Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work, The President and Housemates


Hi all It has been a while since I have written but in all honesty not much has been going on since my last posting. I have completed the Raptor Surveys, YEAH! Now comes the report writing portion, BOO! I know that it is necessary but it means that I am stuck inside for a time. As of right now Bruce has not kept me in to write it which worries me a little. This means that it probably will not get done until the end of the summer which is jam packed full of activities. I would like to attempt a bit of writing now but I am out in the field doing so many other things.

So what are these other things that I am doing? Well the primary one that I have been assisting with is stream measurements. We are looking a fish crossings in the park and possibly getting money to redo a lot of culverts that currently do not allow fish to freely pass through. The primary concern is the Brook Trout. If this happens then there will be a lot of work for Bruce to hire for concerning this project. right now it is in its infancy so we shall see.

I have also been giving our precipice falcons some of my time lately. We originally thought that this new pair this year had attempted nesting twice. but on July 7th I found a juvenile on the cliff face that the adult birds were feed. To say that we were surprised by this event would be a great understatement. So I have been out watching and trying to determine approximately how old this bird is by its behavior. It has been some long hours in the driving sun but I can say that my farmers tan is progressing nicely.

We have also been watching a pair of common loons on Eagle Lake that started nesting really late in the season. We expect a hatch very soon, likely this weekend. We are really hopeful that this nest is a success because all the other nests that we watch and a local group watch have failed. So this is the only hope this season for a success. I will keep you all posted on what is happening there, hopefully I will be able to get some photos of the little ones.

The President

Well President Obama came to visit our little island this weekend. he arrived on Friday and left today. There were all kinds of preparations for his visit. The Law enforcement took the brunt of the meetings with the Secret Service and the planning of the visit so I don’t know too much outside of what I was involved with. I will say that I did not get to meet or even see the president or his motorcade. My roommate on the other hand did get to meet the President and his family yesterday. he happened to be at the right place at the right time, I am happy for him and jealous of him all at the same time. Lucky bastard.

My involvement extended only to traffic detail to ensure that the rerouted traffic made it efficiently through an intersection of the park. woohoo.

The only thing exciting that I got to do was on Friday there was a visitor that broke their ankle and I got to participate in the carry out of the patient. We were on the west side of the island and the incident happened at the top of a trail called the perpendicular trail. I got pulled from traffic duty because everyone else was taking care of the presidential visit. Add to that, there were two other injuries going on at the same time. The Rescue teams were spread thin and they just needed bodies to carry people. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t mind doing it again. the trail was maybe two miles long on the way out, it took about 20 people to get her safely out in three hours to accomplish.


Well last night was a fiasco at the house. I have three housemates that are party animals. I don’t mind that so much but it is when they go out and then come back to the house that it becomes a problem. One of these three is LOUD, and if you know me that is saying something because I know that I am loud but this person is ridiculous. this person has a laugh that I honestly think can raise the dead. The other two aren’t so bad but when they come back form someplace that they have been out to it is a little much…especially when I have been asleep for a few hours and I am woken up by them. Last night just plain pissed me off. Me and Elliot, in our own rooms, where crashed out and they came crashing in the house last night and woke me from a dead sleep. I was mad. I got up and told them that maybe they should keep it down since Elliot was trying to sleep just 10 feet away and that since they woke me up and i sleep up stairs it was probably a little loud. One girl as i was walking away said ‘but its Saturday’ and i shot back that ‘its after 10 o’clock’ (which is quite hours in shared housing) to which she said again ‘but its Saturday’. I just let it drop there. I heard them for a bit more and then finally they moved there little get together out side. I was very appreciative about this. I had thoughts that I would make a god awful racket this morning while getting ready to do laundry but I didn’t, I am too damned nice.

So my way of getting back at the one who said ‘but its Saturday’ is turning off her internet. She hasn’t paid yet so I feel justified in doing this. I know vindictive but at least i am on the high ground.

Whew, I feel better now that that is off my chest. so until next time…

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Greetings from Maine

Hi everyone! I am alive and well and writing this as I sit in George Dorr’s old homestead. I am terribly sorry for being absent for so long in my cyber home but I have been super busy with trying to get back on my feet since getting here.

