Sea otter entertainment

A sea otter in Seward Harbor

We were down at the docks early one morning, anxious to get out on the water to chase some cohos.

While we waited, a sea otter was putting on a show.

The sea otter with some herring

The otter would dive, then come up with 3-4 herring. It would eat one, while keeping the rest sitting on its chest. Only the best part of the bait fish was eaten, and the rest quickly discarded. No doubt, there was no shortage of food for the otter in the harbor.

The sea otter eating some mussels

For the second course, the sea otter turned to some sort of mussel. The sound of the sea otter crunching away on the shell was clearly audible. In fact, I took one video, where the crunching sound seemed to echo across the harbor. The otter would eat for a bit, then spin effortlessly in the water, dumping the broken shells off its chest, then go back to eating, only to repeat the entire process.

I could have spent a much longer time watching the sea otter, but there were salmon to catch, and the Captain was ready to head out.

But not before he came over to join us, and take a quick picture of the sea otter. “It’s my daughter’s favorite animal,” he said, before herding us toward his boat.


September!

Fireweed gone to seed

Of the twelve months, September is my favorite in Interior Alaska. That holds true even though I know what lies just around the corner.

The length of days would be considered “normal” in the Outside world. Sunrise on the final day of August was 6:29am, with sunset coming in at 9:12pm, for a loss of 7 minutes from the day before.

Mornings carry a heavy dew, and there is a definite chill to the air. We have already seen several nights with a hard frost. A hike down any trail is likely to bring the scent of woodsmoke from a cabin or two. Finally, the scent comes from chimneys and not wildfires.

The change of colors has started

The sound of cranes and geese filled the air today, as they gather their flocks for the trip south. A bull moose showed himself this morning; his massive set of antlers now devoid of velvet. For the next two weeks, I expect he will make himself scarce.

Finishing preparations for the coming winter likely dominate thoughts, but one can not forget to get outside and enjoy the brilliance of this month of transformation.

As much as I love the long days of June, I revel in the colorful days of September.


Kenai Burning

The view from the Parks Highway: McKinley Fire

The road to Seward had an unexpected gauntlet north of the town of Willow, Alaska. Severe winds had knocked over a power pole, and the resulting sparks set off a wildfire along the Parks Highway.

The winds were still howling when we went through. Firefighters were on the scene, but things didn’t look good. By the time we made it to Anchorage, we learned that the fire had made the jump, and both sides of the road had flames. The Parks had been closed to traffic behind us.

A smokey Seward Harbor

The high winds continued on the Kenai Peninsula, as we drove south on the Seward Highway. The Swan Lake Fire had been all but contained, but the winds gave it a breath of new life, which closed the Sterling Highway, and left the taste of burning spruce in all of our throats.

Out on Resurrection Bay: Looking back at Seward Harbor

Once on the water, the smoke diminished some, but we didn’t really escape it until we were out in the Gulf of Alaska.

To date, Seward had seen 2.25″ of rain, which is unheard of. They normally see 64″ in a year. The town of Homer had been hit even harder still, with only 1.15″ of rain this season. Needless to say, the Kenai Peninsula is seeing drought conditions.

The fishing was good, and at times great. There was no rain in the foreseeable forecast, so no one had rain jackets. The temps were in the 70’s F, and we all ended up fishing in short sleeves. Out of all my trips to Alaska’s coast to fish, this one may have been the most surreal.


Sunrise over Resurrection Bay


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SS Nenana Day

Artwork: The SS Nenana

Saturday, August 17 is SS Nenana Day at Pioneer Park.

Friends of the old stern wheeler are throwing it a party to help with finances for her renovation. Celebrate the Last Lady of the River.


Sunset over Quartz

Sunset over Quartz Lake; Camera: Leica M3, Film: Kodak 35mm, Ektar 100


Woodstock at 50

Yasgur Farm

On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Music Festival got underway near Bethel, NY.

Three days of Peace & Music. Richie Havens took the stage at 5:07 pm as the first act that Friday in 1969.

Woodstock plaque erected in 1984

The Curator and I visited the site in March of 2018, after attending the ECAC Conference Hockey tournament at Lake Placid.

Turn up your CCR and Santana this weekend.


Niagara River

City of Niagara from Goat Island; Camera: Leica M3, Film: Kodak 35mm Ektar 100


Dry docked

Sitting high along the Erie Canal; Camera: Leica M3, Film: Kodak 35mm Ektar 100