOOD. It was all agreed .
When I returned tonight from the boat dinner, I turned the Tahoe around to face outward. Just to have a running start to get out. The drive was clear at that point. Now I see a two foot drift right in front of the Tahoe.
But the night is still young, and the terms will change.
It is Alaska.
Are there any questions?
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|Posted by: joealaska, 6:53 AM GMT on February 20, 2012
I am happy to see the local newspaper back in the racks at Safeway. After being missing for several months, The Dutch Harbor Fisherman is back under a longer name... The Bristol Bay Times / The Dutch harbor Fisherman.
Years ago the papers existed in just this same combined way. Then they split for awhile. Last year the company owning both was sold, and it has been quiet ever since. Now they are back, almost as a surprise. Let’s face it, printed papers are about to join the dinosaurs and passenger pigeons.
Especially small town versions.
I am old fashioned and prefer the printed papers. Of course, I also could not tweet or text if my life depended on it...
The Police Beat is back.
There was a good article on the gas field at Point Thompson, 50 miles east of Prudhoe Bay in far northern Alaska. The HUGE natural gas field has sat untapped because oil is also in that area. The gas and oil are difficult to produce, as they are under extreme high pressure and other reasons, which could lead to safety issues in production.
Big name companies have invested BILLIONS in testing and research, yet feel the production will be to difficult and expensive.
So the state wants them to drill, or get off the well. Now it is in the courts where the state wants to revoke all the leases and start over. It is a huge power battle, and your gas price at the pump may be at stake. Thanks to North Dakota for kicking in lately, but Alaska oil production is down lately. That pipeline is not always full now. And the much BALLYHOOed new gas pipeline is still only a dream in these days of ecological studies. We gots the gas, we gots the oil. Got Drill?
The state feels the lack of development could be on purpose by big oil/gas to suppress supply and increase prices of what is already flowing upward.
But that’s crazy talk...
The Chow Porch is back in action on a regular basis. FRANK is the regular. 4 out of 5 nights he is there. And this morning he was lurking for leftovers. At first he was just like all the others, circling forever before sniffing up and snarffing down. Cat leftovers, hard or soft, it was chowed. But last night it went Hoppyesque. He was on the porch with me just inside the wide open door flashing pictures. No fear.
GOLDEN ROD is a bit irregular in his appearances, but he is already friendly, coming right up to inquire about the daily special. It is posted on the door, but alas, fox cannot read.
I just bought plane tickets for my next trip. Flying to Albuquerque to golf a cuppla days with CASA, mainly because I could use the money. Then taking the usual road trip and golfing on the way. Albuquerque NE to Mackinac Straits Bridge in Michigan, then south to Louisville. Right across the heart of America.
May not need the valet tonight. But HEY, he has been complaining about the tips lately anyway...
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Updated: 6:55 AM GMT on February 20, 2012
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|Posted by: joealaska, 8:14 AM GMT on February 15, 2012
Today was supposedly my day off, but I was on the phone all day. Had to recharge twice.
They were very busy at the warehouse. It looked like a typical day, busy but nothing unusual. But it became unusual, and GNU guy took control. First delivery was at 7:30 AM, last was at 10:30 PM.
Pretty steady in between.
My only quality time was having dinner at the Aleutian with some good customers. Good to hear them talk about life on the boat. The Fishmaster was from Norway and he was telling us the inside poop about that nut who shot all those kids last year. The nut will get off easy.
We got a lot of snow a few days ago. Then it melted to slush. Then it froze into ice that was the shape of slush. Hard ridges where tires formed a trough. Now it is melting again. When I walked into the Aleutian I had to walk through a foot deep lake for a hundred feet.
When I left dinner, I espied the new 2012 Visitors Guide on display by the front counter. I grabbed a few. This was where I entered in the contest for the front cover photo. I do not want to sound bitter, but I was disappointed in that front cover. I felt I had 5 or 6 photos better. But THEY are the judges, and I accept that. Dutch Harbor offers many spectacular phot opportunities. I felt the winner was just average. No offense to the winner. I bet HE had better options.