So this is my second season here at Acadia National Park and I am having the time of my life. This year I am doing a lot of the same things that I did last year such as, Raptor Callback surveys, observing Peregrine Falcons, Common Loons and beavers. My Boss Bruce has me primarily working on the Raptor surveys. I have been working very unusual hours and as such haven’t been able to do the things I would like to be doing, like blogging about my life.

The Diurnal (daytime) raptor surveys are a continuation of a three year project to gain some understanding as to what types of raptors live and breed in Acadia. however like the two previous years the raptors are not helping us out much. They are VERY secretive and are difficult to coax out of their hidey holes. We have tried everything from playing conspecific (same species) calls to playing predatory calls. I have been out at 0500 trying and out at 2000 trying but with very depressing results. To date I have only had Nocturnal raptors respond (Barred Owls specifically). This wouldn’t be so bad but in my hiking around and just my general travels around the Island I have seen more raptors then i could count. So after a month solid of doing these surveys I basically have nothing to show for the 50+ hours that I have put in to this project. I only have one more week of surveys starting next week and then I am done with the field portion of this project. I then head inside to start the writing of the report.

In conjunction with my night time surveys I have also been out observing and counting beavers to determine family sizes. This is in anticipation of removal of these critters from problems areas. This has been a delightful change from the dismal raptor surveys, at least I have found beavers :).

I have also been involved with Peregrine falcons this year but only in an observation capacity. The falcons at the precipice are our only troubling story. This pair has been watched since early March and we still don’t know what the heck it is that they are doing. We are pretty sure that their first attempt at a nest failed and the in May they tried again. Everything was tracking that they had a nest and all the behavior pointed to this. then about three weeks ago all the nesting behavior stopped cold. No falcons were on the nest! not a great sign. then about 10 days ago one of the interpretive staff thought they heard a chick on the cliff. but only once. The Wildlife crew went up the cliff to see if the birds would respond to our presence. WOW! the female was right on us when we hit the area that we thought the scrape site was located. At one point I was attempting to get photos of the bird for identification purposes and she stooped on me and i felt the wind as she passed by, quite exhilarating. the only down point was we heard no chicks. That brings me to this morning, I was at the precipice parking area observing and there were no birds to be seen. About 20 minutes later the female came over the ridgeline and flew over the scrape site and i heard a chick calling! it was so surprising I truly didn’t think that there was anything on that cliff face. So now we are hopefully going to go back up that cliff and see if we can find the chick. the only thing that I have failed to mention was that we have a suspicion that the chick is no longer in the scrape but rather below it, as though it fell from the original site. So now we get to play Hide-and-Seek with a juvenile Peregrine on a 1000 foot cliff face….Yeah!

Looking to the future:

With the Oil spill in the Gulf the secretary of the Interior has ask for volunteers to go down and provide support. I am currently on a waiting list for this to happen. there are no guaranties that I will go but that possibility exists. I have no idea of what I could be doing or where I would be serving but I could go at the drop of a hat, in government terms that means I would probably have a weeks warning before I would head down. I will definitely blog about that.

The other thing that I will be doing this fall, Mid August till I leave at the end of September, is being a Lead Bander for a project that is occurring on MDI (Mount Desert Island). I am really looking forward to this part of my job for many reasons. One, I would finally get to put a bullet item on my resume that states I did this for a job! that could be huge. and secondly I miss banding, it is one of those times in my life that I am completely relaxed and at peace with life.

After Acadia:

I have no freaking Idea. Currently I have been referred to a hiring official for a job that I applied to in Rio Hondo Texas. I would be live trapping Bobcats and Ocelots tagging them with transmitters and telemetry tracking them, how cool would that be!

One other position that I have applied for that would have me leaving Acadia about a month early is a full time (short term) banding position on the southern tip of the DelMarVa peninsula. I would be working for the College of William and Mary, now how cool would that BE!!!!


So that has been my life since May when I arrived here in Maine. Not terribly exciting but it is what it is.

