Saturday, May 31, 2014

Akutan, Alaska

My most recent survey took me to Akutan a village east of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands.  Akutan is also home to the largest seafood production facility in North America operated by Trident Seafoods.  It was great to be back in Dutch Harbor and on the same boat we used in February.  The Miss Alyssa is a solid vessel and her owner and captain is one of best captains I have been privileged to work with.  Here are some photos from my trip.

Village of Akutan

Russian Orthodox church in the village of Akutan

Trident Seafood facility in Akutan

Bering Sea crab

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

Friday, May 30, 2014

Front Street in Kotzebue

Front St just after the ice went out

My co-workers and a big sheefish

Watching weather move in on a calm night
The ice finally went out in Kotzebue! We had some very windy weather for a couple of weeks and had several days in a row with sustained 25mph winds. Even though the shorefast ice was still in, there were big open patches of open water that were choppy (and even had whitecaps at times) for weeks. Last week I crawled out of bed one morning to see open water, completely flat calm, with chunks of ice floating by. In my early morning haze I was completely confused and it took me a good 30 seconds to figure out what I was looking at.

It's also easy to fish for sheefish off of Front St now. I hadn't really thought about fishing too much since I'm working very long hours, but after my co-worker caught this whopper, I figured I'd better get a pole and a license or I'd regret it later.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Springtime in Kotzebue

Shore Ave 3 1/2 weeks ago when there was still snow in town
I’ve been in Kotzebue for a month now enjoying springtime (and working long hours). When I was here in March, it was pretty much just winter with 12+ hours of sunlight. When I cam back in the middle of April, it was a little warmer but there was still a lot of snow. Within my first couple of days back it all started to melt. And it melted fast. The streets turned into giant puddles and the city spent a week pumping water out into the ocean. I wish I had taken pictures of town every day to help me remember how quickly it happened.

Town has been pretty much snow-free for a couple of weeks now. It really warmed up about three weeks ago and we enjoyed calm days and unrelenting sunshine. Then it cooled off and turned to winter again - a little bit of a rude awakening to remind us that we are still in the Arctic and it is only the beginning of May.

The weather has turned again though and we're supposed to see temps in the mid-forties for the next few days. It really seems like spring on some days, but then I check the weather for Eagle River and I realize how relative "spring" can be.

Sunset just before midnight a few days ago
 The shore fast ice is still in. It will be fun to see it go out while we're here.

A little dusting of snow the other day (yes, we drive a cab - there are only so many cars for rent in a small town like this)
Finally got to try some sheefish - yum!
5/6 of our salty crew all decked out in our green and blue shades of "town" clothes