Thursday, June 26, 2014

Far and Away Places

From Anchorage to Akutan and Kotzebue to Ketchikan it has been a busy spring for field work.  Since Molly and I returned from our Utah vacation in mid-April I can count the number of days we spent together on one hand.  This week I was in Ketchikan while Molly continues to work in Kotzebue.  It occurred to me that this is just about as far apart as we could be and still be working in the same state.  It’s about 1200 miles from Ketchikan to Kotzebue and would take anywhere from three to five flights to get between the two places.

Ketchikan is so far from Palmer that we mobilized a survey boat out of Seattle for this job.  I headed down to Seattle last week to install the computers and sonar systems and perform sea trials.  When the boat was ready we had is shipped on a barge to Ketchikan.  A  few days later we flew to Ketchikan to meet up with the boat.  It has been nice to get to know my fellow employees from the TerraSond Seattle office.  The other nice thing was spending a weekend in Seattle catching up with friends and going out kayaking on Lake Union.  It was a bit strange to be back in Seattle.  I moved away about a year and a half ago and it is already weird to think that Seattle was home.  While it was in Seattle I experienced a mix of familiar and unfamiliar feelings around the city.  There are things I miss and things that I don't.  It was a big decision for us to leave Seattle but I am sure that we made the right choice at this point in our lives.

Here are some photos from my most recent travels.

Railroad bride over Salmon Bay in Seattle.  I was staying nearby and watched a lot of trains and boats go by.
A TerraSond survey vessel from the Seattle office

One of my favorite Totem poles in Ketchikan

Creek Street in Ketchikan

Ketchikan selfie
Waiting for a cruise ship to pass while riding the ferry to the Ketchikan airport.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Arctic Summer

Kotzebue has definitely taken a turn for the warmer, and by warm I mean over 50 degrees F. In this photos it is 52 degrees, blowing 20mph and kids were jumping off Front Street into the ocean. And my parents thought we were crazy to swim in Kodiak as kids!

It was calm yesterday and the mosquitoes finally came out - definitely not the worst I've seen, but enough to make us glad to see 20 mph wind again today.

The barge running by is hauling sand for airport paving projects this summer. This barge dwarfs all the buildings along Front Street. There is a very strong current that runs along the front of town so the barge has to do some crazy maneuvering to land near the airport. It's pretty entertaining to watch. And then they tie it off to pieces of heavy equipment to hold it in place while they offload the material. Barges with normal supplies land at the other end of town. It would not be a good idea to be running dump trucks across town though, so this barge has to land at the airport itself so the material doesn't need to be hauled far.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Legit summer in Kotz

I think we finally turned the corner to legit summer! It was in the 50's today! Windy, but warm nonetheless. Things have greened up quite a bit in the last three days (scoff all you want, we'll take what we can get in the Arctic). I just can't wait for berry season now. If I'm going to be here for a while, I'd better be here long enough to get some berries.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Still not quite summer in Kotz

We had amazing weather in April. It was crystal clear and sunny every single day. The sun seemed unrelenting and I got sunburned no matter how much sunscreen I used. Everyone kept telling us that April was the sunniest month of spring and after that the weather would worsen. They were right! May and June have been stormy on and off. We've rarely had a calm day, usually the wind is blowing between 10 and 15 mph, but we have also had more than a few days of 25 mph+ winds, plenty of rain and even snow in June. But, it's Alaska, and the the Arctic at that so it's a little hard to complain.

It's still very brown here and a little bit of snow is still sticking on the hills. Things are just starting to bud out. It will be fun to look back at these pictures when it is a bit more summery.

Ryan came to Kotzebue last weekend. His visit was fun but too short. The only saving grace of working long hours (besides the overtime) is not having enough time to miss Ryan and home. But, Kotzebue is a nice town with friendly people and good place to see spring in the Arctic so I can't exactly complain. And I can get Amazon packages delivered to the house here which gives any place a gold star in my book (I didn't grow up somewhere with ANY mail delivery, so I think any place with mail delivery is the greatest thing since sliced bread).