"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

2 days, 2 fish

On my second day in Juneau, I went out halibut fishing. Halibut are fish the live on the bottom of the ocean and are very strange fish. When they are babies, their eyes are normal with one on each side of its head. As they grow bigger, their one eye migrates over to the other side of their head. Since they live on the bottom of the ocean, this allows both eyes to face up toward everything that's happening in the ocean and doesnt waste 50% of its eyesight looking down at the mud. The picture above shows me reeling in my first big catch. It took 20 minutes to reel in 400ft of line with this huge halibut on the end.
It weighed 80 pounds!!! The captain of the boat, Mike, filleted it for me and cut it into meal sized portions. Then we shipped it over to the meat processing company where it was vacuum packed and flash frozen.
The next day, Mike invited me to go out fishing on his day off with some of his friends. I couldnt believe it, but I caught another HUGE fish! Everybody was shocked that I caught two huge fish in two days. The second one weighed 102 pounds!!!
Here is the 102 pounder being filleted. You can see that the cheek has already been removed. The cheeks are considered the delicacy.
The second one took about 15 minutes to reel in and came from about the same depth. The next day, my whole body was sore and I had bruises all over the tops of my thighs from where I had dug the rod into my leg to get leverage to help reel it in. One of my friends asked, "What you do, get in a street fight with the fish?"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

This is what I really meant by touch a glacier!

The next day after arriving in Juneau, I did the helicopter glacier trek. I got all geared up with a group of other tourists and made my way over to the awaiting helicopter.
On the way to the glacier, we had many splendid views of the scenery.

Below is Auke Lake and Auke Bay. The university that I'm a attending is the group of buildings in between Auke Lake and Auke Bay. On the left middle of the picture. The dorms are the group of buildings on the far right middle edge of the picture. Everyday we have to walk through bear infested woods to get down to the university for class.
Before we went to the glacier that we were hiking on, we went to Herbert glacier. It was beautiful. The dark line running down the center is called the medial morraine. It is the spot where the ice from the two glaciers that combine come together. It is all the dirst and rocky material that the two glaciers scraped on the edges of the mountains as they move down the ice field.
Here you can see the waves in the ice from the movement of the glacier. Pretty cool. The ice field that makes up the glacier is the size of Rhode Island. There are 38 named glaciers that make up the ice field. The average depth of the ice is 1000ft.
A beautiful mountain valley.
another great view of the ocean
I got to ride up front. It was awesome!
When we got to the glacier, the first thing we did was put on a helmet and the second thing we did was put on crampons. Crampons are metal spike that are strapped to the bottom of your boots. They did a good job of keep us from falling on the ice.
Just to give you an idea of how big this part of the glacier is....can you see the people hiking up the left side of the glacier? No? Take a closer look...They are the little dots right in the middle of the picture about a third of the way up. Pretty big glacier, eh? This part of the glacier is called an ice fall. It's like a water fall, but with ice. There is a cliff right here and as the ice moves down the mountain, the ice falls over the cliff.
This is the base camp...the area where the helicopter lands and the tent for basic supplies is set up. You can see part of the city and the ocean from this view.
These extra blue parts are the parts where the white frosty ice on the top has melted away to uncover the more densely packed glacier ice underneath.
This was a crevass that we hike through.
There were pristine, clear little streams and waterfalls all over the glacier from melt runoff.
Glacier ice is 10 times more dense that regular ice. That is why blue is the only color that is reflected off the of the ice. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and, therefore, more energy and is the only color that can escape the crystalline structure of the ice.

This is actually a hole filled with water. The water is so clear that you cant even see it in the picture. It was so much more amazing that it looks in the picture.
We got to fill up our water bottles with this amazing, perfectly clear water.
I did it!!! I conquered the glacier. and completed Number 3 the way it was intended to be completed when I wrote it.
As we take off in the helicopter, the next group prepares to hike the glacer ice flow.
The glacier from the air.
The Mendenhall Glacier and Mendenhall Lake below it
What an amazing experience!!! I'm glad I choose to do this for one of my activities. If you come to Juneau, you should do it!!!

Record rainfall in Bethel (not Juneau)

Record Report

Statement as of 1:30 am AKDT on July 29, 2010

... New record rainfall for yesterday...

Bethel had a new record rainfall total of 1.24 inches for
Wednesday July 28th 2010. The old record rainfall was 0.69
was 1996.

Do you think I'm happy not to be in Bethel right now? Yes. We've actually had sun here in the rainly west coast. Yesterday I wore shorts and a tank top. I sat on the grass listening to the stories of the Tlingit elder while basking in the sun's rays.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Swimming Eagle

I was standing down by the boat harbor this morning in Juneau waiting to go fishing. There were bald eagles everywhere. They were having breakfast. It was about 6:30am. This eagle was attacked in the air by another eagle. For what reason, I dont know. The eagle fell into the water. It sat there stunned and confused for a minute or two. It tried to fly away but couldn't take off. So, as a last resort it started swimming. I asked my fishing guide who has lived in Juneau his whole life if he's ever seen that before and he said no. Pretty interesting sight!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Juneau, here I come!

I'm on my way to Juneau tomorrow, the capital of Alaska. I get in at about 2:30 on Wednesday. I think I'm just going to drive around town and check things out the first day. Get to know the place and maybe do a little bit of shopping. Then on Thursday, I'm going on a helicopter glacier hike. Should be amazing.
Then on Friday, I'm going halibut fishing. Hopefully I'll catch a big one. The limit is 1, so the first one I get is the one that I keep. We will also fish for lingcod and rockcod.

Then on Friday, I'm going to do the zipline over on Douglas Island. It is up in the rainforest canopy and should be a great view. I'm really looking forward to my trip to Juneau. I'm going down 5 days early before my class starts so that I can have some time to do some fun things and see the sights. This trip will also finish off number 30 on the birthday list. There are plenty of other things I'm planning to do while in Juneau, but those three are my major fun events while I'm there. It's supposed to rain everyday, which is typical for SouthEast Alaska (it is a rainforest, after all), but I'm really hoping for at least a few days of sunshine before I have to head back to Bethel and kiss my summer goodbye.

Wool Socks Are Good

It's a cold, rainy day here in Bethel. It's one of those days that makes me want to curl up on the couch with a good book, take naps, drink warm drinks, and wear my pj's. Cold feet can be a problem on a day like today. Regular socks just dont do the trick for cold feet, but wool socks are great. My feet have not been cold all day. The great thing is that these socks arent big and thick like what I used to think of when I thought of wool socks. These are just like wearing any other pair of socks. LOVE, love, love them!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Science Camp

Here are just a few glimpes into the Summer Science camp. We did 9 lessons in all...rockets, flame testing, health/guts, salmon anatomy, cake chemistry, soil analysis, seasons, lego car competition, and forensics.