July 1-July 15, 2012

We are gearing up for our first group of guests.  And guess what?  Shane & Tom decide it’s a perfect opportunity to rip off the front of the bunkhouse and “update” it.  So, we head into town on an expedition and amongst all of the normal grocery items and errands they purchase new siding for the Bunkhouse.  Shane immediately went to work removing the existing wood and lo & behold, massive amounts of water damage existed in the old wood and portions of the building were terribly rotted. Imagine that!  It seems that the deck was butted up against the wall of the building not allowing for drainage.  So, instead of it being a three-day job it turns into a week long job, jamming us right up against the arrival of our new guests.  Needless to say, Shane pulled it off.  All of the construction materials and “junk” that was all over the deck and surrounding area was cleared, the deck in front of the bunkhouse was finished and swept and the Bunkhouse entry looks fabulous.  As for me, I wasn’t jumping for joy at the last minute situation and the pressure was on to make the Bunkhouse look fabulous “moments” before they arrived, but I did it.  I slicked on some lipstick along with a small douse of perfume and greeted them at the beach.  All in all, the “camp” looks GREAT.

Shane. Now that is a human machine unto himself.  This guy can accomplish more in one day than I can in a week.  I have never known anyone like him before.  He constantly blows my mind with his tenacity, strength and determination to “get ‘er done”.   He’s a great partner for Tom and they are like two and the same.  If the dictionary had a definition of “great friendship” their picture would be next to the definition. Cool guy.

Last week I realized that the guest cabin linens were stored in big plastic bags since last September, so I’ve been washing bed linens, blankets and comforters to freshen them and finalize the cabins ready for our guests.  Washing is easy utilizing the washing machine but drying the laundry is another story.  I pray for sun and a good breeze while they hang on the clothesline.  As you know, there is no dryer here.  Although laundry on the clothesline is a bit time consuming it magnifies how we are an instant gratification society.  Without modern conveniences, everything slows down just a little.  It’s kinda nice and I like the smell and feel of “line dried” clothes.

Our guests arrived.  I was a little nervous but everything was PERFECT.  The cabins looked great with flowers and amenities and each of the cabin fireplaces were lit and the rooms warm and cozy.  The Banya was ready to go.  (Banya is an Alaskan “hot” room, similar to a sauna).  I had appetizers laid out, luggage was delivered to their rooms via the ATV and we were all pumped up for a few days of fishing, food and fun.  After checking in to their cabins, they all got geared up and went, you guessed it, Fishing!

A wonderful group, we enjoyed their company.  They are all long-time friends, retired NorthWest Air pilots from Anchorage, one of came with his wife (thank goodness!!) and two non-pilots, one an Alaska Fish & Game Biologist and the other a gentleman all the way from Florida who owns an insurance consulting business.  One of his clients is Jimmy Buffett, the singer.  Cool.

Fresh Snowcrab

My first Snow Crab dinner. A lot of work and worth it!

They fished and fished and fished for three days.  They caught Atka Mackerel, Halibut (YUM!), Black Bass & Ling Cod. They were happy fisherman and campers.  One evening we enjoyed a crab harvest and one of the highlights of their visit was Pizza night.  Tom has a pizza oven at Port Vita.  We had a wonderful evening dicing, chopping, creating, cooking, dancing and eating pizza. It was a fun party!

I went on the boat one of the days, although I didn’t actually fish (due to a carpal tunnel situation I’m enduring, ugggh) and we all saw an amazing sight.  During our journey back from Shelikof Strait, we saw a Bald Eagle chasing a Seagull.  It was an image right out of the movie, Top Gun, (well, sorta).  If you saw the movie you will understand what I mean.  The eagle was within two-inches of catching the seagull.  They flew this way and that and it reminded me of the “escape” training jets practice for real warfare.  We all thought the Eagle was going to catch the Seagull and eat it but as time went on, nearly five minutes, we finally saw what the Eagle was after.  The Seagull had a fish in its beak, and the Eagle wanted it.  Well, it got it.  But what a sight it was to watch the cat & mouse game.

I saw Sea Lions that day too.  🙂

On the third day Tom, who listens to all of the weather reports on the NOAA hand-radio channel, heard of a storm brewing.  Unfortunately, it was expected to arrive at midnight the evening before our guest were scheduled to depart.  The strait going to Kodiak is treacherous and was calling for 12’ waves, Tom was forced to announce to our friends the situation and that he would not be crossing the strait during those kinds of conditions.  Therefore, did they want to leave that afternoon or wait until the day after their scheduled departure and re-book flights, etc?  As a group they decided to leave that afternoon.  It was hard to believe the storm was encroaching as it was a BEAUTIFUL day.  Sunny, balmy and warm.  Anyway, off they went for a morning expedition of fishing and a little hike up a river where they might see bears in the distance.  Eventually they returned, packed up, split up the fish they had caught amongst themselves (all vacuum packed and frozen, ready for shipping) and they departed for Kodiak.  I went down to the beach to say my good-bye’s and we all took pictures.  It’s amazing how you can make instant friends when people stay in your “place” and you eat three meals a day together.  I actually got a small tear or two when they departed the beach.  I had to laugh to myself about that.

That evening, when Tom and Shane returned safely from Kodiak, they told me how the docks in town were slammed with lodge and charter bringing in guests due to the impending storm.  They had not seen Anton Larsen harbor that busy in a looooong time.

Tom had an incidence years ago when the waves got so high that it flooded the smallest boat, Fishstick.  He and Shane discussed getting all three boats as close to the beach as possible. High-tide was due to happen about 9:15 pm, so after dinner they went down to the beach and eventually had all three boats safely behind a small jetty of rocks.  By morning, when the storm was due and the tide low, the boats would be sitting on the beach, high and dry and safe from flooding.  There is never a dull moment around here.

Sure enough, the storm arrived.  July 12 and it was an all-day squall.   High winds, high seas, grey and rainy.  A perfect day to catch our breath and relax.  Two days later we got word that all of our guests were able to catch flights that day and had reached their final destinations without any hiccups.

Well, that’s it for now.   A lot of new adventures to look forward to along with our next guest arrival, due July 26th.  From then on, it’s back-to-back guests!

Whale Bale

Whale Bale

Oh, this is a random photo I think it’s kinda neat.  This is a photo of what is called “Whale Bale”.  This is the actual “net” that is inside of the whales mouth that captures crill, the food whales eat.  I had never seen one before and thought it might be interesting for you to see.

A hui hou, oh, and SEND SUNSHINE!!


Kodiak Mascot

PS – This is the Kodiak Town Mascot…in front of the Harbor Masters Office.

  1. Mary Turley said:

    Thank you sooo much for including me in the ‘news’! Love it all! You are a very descriptive, colorful
    writer! Keep up the great work and oh, yes, do continue to have fun as always! I’ll try to send sun, but we are having
    thick fog each morning for the past 2 weeks! Take care and have a wonderful summer!

  2. Alexandra!

    What a treat to read about your experience in Alaska. I just have to say,Tom is a lucky fellow. He probably had no idea when he met you just how talented you are 🙂 What a wonderful canvas to express all the creativity you possess. I am green with envy.

    I am currently working on my bucket list and fishing in Alaska is one of them. I would love nothing more than to be a guest at your camp and who know’s, it may just happen! Meanwhile, I look forward to your next update. Hope all is well.

  3. Ean James said:

    Sounds like you are an invaluable member of the camp team as well. Lots of work! Thanks for taking the time to tell us of the happenings. Mmmm…I want some Tom Stick pizza-oven pizza right now!

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