Until next time, be well, stay safe and let me here from you!


And so we go…

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Life of a Longline Observer

So I haven’t posted in a while…sorry for that. I thought that today I would give an explanation of my job through pictures and word. This might give you a better understanding of what it is that I do.

My ‘day’ starts off with me getting up about an hour before the haul starts. this give me plenty of time to wake up shake off the sleep and get my paperwork together for the upcoming haul.

That is my rack on top and to the left. I have three roommates in this stateroom. 

A closer view of my sleeping accomidations.

After I prep everything that I need to, basically filling out the info at the top of my data sheets and randomly selecting my start unit and a few other things, I get suited up to head out to my tally station.

Yes I am under all that stuff. I wear all of that to stay warm!

I head out to my tally station which is above where the fish come on board. I have to stand on deck for about 40 – 60 minutes at a time and count everything that comes on board, drops off the line or is removed by the rollerman (the guy who brings the fish on the boat, I have video that will come later). this is one of the parts of my job that, while being the easiest, sucks! It is usually windy on deck, it is usually at my back (not always) and the average temp while I was up there hovered around the 0 degree mark. there where times when it was below zero and it sucked even more :/

While I am counting everything that comes onboard the rollerman and bleeder are collecting by catch, anything that isn’t a Pacific Cod. This bycatch goes in to my blue baskets and waits for me to come down and work it up.

I am not in this photo. The guys are breaking ice so we don't get to top heavy. where the in orange is is where I stand for my tally periods.

From the tally station I would walk through the house (the living quarters portion of the boat) and head down to my sample station and my waiting blue baskets of happiness.

My sampling station. You can see my blue baskets under the table and to the right of them is my Motion Compensating Platform scale. that was a blessing to have.

Once I got done sorting my fish and weighing them I would clean up my sample station and repeat the process. I would generally have about an hour or so till I had to be on deck again so I would head back to the tool room and hang out there until the process started over again.

It took six or so hours to retrieve a string then two hours to set it out again. so I could take a nap from my last sample till we started hauling again, usually though I sat around getting paperwork together from the previous haul. that took about an hour or so and then my nap could begin…so I guess I really only got about an hour nap. I would usually work 18 – 26 hours and then take a haul off because it was unsafe for me to go out on deck because I was so tired. In fact one time I fell asleep at the rail during my tally period. I had to stop and go to bed. I not as young as I used to be :(

so here are some photos and video of the whole process from set to haul.

this is the gournd line coming out from the stern of the boat. we were using squid for bait. This is the bird deterrents used

This is the auto-baiter machine. the guy here is feeding squid into it and the machine put cuts and baits the hooks as they go out.

this is where the gear hangs and is stored when not fishing. currently these are being baited and run out the back.

this is the Hauling station. This guy is the rollerman and gaffs the fish on to the boat.

this guy is not as grumpy as this picture portrays him. I caught him off his guard. He is the bleeder, he cuts all the fish that come on board.

After the fish sit for a while, after being bled, they are then put through the header.

One of the headers

this is the gutting station, I thought I would spare everyone the gory photos of this part of the process. the gutted fish are thrown into the bins to the right.

the fish are then paned acoding to size. and then...

placed in to the freezers. It takes about four hours to freeze all the fish in one freezer.

Once frozen then the freezer break. each pan is removed from the freezere and then the product is taken out of the pans and...

packaged. Mr. Grumpy there is one of my roommates, this is the end of a bad day for him, thus the grumpy look

Once we fill the boat full of product we head back in to Dutch. It takes 24 – 36 hours for the offload the boat and then back load bait. During this time I have no responsibilities so I get to enjoy the sights in port.

Here are some of the sights that I got to see while in port:




Emporer Goose

Emporer Geese

Harlequin Ducks. this was the best I could do...they were very wary of me and kept diving

Have no clue...Any help?