I know it was hard for the judges to evaluate all the entries. Glad I was not the judge. But I feel there was a first choice somewhere out there. The winning photo was a shot of a dock at sunset / sunrise with the silhouettes of boats in the shadows. I am sure politics are at play here, so I give up.
But, I still made the grade. One of my photos made it. A photo I liked from the beginning. A vessel heading out of Unalaska Bay hard against Split Top Mountain with snow highlights. It was cropped down a bit, but I knew it looked familiar. They give me credit, but my name is barely visible in the photo amongst the snow on the mountain.
Fame at the minimum.
It is the best I got.
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|Posted by: joealaska, 8:58 AM GMT on February 13, 2012
Friday was pretty busy, even though our container vessel was late.
It arrived at 10 PM Friday (15 hours late). One boat was waiting for their STUFF. We had five food vans plus a freight container. That boats product was scattered over all five vans. We had to touch them all.
I had the guys at the warehouse at 5 AM Saturday. That boat wanted their product at 8 AM.
It was snowing and they had to plow the dock.
At 8 AM we had most of their fright, but one container was still not there. We delivered what we had, and the rest followed shortly. We got a nice compliment from the customer.
The rest of the day was one situation after another. The phone never stopped ringing. I had to re-charge twice.
Our warehouse was PACKED with pallets of incoming freight, and two boat crews stopped in for food. We are not really a walk in place, but it happens. It was crazy busy, and we took care of those customers.
We only have room for four vans at our dock, but we had to jam a fifth off to the side.
I prefer to be hands on, but it was hands on the phone all day.
We delivered the last piece of air freight at 9 PM.
I got a call at 8 AM saying a boat needed a small order delivered by 4 PM.
Dutchie was working on waking me by walking across me over and over. FLUFF the Far West Cat also woke me by turning on the I-mac. A blast of light. I had no hard feelings. That cat still has an eye for the mouse...
Then there was another long day Sunday. But we got a lot done. I had a nice cold during it all, making it all the more interesting.
It has been a fox feeding frenzy the last several nights. A couple nights ago GOLDEN ROD showed up. I had fox visits the last couple nights. But ROD was new. I was standing on the chow porch checking out the late night scenery. Often I step outside just before I hit the sack, no matter what the weather. You never know what may be lurking.
I saw nothing. But I heard SOMETHING close by. A golden fox about 6 feet away just below where I stood on the porch. Then he scattered away. But he was right back. He was pretty friendly.
I went inside and got some food. I left the door open. When I came back a few seconds later, ROD was in the mud room. All the way in. I tried to get some pics, but it was quick and blurry.
HOPPY had stuck his head in that door a couple years ago and I took that picture called NICE PLACE! Rod was full body in.
Nothing tonight yet.
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|Posted by: joealaska, 6:52 AM GMT on February 08, 2012
Watching a special on the wildlife of Madagascar. MANY varieties of lemurs, as well as several animals unique only to that island. Pretty interesting.
I got an email from UK talking about American football (GRONKOWSKI) and rugby. Rugby IS played here through private leagues and some colleges. Yes, it is brutal. I have an old friend (ALL my friends are old...) who used to play a lot. He wore sweatshirts that said RUGBY PLAYERS EAT THEIR DEAD. He told me they would play a game, then drink a keg of beer afterwards. THEN, they would play keep-away with the empty keg.
Last night I paid a visit to the FIRST boat that had the engine fire. They are doing repairs and about to go into drydock. I was going to see my friend who was the cook on board. He was mopping the galley floor and the only person on board who was not in bed. It was about 8 PM. He had 7 stitches in his chin after taking a dive from a stairway on board. Lucky it was only seven.
