Pilsbury Lake

We spent the first leg of our trip in Lake county, north of Clear Lake in Northern California. I hadn’t been to this place before, and I’m sure glad we made the trek out there! We met my step-brother and his half-brother and we spent the whole weekend four wheeling and cruising around in his ski boat. We even made it to the top of the nearest mountain on a 4×4 route for a good look at the lake below, which is the picture above.

Good stuff, now we head east!

Heading out tomorrow

I’ve been in California for a couple of days now. It’s nice to be here, but the truck is packed and we are out of here. Even at this point the details of this trip are completely up in the air. I only today realized that I was headed to a National Park on 4th of July weekend! DUH!

So now the plan is to stay off the beaten path, see how things go, and head to Utah. From there we can wait out the storm for a bit, then head south to Moab and where ever else after the holiday.

Tomorrow we will actually be heading west, to meet up with my brother, where we will be camping out over in the redwoods near a town called Willits. I’ve not been to this place before, so it should be exiting and new. After that we will head back to the east following along highway 50 from Lake Tahoe to Lehman caves in eastern Nevada. I’m not sure how long we will take to get to that point, but there’s no big hurry. From there I hope to get a feel for how the crowds will be, but most likely we will end up going over to Orem for a few days of waiting and visiting.

All in all, I’m going to be exploring, camping and having fun. What else could I ask for?

On my way home

I’m off the boat now, it’s been another great rotation on the Sea Lion. I kept pretty busy this go around, but I also made time for some pretty cool things. Fishing was a kick, and I learned a bit about what to do the next time around. Halibut definitely like squid and squid looking lures, as well as little herrings. I’ll focus on that the next go around, but I’m also going to try and pick up a king salmon as I’m sure they are a kick.

I also got to make a run up into Ford’s Terror, my favorite place to go up here. The scenery is just so over the top. It’s really everything that I have pictured Alaska to be in my mind all of these years. Very cool, so cool in fact that it makes me want to get a boat just so that I can go there myself in the future. Maybe someday, anyways.

Finally got a hold of my daughter last night, and it was great to hear her voice. I’m pretty excited about the next couple of weeks, hanging with her. It should be a great time.

Hanging out in Petersburg last night was pretty cool, the town is pretty small. It’s nice to spend some time in a real Alaska town, and not a cruise ship tourist trap. I spent a good couple hours just watching the fishing boats go in and out of Wrengell Narrows. I also got to see the Alaska State Ferry stroll in, too. I’d like to take a trip on that, some day. Maybe next summer I could work something out.

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be in California. Back to life. Back to reality.

Almost done

It’s been a good go for me up here in Alaska. Six weeks goes by so quickly! What seems like just the other day, I was making my way up here. Now I’m headed back. I haven’t had much of a chance to talk to my daughter, but the tentative plan is to head out of California no later than the first of July and be on our way out to Utah.

It’s been a good run for me, up here. The weather has been real nice, I’ve seen more wildlife than any other time out and I’ve somehow managed to keep the ship together for another round. Speaking of which, I got my first annual performance review the other day. I was glad to see that both the chief engineer and the captain are very grateful for my hard work, and it looks as if I’ll be welcome back for some time to come. It’s good to feel appreciated.

The next time I post, I’ll give you some idea of where I’ll be headed on my vacation and talk a bit more about my plans for the future. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about it lately.

Caught my first Halibut!

Yesterday I purchased my Alaska state week fishing license with the hope of catching some Halibut and got off to a good start. It started with a pretty good size fish around noon, but I got a bit a head of myself and ended up losing it. Once the fish got up to where it could get a good look at the boat it decided to run on me. The fish ran under the prop, and when I gave chase the prop cut my line! I was a little bummed out, but it also got me pretty pumped up.

Later in the day I had a line out, but got a call on the radio. I set the pole down and told a friend to watch for me. After about twenty minutes I returned to find my buddy standing by the pole and nothing going on. I decided to reel it in and check the bait, and then it happened. I got a hit, and set it just right. The fish gave a little run, then I brought it home. It ended up being a smaller fella, maybe 25 pounds, so I put him back. It wasn’t much, but it sure was fun. I hope that the week will bring me more.

This is my last full trip of this rotation out here in south east Alaska. It’s been a good run, with tons of wild life. I’ve seen brown and black bears, soaring bald eagles, bow riding dalls porpoises, and bubble netting humpback whales. It’s been great. This time next week, I’ll be heading home. I’m ready to see my kids. I can’t wait.

Ford’s Terror

On Saturday we made it out to my favorite place of all that we go to. Ford’s Terror is a small inlet off of Endicott Arm that has quite the selection of waterfalls for my viewing pleasure. There’s 4000 foot cliffs lining either side and waterfalls every 1/2 mile or so along the whole length. The best part is that there is a section about a 1/2 mile into it that is really skinny. This is the section that helped in the naming process. Apparently, a man named ford paddled into the inlet, then when he was headed back out the tide had risen making it nearly impossible to get out. I heard a rumor that this happened to the famous John Muir as well. In typical me fashion, I shot a ton of blury pictures and not one was worth posting. Hopefully I’ll get to go back this season.

Things are going well on the boat right now. I’ve been getting quite a bit done, and working hard to keep things in shape. I think it’s starting to show. Other than the normal piddly things (toilets and heaters, mostly) things are running good!

Just about two more weeks now on my rotation and I’m starting to think more and more about what to do. I’ve been wanting to do this camping road trip with Mia and now I’m thinking that it would be cool to take her to the ocean for a few nights. I know that it’s the wrong direction, but maybe I could work out a nice loop. I’ll have to think about it a bit more.

Big news from the Office

We got some bad news and some good news from the office today, and it’s creating quite a stir on the boat right now.

The bad news is that the boat I currently work on the National Geographic Sea Lion will not be returning to Baja after we are done with shipyard this year as usual. The higher ups have come to the conclusion that with the worsening economy, the swine flu and increasing drug cartel violence, there will not be enough interest in our Baja Expeditions to have two ships in the area at the same time. This is pretty dramatic, because this company has had two ships in the Sea of Cortez for nearly twenty years now. I’m sad that I won’t be going back there in the future on this boat, because I’ve gotten very fond of the area.

The good news far outweighs the bad, though. Instead of the Baja trips, we will be heading farther south to pick up where an aging ship will leave off. The National Geographic Sea Voyager has seen better days, and is going to be retired as of now. We will be taking their place through the winter month, cruising from Panama City, through the Panama Canal and then on to Costa Rica. I can’t even begin to say how awesome this is going to be! I’ve wanted to do this cruise for some time, but now I will get the chance to work it! YAY!!!

I’ll let you know more as I find out!