Actually got this one while under way. This  is a Fork-tailed Storm Petrel

Me holding the Fork-tailed Storm Petrel

I look in my basket and I find a stow-a-way

So it is a Fish-eat Fish World  :D

Alaska Skate

Arrowtooth Flounder

So I really wanted to post videos but the Internet connection I am currently using is less then Ideal. I am hoping just to be able to upload all of these photos. Here’s hoping

Friday, January 22, 2010

My time so far…

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We got word that we were flying out one day earlier then we were originally told. No big deal spent yesterday packing up everything and preparing to leave today. Called three taxis to come pick us up at the bunkhouse along with all of our equipment.

We got to the airport and started checking in. I knew that I was going to have to pay for overages because my blue baskets were heavy, 89 pounds to be exact. It cost me $100 to have it flown out to Dutch.

The flights out to Dutch were filled with beautiful landscapes of snow covered mountains and volcanoes. We flew to Cold Bay then to Sand Point and finally to Dutch. The landing into Dutch was quite the wild ride. The plane passes the runway and makes a big loop around to land from the other side. The plane has to bank real hard and land immediately after coming out of the bank. The runway is short and you think you’re going to fall off the other end. It was wild.

After landing Cory called Troy to see what was happening, Myself and Jason are to meet our boat there at the airport and get on board right away. I met Lynn, the mate for the Gadus, and we went to Alaska Ship Supply. I bout a few things there and we went to meet the boat at Crawly dock. I was shown my bunk and was given my safety orientation by Lynn.

Spent the night on board

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We left port today at 1646. Not really much to say. I watched movies most of the day and went to bed around 2200

Friday, December 25, 2009

I stayed in bed till 0100 when I hit the head and sat around for awhile then headed back to bed. Got up for breakfast around 0800 then back to bed till 1100. The seas are really good from what everyone tells me. I may actually be a little sea sick, not bad just nauseous and tired. I am really happy that I have a week to get used to this before I have to start work.

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Still steaming to our fishing area, I was told yesterday that this is the slowest boat in the blue fleet. I didn’t do much of anything today, I played my game a couple of times throughout the day. I am also still not 100% with the rocking of the boat, I can now say that I can get sea sick it just take 15’ swells constantly to give me a very uncomfortable feeling.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I am tired and I know this won’t be the end of that feeling once we start fishing. I woke up several times last night to the boat rolling really hard. I got up and had some breakfast and went straight back to bed for a couple of hours feel a bit better.

Spent some time with ‘Dude’ the captain of the boat and the Chief Engineer in the wheel house talking about my time in the Navy and politics in general, while I was up there I noticed a large bird flying around. I went to lunch and went back to the wheel house with Binoculars in hand and found out that it was a Lyasian Albatross. I was super excited. I also saw Northern Fulmars and Galacus Gulls, and one unidentified Shearwater, pretty sure.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last night was a rough night, I had a migraine that started about 0045, I had to pee and the ship started rocking a lot. So I got up and had to try to quietly open my drawer with my meds in it, finally go that done then had to find my pills in the semi darkness of our stateroom. Finally got the pill ran to the head peed and took my pill. Climbed back in to my rack and proceeded not to sleep well. I had nasty dreams for the rest of the night. I couldn’t really get a descent sleep. Got up at 0600 waited for breakfast around 0730 ate and then went to bed for a nap. I feel slightly better but the rocking is pounding my upset tummy. L

We are supposed to start fishing in two days time, I expect the first line to be hitting the water at 0001 on new year’s day. With the first haul back around 0600. That is when this job gets tough.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Damn I am tired today. I went to bed pretty early last night, 2200, and took my sleeping pill and my Singular and a sea sick pill. Wasn’t feeling too hot. Got up this morning and feel pretty good but now I am super tired. It is just hard to sleep while this ship is rolling so much. Today and tomorrow is supposed to be a pretty laid back day over all. Everyone is getting ready for the fishing and the anticipation of the start of the season is just filling the air. The first haul back is anticipated on new year’s day around 0600 and I will be expected to be there, not for sampling since this is my first ship. I will watch how everything is working where to stand and how long it takes for a typical haul back. During this first set I ill ask for By-catch and complete my species ID forms for NMFS. I am about to play my game for a few hours and hopefully wake up a bit. I still need to complete my VHF and OHF forms for the day but that can wait till noon.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Well It has been a learning process on many levels. I was having difficulties during my first two hauls on board, with too much by catch and taking too long in between hauls and missing the Mag knots and losing samples. I overcame that fairly readily by sitting and timing the mags and how fast they came in so I could time my samples. I was able to start my sex/length samples with only a little timing issue and tried otoliths on my last haul and only got one pair in sted of the required two. I will have to work on that.

