It was wonderful to hear from so many of you and it made my day. Thank you!
I’m working on the next one and will let you know when it “publishes”.
I have seen the north end of Raspberry Island each time we arrive or depart Port Vita, but not the south.. So this morning Tom and I walked the beach that runs to the south, there is so much more to see than meets the eye.
It took about 45 minutes to get to the “end” (before it bends around). It was especially interesting as the tide was unbelievably low, like REALLY, really low. The new moon was prevalent and with the transit of Venus, I’m sure it had some sort of impact. The tide exposed shell deposits where well-fed otters discarded the waste of their feast, beautiful Cockle shells in perfect condition minus the yummy “insides”, Cockles are a tad “special” in these parts, similar to finding a beautiful Cowrie shell on the shore of Hawai’i, always there but always elusive. Finding as many as I did was pretty cool. They are now displayed in a simple but elegant glass container. I look at them everyday.
As we headed further south along the beach, Tom pointed out a Bald Eagles nest in the evergreens. They are huge and impressive, the nest and the bird. Oh, did you know that Eagles have a gentle sound when they call? You would think it would be strong and forbidding but it is similar to a wimpy, soft tweet. As we headed back to Camp I found a small deer antler, my first one.
I had such a great time yesterday on the beach and with the tide even LOWER today, (the tide changed
26’!! not inches, but feet!) If you look at the photos, you’ll get an idea of how low. Anyway, I went for another beach stroll. Tom and Shane were busy with chores and I wanted to check out the sand that is usually “under the water” and look for more sea treasures.
Before I ventured out, Tom gave me a short but necessary Bear safety lesson. With the tide as low as it was and the wind in the wrong direction, there was a good chance I may encounter a bear looking for seafood tidbits. Outfitted with a cowbell, yup, you read that right, a cowbell, I started down the beach hoping to venture further than we did yesterday. I had to laugh because I don’t think that bell has been rung that much in it’s entire existence. In addition to the bell, as I walked along this desolate beach I yelled “Hey Bear, Hey Bear” all the while ringing the bell. So here I am, there’s not a soul in sight for 100 miles and I’m talking to bears. If anyone had seen me I’m sure they would have had a good laugh! The good news, I didn’t see a bear but I did see two beautiful starfish.
That afternoon was just as clear and beautiful as the morning so, Tom & I escaped and went fishing. I now have an Alaska Fishing License. Hehee! Well, I didn’t catch anything but the little critters took all of octopus bait that was on my line. Tom taught me how to tell when they are biting and when to pull up the pole to “snag” them. I never did “catch” one but Tom did somewhat better when he caught a really, really juvenile flounder. He put it back in the water. ☺
Tom is in the process of having “Lady Lize”, the 35’ “Queen” of the fleet outfitted with new engines.
(Tom’s mother’s name is Elizabeth, her nickname “Lize”, hence the name). The old ones are now 10-years old and he feels he may be pushing his luck this season. Getting the new engines installed is somewhat a logistical nightmare. Somewhat? Forget that, it IS! To begin with, the engines are sitting in Anchorage ready to be shipped to Kodiak for installation. Tom and Shane had to get Lady Lize off of the beach where it has been stored for the winter and into the water. What a feat that was! Tom got the tractor hooked up to the stern and Shane placed HUGE logs underneath the boat to “roll” it down the beach to the ocean. I couldn’t even pick up one of the logs, but Shane and Tom were in sync, log on one side, then the other, then Tom pulls the boat closer to the water with tractor and the process repeats itself. Log on either side, pull with tractor, well, you get the picture. Anyway, this took the better part of the morning and to me it looked kind of archaic, but it worked! The Nords did it this way, right???
Lady Lize went into dry dock in Kodiak today. They guy that has manages Fuller Boat Yard (read: GOLDMINE) couldn’t take Lady Lize until 5PM on Saturday because the boatyard was full of boats in for repair. If we waited until Monday he wouldn’t guarantee a space. So guess what? We went to Kodiak on Saturday. We departed Port Vita at 8:30AM and arrived Anton Larsen Harbor/Pier at 10AM, headed into town and did errands all day while waiting for the 5 o’clock hour. At 3PM Tom got a phone call from the boat yard guy, “bring her in, I’ve got room RIGHT now”…Tom & Shane drop what they are doing, drive to the harbor, board Lady Lize, start her up and take her out of the harbor over to the Fuller Boat Yard, She is now there, safe and sound. Afterward we headed back to Port Vita. It was a long day and it was sooooo good to be home.
On Monday, Tom and Shane went back to town to talk to the mechanics that will remove the old engines (each weighs approx. 600+LBS) from Lady Lize and discuss what they want done and a short list of miscellaneous “fix-it’s” while she’s in the shop. I can’t wait to see the new Lady Lize. I’m sure she will be the sweetheart of Raspberry Island.
Today, Tom and I picked Rhubarb from the small vegetable garden and made Rhubarb and Strawberry
Pie! In between raindrops I cut back overgrown grass and Puschka, sp? a kind of nettle plant (obviously a Russian name) that is invasive in the Rhubarb grotto.
Wednesday, At 1:00 PM Tom used he satellite phone and contacted the Sales Manager at Warner Sales where he recently purchased a new 4-Stroke engine for the smallest boat in the fleet, the Fishstick. The new engine had been tested, oiled and is ready do go! All we had to do was pick it up. The weather forecast for the next two days is nasty so Shane and Tom dropped what they were doing and within a ½ hour were in the Skiff, called the “StraitShot” and headed for Kodiak. I’ve never seen these two move faster! A BRAND NEW engine, now THAT is something FUN! While they were gone doing “guy” engine stuff I did more gardening in between three loads of laundry. BTW, doing laundry is bit of a job. First you have to start the generator then you plug in the washing machine electrical extension to the generator, then open the hose line to get the water flowing and then start the laundry. No hot water for laundry, only cold. All the while, I’m taking advantage of clear skies and a nice breeze for drying. No dryer. Bad weather was impending and I wanted to get ‘er done! I also made homemade icing: Butterscotch & Lemon.
My attempt to make icing yesterday was so successful that today I made chocolate frosting from scratch. I found a bag of cocoa and it had a frosting recipe on the back. It’s all in the butter! All the while, Tom and Shane put the new motor on “Fishstick”, it works perfectly! Pizza was on the dinner menu and Tom started the pizza dough at 3PM. While the dough was rising we went hiking through the south side of the property in an attempt to find the trail that had grows over each Winter and Spring. We forged our way through thickets and low-lying branches and I found myself in a cathedral of straight-trunk, un-touched Spruce, (they look like Christmas trees), that have never seen a saw, ever. It was magical. With moss everywhere and small rivulets to cross, I was sure a leprechaun or elf would run across our path. Tom hasn’t hiked out to the area for a while, so in the event we might “meet” a bear while on our trek, he carried a 22-Caliber rifle. We stopped along the way in three places and Tom taught me how to shoot the rifle. I did pretty well and hit 75% of the targets he set up for me. Not bad for a newbie. When we hiked back to camp we found another bear dropping as well as a well traveled path that goes from one side of the our camp all of the way to the other. So yes, when I’m outside putting laundry on the clothesline and stop to look around ‘cause I feel something is “out there” there really may be something “out there”!!
I hope you enjoy my journal. If you have questions about Port Vita or want to know more about Tom’s business, Kodiak Discoveries, let me know!
See you soon and a hui hou!