I had a chance to do a little kayaking the other day. It was rainy and wet (of course, it’s Alaska!), but it was awesome. Kayaking in Tracy Arm is one of those life list kind of things.
In Juneau today, I had a chance to stop in to Art Sutch Photography to talk photos with Art and have a glance at some of the cool goodies he has in his tiny store. Art is more than a wedding photographer, though that is obviously where he makes his money. He is also a diver, underwater photographer, nature photographer, and he runs the store. In the store he has some great equipment for sale, mostly Fuji and Nikon, tripods and goodies. He is actually the one who turned me on to Fuji digital cameras, which I am grateful for.
Art is a great guy to hang out and shoot the breeze with, with a cool attitude and a wealth of information. I always love my visits there.
If you are ever in Juneau and need camera gear, stop in and say hi to Art. Even if you just want to talk photography, you should still stop in and chat.
Southeast Alaska is a special place. I’ve been coming up here since 2008 and I am still I’m not tired of the sights, the beauty is beyond comparison. I know that there are lots of pretty places in the world, but I think this one ranks in the top few.
Tracy Arm is spectacular. Two glaciers at the end of a fjord with 3000 foot cliffs on either side. There’s no place better in Alaska, or maybe even North America in my opinion.
The humpback whales are everywhere. This alone is great, but add to that the spectacle bubble net cooperative feeding and the show becomes epic.
Drop dead vistas around every corner, there’s a reason why cruise ships come here by the dozens. There are so many bays and arms to hang out in, it still seems isolated.
A million different ways to play in Alaska make it easy to explore. Not cheap, mind you, but easy. Float planes, ferries, kayaks, cruise ships, even some roads make for excellent adventures. Most people have no idea how cool it is to take a float plane ride or have a ship drop you on a beach for a night to camp, or making a kayak trip up Glacier Bay, but I can assure you, it’s awesome.
Living a life at sea isn’t always easy, but there are rewards and being able to visit places like this is one of them.
It is nice to be back in southeast Alaska, BUT it’s COLD! I managed to get a little too used to the nice weather back home and all that great time sitting along side the Yuba River has got me spoiled. 50 degrees and rainy. That’s the weather here. Well, at least it’s pretty.
On a good note, the whales and the bears are here too. At least I will have some company.
Cooperative feeding or bubblenetting is the practice used by humpback whales to feed on herring in southeast Alaska. How it works is that between 8 and 20 whales meet up and find a school of herring. When the school is located one whale breaks off from the group and starts swimming around directly under the school of fish, blowing bubbles in a circular motion. The bubbles form a net around the little fish which confuses them and traps them in a tight group. While the bubble blower, or trumpeter, is doing his work the rest of the whales are hovering below waiting for the word go. As the herring become confused the whales open their mouths directly below them and swim straight up, catching hundreds of herring in the process. A whole school of herring can be consumed in rather short order.
It is my understanding that whales in other parts of the world do a similar practice alone, only a select few of the same whales do this cooperatively and all of them do it in Alaska.
And now you know why we get so excited about seeing it.
Today was the day. We finally came across whales doing what I think is the coolest thing a whale can do. Cooperative feeding or “bubblenetting” doesn’t happen very often, and this year has been living proof of that. This was the first time this year that I’ve got a chance to see the humpbacks in action, and only the fourth time that anyone has seen them here in southeast Alaska. I was feeling very privileged today, and then we ran into the Orcas.
A huge pod of Orcas hanging out all around the ship, at times even swimming back and forth UNDER the ship, and putting on an awesome show. There were several times when they were so close we could have spit on them, which is pretty amazing considering we were just floating there with the engines out of gear and they were playing with us. Orca aren’t usually like this, so to say that we got a special treat would be an understatement.
I’ll work on pictures for a show and tell here soon.
As I sit here on the plane flying north to meet the M/V Nat Geo Sea Bird I wonder what great new fun surprises await me. My last rotation was the most difficult I’ve ever had, from a technical stand point, and things don’t appear to be a whole lot better in the near future. We have been suffering ever since we had our generators rebuilt last December, the couple guys that came down and did the work were inexperienced and that is showing now. On top of all that, a machine can only be rebuilt so many times, after a while all of he little things start failing and that’s where we are at now. Chasing down wires that are corroded, grounded or broken is never easy, especially when it’s more than one of these items on the same circuit.
While I don’t think that all of this is a safety concern at this point, there are several recent incidences on large cruise ships that come to mind, and that makes it all a little scary. When you live in a world where you have backups, but other than that you have nothing, it’s not so comforting to know that the backups are as bad or worse than the primary system. There is no tow truck, AAA, or service station on the corner out there on the ocean.
I have no doubt that I can overcome all of any issue that might come up, but I am mostly talking about this today as a reminder of the fact that there is inherent dangers that go right along with being on a ship at sea. Some times things go bad, some times things go bad and people are inconvenienced, and some times people even die. Am I saying that you should avoid ships? Not at all, because if we live life afraid of what could happen we would never make good things happen. Just remember something if you do ever make it out to sea for a trip or even better to work, it’s a fragile thing, enjoy it, and appreciate the hard work that makes it possible. There’s a guy in a room somewhere down below making it all happen. Appreciate it.
Oddly enough, I am surrounded by beauty, things that make people say “WOW!” every day and yet I still find a way to become complacent. The human brain is an interesting thing. It’s rather funny to me that life ends up this way, but it sure does. It makes me wonder how best to battle the complacency. I try pretty hard to have a camera in my hand and find excitement wherever I can, because I feel like it helps pass the time better for lack of a more descriptive term.
As I go further along I find that being put in front of a beautiful thing is simply not enough to create happiness in life. A good example of this would be a beautiful woman or man. If you are single and looking for your soul mate you will come across many beautiful people that will attract you in different ways, but of its not the right way you will never have a lasting relationship. I believe that life is like this as well. I believe that if you don’t chose the RIGHT lifestyle for you, you will never be happy. Dating the wrong person, living in an uncomfortable place, or working a job you hate, it’s all the same. If you are unhappy with any of these things, you cannot be a truly happy person.
On top of all that then is the fact that we can become complacent with the things we love and fall out of love with them. So my question or you, is how do we as human beings avoid complacency?
To me, there’s only one way. Releasing your inner child. Never lose your ability to ask “why?” or do something completely random just for the sake of doing it. If there is one thing I’ve learned from the older folks who travel with me it’s this. Keep your inner child in tact. Stand on an iceberg, even if everyone tells you it’s not safe and you shouldn’t do it.