I have been off for three going on four hauls now due to the weather. The top deck is covered in ice, now that alone would not be enough to stop me from working but the fact that we are having 16 foot swells and 50 knot winds does play a large factor in whether I can work or not. Dude, the captain strogly suggested that I not sample for a while, at least till this storm blows through. I totally agreed with and thought that you would agree. I haven’t taken any photos yet, really nervous about bringing out my camera on the boat. Everyting in the factory is wet and bloody and slimy so I think I am going to wait until I can get that waterproof camera I was looking at before I left. I have more than enough clothes, in fact I probably have entirely too many clothes. I also did not need the two pairs of shoes and my crocs for this trip just my boots and my crocs. I wear my crocs on board when I am not working and my X-tra tuffs the rest of the time.

I question whether or not this is the right place for me, it is by far the toughest job I have ever had. It is challenging which is nice, but I am not sure I can do this for more than two years. It is also hard to find someone to connect with on an intellectual level, most of the hands and factory workers don’t have anything past a GED if their lucky. I think all of them have been in jail at least once and several of them have one or more child support payments.

I have discovered that I can get seasick. It took several days to build up to it but yesterday I was not feeling good and finally it dawned on me that I was seasick. I took one of my pills and a few hours later I was back on top of the world. I am off again today because of the weather. It is rather rough, and I am trying to stay occupied with reading and playing my games on the computer.

I have been communicating with my in-season advisor, Drew, and he has been extremely supportive in my decision making for the job. He has also been giving me Bengals updates. OUCH sounds like yesterdays game was the worst ever for the team.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It has been a very difficult eight days for me. I pretty much am either working waiting to work or sleeping. I have been working 18 -20 hour days with about 6-10 hours off. Not really in accordance with what NMFS wants but it is what they are getting. I just got done with a 22 hour shift and got a nice sleep and I have a bit of time before the next haul so I thought I would break out the computer and jot down some thoughts.

I am not really sure that this is the job for me. The work itself is not hard but the hours required to get the work done is horrible. I walk around in a zombie like state most of the time wishing that it would be over. Then I take a nap and realize that I was lead here for some reason and if this is where I am supposed to be then so be it.

I am holding out hope that I will get hired back by Bruce at ANP, I truly loved that job. I really got in to the work and met some great friends there. I hope that my current job is just a prelude to me working permanently for the NPS somewhere or the USFWS.

I do not have the time to work on my thesis for grad school and that is gnawing at me I need the internet for references and the time to do it.

I am hoping that I can keep working at this job until April and the go back to ANP in May sometime.

Still no pictures, It is killing me to see everything here and not be able to share it with you. The different fish, crabs, starfish and birds are pretty amazing. I need to get ready for the next haul.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Today is my second day without sampling because of weather and the boat’s first day without fishing. Boring! I have slept more in the past 48 hours then I can ever remember. I have played video games, edited pictures, and watched movies. I wish I had brought more books with me because I am about done with the five that I do have.

I wish I could work on my thesis but I really need the internet to get my citations. I guess I could put down a rough draft.

I had a dream last night that I was back at Acadia this summer, wonder if it comes true.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I went to bed last night with a very sore back. The fish were coming in very large, some of the largest yet or I was just lucky enough to sample the heaviest fish EVER! Thank God for the ketalorac that I still had from my last ‘episode’ of back pain. I woke up feeling good and ready to take on the world. I then found out that I had missed my intended haul by two hours but the next haul would be the last for this trip. WOOHOO! As I write this the last Mag is coming in now and we will get underway to Dutch. It will take about two and a half days to get there and then about 24 – 36 hours to off load then we will be underway again to get more fish.

