Thursday, April 29, 2010

Glacier's and the Wild and Free

My intention was to really keep my blog up to date, however work has kept me more occupied mentally and physically so my intentions have fallen a bit to the wayside. In any case better late than never.

It is hard to believe I have been here over a month, going on two. The time is flying by, and I want to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. No wasting time here.

Of course the real reason I am here is to enjoy the breathtaking beauty, the abundant wildlife and all the adventures that are available to me. Working for this company definitely comes with perks and believe me I am grateful. I have now gone out on five boat trips. As the season progresses we are increasing our trips, so this past Thursday on one of my days off, I took our six hour Kenai National Park Tour. We begin the day by cruising through Resurrection Bay, a Long and protected Fjord that on one side is surrounded by the Kenai Mountains to the west and the Chugach mountains to the East. We past Islands and coves that teeming with Wildlife everything from Mountain Goats to Black Bears. The Bird Rookeries where Common Murres and the sounds of Kittiwakes awaken your inner freedom. The puffins are beginning to build their summer nests in the rocks, and the Steller Sea Lions are lazily hauled out on rocky cliffs. Playful Sea otters floating in the water, and off on a high bluff a mature Adult Bald Eagle is eagerly awaiting a free meal. I love this place and of course I am anxiously awaiting to see my special friends "The Orcas".. I have now been out five times and haven't seen them, and on all the other days they have been out. What is up with that? must be my timing and my days off... in any case I trust that soon I will reunite with one of the pods that frequent these waters from the middle of May til Mid June. Humpbacks have been around big time, and on this trip we ran into Humpback Hannah as one of our captains refers to her. We see her after a rocky crossing of the rather turbulent Cape Ailiak where there is a conversion and when the seas are high.. it can be quite rough. As we head into the the Holgate Arm up to view the Tidewater Glacier called the Holgate we notice some major fluke activity.. Soon she switches sides and we also notice another whale. Wow! this was amazing right in the middle of the icy Holgate arm and I was lucky to capture a good photo of her. That made for some excitement and it was also the first day we were really able to get close into the Glacier. We waited patiently for some thunder and the glacier to begin to calve... a few minutes later big chunks of ice broke off into the already chilly sea... and one of the deckhands with a net scooped up a big chunk of glacier ice for people to photograph with and have a touchy feel. Pretty awesome. The weather was amazing that day... very little wind and sapphire blue skies which made for a memorable day.

We continued back stopping in a cove to observe some little black dots on the mountainside, Black Bears..... who took off when they saw we were watching. We also saw a Nanny Goat with a new kid.. hiding in the Hemlock and spruce which was wonderful. We also saw Red Faced Cormorants... a pretty rare sight..and even an Oystercatcher flying. I feel very lucky that on my days off I have the benefit of being able to hop on a boat to be part of such a magical backdrop.

So as the time continues I am excited to be able to take in lots of beauty and wonderful new sights and hopefully soon a hike or two.....I will do my best to keep everyone filled in on all the excitement.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wings over Alaska

Welcome to my first blog post from Alaska. Having arrived in Seward just over a week ago and starting to get settled in at home and at work. Now my Blog Title, Raven Spirit talk is even more suitable for my writings. Their shiny black wings are ever present in and around town. From the local garbage dump to atop the light poles, my Sisters and brothers are here with me. Eagerly speaking their awesome Raven Talk. From loud kwonks to small sounds as though they just swallowed a gallon of sea salt. I adore them and I intend to write about them quite a bit.

My first week as been extremely gratifying, outside the slight cold I have, seeing wildlife daily and looking out at the tall snowy peaks has brought a smile across my face. I felt at home from the start when my shiny winged Sistah's were everywhere... notice I call them Sistah's as though they are all female... sometimes they just seem that way... busily chattering as though they are all gossiping about someone. In addition their larger winged Relatives of the predator variety are frequently in the area as well. Yes, My Sister Eagle is here too. I have seen them daily and I never tire of their beautiful white heads. Well, with the exception of the youngsters who have been around quite a bit lately.... They are still dark headed and their awkward movements and clumsy takeoffs are still a joy to observe. Bless all the winged spirits around me, they bring me so much inner freedom and joy.

One of the great benefits of my job is to be able to go out on the boat trips. Right now we are running spring Gray Whale Watch tours, and last Friday and Saturday I went out on them. Both days were great, although the snow fell the entire trip on Friday. We also got to experience a lot of motion on the ocean, yet the captain certainly had a knack for steering us in a positive direction and for the most part staying out of the high waves... We had many sightings including Mountain Goat all along the mountains cliffs that drop down to the ocean... that was exciting! I love them, and it is getting close to Kidding season, so soon there will be cute little Kid Goats hanging out with their Nanny Mom's. We also had Dall Porpoise groups both days, and they are so much fun. They are very social little Cetaceans, and adore bow riding the boat. Often referred to as Speed Demons... too fast to get any sort of photo.... as we got closer to the Gulf of Alaska, which if you steer a straight course, you will eventually end up in Antarctica.... we stopped at a cove to observe La Familia Stellar Sea Lion... snoozing away on their haul outs.... thousands of Seabirds, which included Black Legged Kittiwakes who are Gull like birds... Pigeon Guillemots, Thick Billed Murres who are probably the closet bird to a Penguin that we have...plenty of gulls, mostly Glaucous winged and of course resident Bald Eagles. Two great trips in a row, and believe me I am excited for more.

Well I think that is pretty good for my first entry. I am going to attempt to keep this blog up... keep your fingers crossed and look forward to more.