I'm working as a Fish Culturist at Hidden Falls Salmon Hatchery in a remote spot near Sitka, Alaska! AM I CRAZY!? I'm starting to think so...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Start of Senior Year

Hello! Welcome to the beginning of YEAR 4! If this was school, I’d be a senior right now! That’s kinda how I feel around here too. We’ve got 2 of the 3 seasonals here now, and today was the first day of Chum ponding. I’m Ye Ol’ Wise one around here, besides Adam and the boss. It’s nice to be the one who knows what they are doing, but then again, the new girls look at me like lost puppies sometimes! I don’t really like that, but I imagine I was the same way 4 years ago. I’m having a hard time remembering how I was… though I do remember my first day of chum ponding 4 years ago. This will make me sound old, but these girls have it easy these days! HA Back in my first year, we had to push the boxes full of water and fish using man power. Now we have an airlift that you just push the pedal and the box lifts for you. I remember going to my room after work that first ponding day, and lying on my floor because my back hurt… there may or may not have been a few tears. The girls were welcomed to working in Alaska with some beautifully NASTY windy and rainy weather, though. Back in MY day, we had SNOW! You all know what I’m talkin’ about!

Speaking of weather, my world has been covered in a thick white pea soup fog for the past three days! That means no plane today and no 3rd seasonal… that also means no ice cream party get together that we have been trying to have for the past week for when everyone is here. We do, however, have NO snow. It’s pretty unbelievable! This is probably what that guy was talking about when he first hired me… “Oh we don’t get much snow…” I keep looking over across the lagoon waiting to see a bear walk out. Having no snow just means that the hatchery is muddy, which means our yellow lab becomes part black lab! Oh well, he loves it.

Up until today, there hasn’t been much going on here. Lots of boring “odds and ends”…”odds and ins”??? What IS the correct phrase!? Tomorrow we’ll have our first chum of the season in saltwater. It will take 7 more days until all the Hidden Falls chum are ponded. Tomorrow, the American Patriot will come and tow our chum pens and house down to Takatz, and offload our food for the season into the house. Hopefully the boat will be here early and we can get it all done in one day. Hopefully this pea soup goes away too and we can start seeing stuff again!
I’m ready to get back to Takatz. I hope this will be a good WARM DRY season! Since the winter was good, but wet, who knows what that will mean for the rest of the year? Takatz is always a nice break… it’s quiet. Even though I like having my tv, I feel like it’s just a huge distraction. I missing listening to my satellite radio shows and I’ll get more reading done. I still have a 1200 page Steven King book to read! I think Tucker is going to like it too. He was so young when he was last there so he probably doesn’t even remember being there. But I think he’ll like having the freedom of being with us all day and doing whatever he wants. The only problem I foresee is that since he IS bigger, he’s going to ALWAYS be in the way inside the house. Our living room is tiny there… and he used to like to lie under the coffee table. He’ll still fit but he’s about as big as the table now!

Well that’s about all I have now. I don’t have any new pictures… I don’t think? Our internet has been really bad this whole week so I wouldn’t be able to post them anyhow. Oh, just so you know, because I talked about this a bunch when I was still home… Right now, we have daylight from about 7:15am-5:45pm-ish. Hope everyone is great!

UPDATE: I started this a few days ago, but our internet has been so bad that I couldn’t post it. The pea soup lifted the next day and the new guy, Nate, came. We had our ice cream party that night and had fun. It was a good thing to do, so that everyone could hang out and talk and stuff. The Takatz pens and house are now down at Takatz. We’re not sure when we’ll go down quite yet but I checked the fish today and they are getting really close. We are just waiting on the boat to come from in town. I’ll keep you posted and email you when we’re going to head down there. When we do, we’ll be down there for more than a week straight. We stay down there while we’re doing all the fish transfers and we’ll be there a few days ahead to get everything set up.

Today has started out to be a great day, with sun and everything. We are actually getting sun on the hatchery for a bit now. Benji is off today so I’m taking care of the Hidden Falls chum that we have out in saltwater. So far, I’m only feeding 4 pens of fish, and we have 2 more pens of fish out there that were just pushed out there today. So they’ll start getting fed tomorrow. It’s a good day to be out there because the sun was shining on the pens all morning. The high today was 45!! Oh and Scott plotted this graph to show the snow fall amount compared to past years. This year we’ve had 34 inches of snow. It looks pretty funny next to last year’s 240 inch mark!