On this last haul I got to be the rollerman for a little while. It was kind of fun and I had a great teacher out there, Jose, showing me the ropes. I will do it again and have someone take some pictures of me while doing it.

Can’t wait to hit port, I am looking forward to calling home and seeing how things are there make sure Gina is getting paid and that the kids and dog are ok. Then I am going to get the biggest diet Pepsi and down it, I really miss my sodas. When I get to port I have several things that I need to accomplish, the first (other than calling home) is to have a Mid-cruise debriefing, this will help me in pointing out any errors that I may have in my paperwork and I can ask questions to help clarify anything that might not be totally clear. I am then going to find internet and check e-mails and find out what is going on in the world. Then hit AK Supply and buy a 12 pack of soda and hide them in the reefer unit. I am debating on whether or not to get a hotel room for a night just for some peace and solitude. Just don’t know if I can justify spending any money when I have a perfectly good rack to sleep in.

Well that is all for now. I will try to post this when I hit port. And so we go…

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We started steaming for port last night around 2100. We have a two and a half day steam ahead of us, which will put us in port sometime Thursday morning. I have nothing to do now until we hit port. I need to start reading the offload section of my manual to see what my duties are when the offload begins.


I will be leaving today for another two to three weeks…

I received some great news today that I will almost certainly be headed back to Acadia for the summer. the only thing that will stop me is a job opportunity in New Mexico. It is a full time temp job for the summer Back woods banding…I am truly torn as to where I would like to go…I will just let it happen the way it is supposed to go.

Here are some things from the cruise.

Yes that is Ice

and more ice. this is Francis he is at the rolloer station

breaking ice


battery is almost dead that is all for now… I miss you all

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And now for some photos…

So being my typical self I forgot my CF card reader at home in Ohio. It was a $25 dollar mistake, but if that is the only thing I forgot then I am felling pretty good.

Apparently I didn’t have as many photos as I originally thought. so there are not many but they are pretty cool.

The view from the back window of the training center.

Different windw from the training center. This is High Noon and it is around 1600.

One of the few clear days we have had, it is around 1600 in this photo. Again this is from the back window of the training center.

The tree is covered in frost that happened from a fog that rolled in, I had never seen anything like it. You can see in the background the fog that was going on.

Common Raven. My roommate found this Raven in our garbage struggling to get out. It had somehow gotten hurt in the can and we tried to rehab it but unfortunately it did not make it. A sad day.

And I can't miss my chance to hold it either :)

So that is what I have so far. I promise to get more this week and of better quality. I am not leaving anywhere till Christmas eve so i plan on getting out and trying to get some photos.


Till next time

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I am Back!!!!

Hi everyone, I know that it looks like i have been sitting in the Seattle airport for about a month but those are only rumors. I finally have a bit of time to catch everyone up on what the heck I have been doing and what it is I will actually be doing for the next three or so months. So lets get to it.

I am now living in Anchorage Alaska (temporarily), while here i attended a three week training to be come a certified National Marine Fisheries, Groundfish Observer. What you ask is that? Great question. I am a representative of the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) and it is my duty to collect information from commercial fishing boats that operate in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands(BSAI) Fisheries. My job is to go out on to these vessels and to collect species composition data, Sex/Length/Weights, Otoliths (fish ear bones) and some other things. All of this data is used in real time or near real time to manage the north pacific ground fish. All of the rules are provided through the Magnuson-Stevens Act Revision 2006. Fishing vessels that wish to continue to fish (with some exceptions) are required to carry an Observer (that is me). It is going to be a very different job then i have ever had. I am excited about getting back to sea rough or not and I am still getting to do something with my hands outside (even when it is –40, ugh), so really it is going to be a great job.

My three week training was intense! In three weeks I learned how to identify fish that could be found in the fisheries that I could work in, I also learned that my attention to detail (read as anal retentive) when filling out paper work finally paid off. Paperwork is the name of the game for this job, I have six types of forms, minimally, that i have to fill out for just one fishing vessel. doesn’t sound like a lot but one of those is a raw data form called a deck sheet and every time I sample I have to fill those out. Most of the time i will be filling out like four to five a sample with six samples a day giving me a grand total of 30 deck sheet a day. Lots of writing. We also learned a lot about random sampling and how it applies to real life situations. I can finally say that I am starting to grasp what they were trying to teach me in stats class so long ago.