When I left it was hard to see where I was walking. The deck was not lit, and there were hoses and lines everywhere. There was also a three foot drop from one deck to another, with no hand rail or rail of any sort. Just two big stairs in the dark. Glad I remembered it was there in the first place.
Later last night FRANK THE FOX made an appearance at the dry and dusty CHOW PORCH.
I noticed Dutchie staring out the window at a big neighborhood cat sitting on the porch. Then I saw a second cat out in the driveway also staring at the cat on the porch. Finally I saw FRANK nearby just sitting and taking it all in. So I went out and chased away the cats. It was not easy. Normally a fox would run away also, but not Frank.
He thus passed his first test of PORCH WORTHINESS. There are other tests. Putting up with a human and a cat staring at them from a nearby window. Occasional, to many FLASHES from a camera. OH, and me talking to him in close range.
Frank did pretty good with the preliminaries.
I put out the old dog food I have had for maybe a year. Then some wet cat stuff. When he came around to the kitchen window he got some lettuce and cucumber. No to the lettuce, but he schlepped up the cuke.
He did the circling routine, coming in close then back out. It goes on and on, and I just do not have that time to sit two hours by the window. So I come back and he is a bit closer. He took some food from the porch, but it was late. I went to bed. Early this morning I woke up and all the food was eaten. Cat or fox, or FARFLE???
The wind is picking up now. 45 mph. Now it is snowing again, after I finally cleared of my porch.
Yet I grill. A bit of a challenge. It took two flicks of my BIC.
But I have ZERO plates. The paper ran out. Will have to make do.
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|Posted by: joealaska, 12:37 AM GMT on February 06, 2012
Interesting weather recently. Again. (See last blog).
We are used to Fridays. Biggest day of the week for us, as well as the next 2 or 3 days. The big container vessel arrives. It is crazy, boats and island customers waiting for stuff off that boat. Then a big load of air freight arrives in the middle of it all, or after it has ended to extend a long day.
Oh yeah, throw a blizzard in there to keep it interesting. And I have to place my weekly replenishment order during all of this...
Well today the boat was late again, due to weather. And we had weather HERE also. A blowing slush storm. It started late last night. This morning there was minimal visibility. It was snow, but barely. THIS is why Eskimos have MANY terms for snow. It was snow, but very wet and sticky.
The temperature was just above freezing, but it was snowing.
And it was blowing snow / slush.
Visibility was low, but the tough part was localized drifting. Some areas. Maybe MOST, were OK. But others were trubba. I came around a corner at the top of Haystack when I had a virgin two foot drift across the road. I busted through it.
The container vessel was late again, so we all broke for the day Still on call. Conditions were brutal.
Then the temps rose. The slush turned to water. Quickly.
Now we have mini lakes held back by snow banks. Osmosis will take its toll.
Hearing about the advance of sea ice from several vessel folk. The ice is coming south into the crab fishing grounds. Boats have laid out their pots and now the ice is claiming them. The ice moves 20 or more miles a day, dragging the pots with it. That ice is up to one and a half feet thick, and it can tear away the buoys marking the pots. That will mean the pots are lost for good. But even a buoy still attached 20 miles from its original location can be lost for good. The pots cost about $1000 each, and there are 80,000 of them laying out there right now.
Basically the crab season is on hold for now.
We worked late last night, Saturday. Back at 8 AM today to deliver the orders we pulled last night.
Then we delivered a ton of freight, literally. Most of it 10 LB boxes. But it all got done and I got home 20 minutes before the kickoff of the Super Bowl. Could this be the first time I have seen it in 4 years I have been here?
I got a phone call from one of our good customers tied up at the dock. We delivered food to them earlier, but they wanted pizzas for Super Bowl. And wings. I got the call with the game in progress.
It’s a big order and the pizza place is pretty busy. They will call me when they are ready. I get to run in and make an invoice while they are being picked up and delivered.
Hopefully it will happen during halftime when Madonna is “entertaining.” What a show that would have been 10 years ago!
Giants by 6.
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