This training I said was intense, and that is truly an understatement. classes started at 0800 every day and went till 1700. There is also the fact that I walked to training everyday which is a mile and a half each way. These were long days of going over the manual, going over homework, Fish ID labs and test taking. The pressure is high due to the fact that if you don’t do the homework or fail any test, which is anything below an 80%, you were dropped from the program. Unfortunately we lost two people during the course of training. We lost one after the first test and one because of homework. Homework, this is not your average everyday run of the mill homework, most of the time it would take four to five hours to complete the written part filling out the various forms that we use. Even when you were done with that you still have a few hours of reading every night with reading questions. it was insane! Thankfully I did my work every night when I got home, after the briefest of conversations with my wife. Sorry they were so short baby.

The best day of training was our survival training. It was a whole day dedicated to what to do during emergencies at sea and what we should do to survive should an accident happen at sea. the biggest part was us at  the pool donning our immersion suits and getting into the pool and boarding the survival raft. the immersion suit, also called a Gumby suit, is the one piece of survival equipment that will hopefully save our lives if we have to abandon ship. they taught us different was to link up in the water so we could stay together, how to turn over our raft should it flip and how to get into the basket that the Coast Guard uses. We also learn how to throw life rings and life slings to a person who might have fallen overboard. here is a picture of me in my survival suit.

2009-12-15 14.37.34

2009-12-15 14.38.05

It was a welcome break form the rigors of class.

I am happy to say that I successfully passed the class!!!!  It was such a relief to see my final grade (93%) on my final exam. So now I am an official North Pacific Groundfish observer.

So the next steps, first I will be getting a physical on Monday. Apparently they need to make sure i am breathing before heading out to sea. From what the Priors (the people who have had contracts before) tell me it is a joke. After the physical on Monday the plan is to fly out to Dutch Harbor on Christmas Eve and then board my boat on the 26th. the current plan is for me to be on board a Longline vessel for my entire contract which should take me to March of next year.

What else has been going on…

Not much to be honest. I have been getting used to the time difference between Ohio and here, I always have to remind my self that Gina and the kids day is pretty much over by the time I get home from training. I have also been getting used to the short ‘daylight’ hours here. Not really much daylight but a brightening of the sky really. The COLD is something else that I am becoming accustomed to as well. Last night was our coldest night since i have been here (-7) but I have slowly gotten used to the fact that everything here is cold and covered in snow.

I have also seen two birds here that made my life list the Black-billed Magpie and the Bohemian Waxwing.

Black-billed Magpie

Bohemian Waxwings

last night I went out to purchase my work gear. I will have photos later to show everyone.

You might notice that the photos are not of my usual quality, they are from my phone and they are good for what they are. I was sitting down today to start blogging when i realized that i had forgotten my card reader in Ohio and i didn’t have a cable to connect my camera to the computer. If that is the only thing i forgot at home then I am ahead of the game. I plan on heading out to WallyWorld today or tomorrow to get a new one and some other odds and ends that i still need.

I will post more later.

and so we go…

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sitting in Seattle

The first leg is behind me and I have one more to go. The first flight out of Cincinnati was fine, I must say however that I am sad to see the free meal go the way of the dinosaur. It also saddens me to see that it now costs for luggage to go with you. $20 with Delta. Not really sure why, I can ‘carry on’ my luggage as long as i am not traveling for more then a weekend. 

I go tot watch a cute movie on the flight, “(500) Days of Summer”. good indy film the lead actress also played Dorothy in the SyFy “Tin Man”.

Food also costs unless you are a first class passenger then it is included. I am not first class I don’t even think that i am third class. I will send something out when I land in Anchorage.

Here is a photo of me sitting across from my gate. AHHH, I have a huge head...a pic from my new phone.