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...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Killers, Rainbows, and Cliffs

So I’m sitting here, making Uncle Eddie proud by watching the second half of the Michigan State game, so I decided to make a post. However, by the time this gets posted online, the game will already be over. So Uncle Eddie, sorry if State lost and I just sent you into another depression after you’ve already recovered.

There isn’t a whole lot new… it’s that time of year where I have no good work stories because it’s all very routine work. Same ‘ol work every day… feed fish. The fish are growing good… too good actually. TOO GOOD, you say… IS THAT POSSIBLE!? Well sorta. It’s good that they are growing great. But last year when Adam had to figure out how much food he needed for this year, he estimates that the fish will grow at a certain percentage and right now they are growing BETTER than that percentage. We have different sizes of food and we switch the food when the fish hit certain size marks… So when they grow better than expected, they get to that size but we still have a lot of food left. We still have to feed all that food out so instead of switching them at 0.5 grams, we have to switch their food at 0.6 grams or something. When the food is too small for the fish, they just have to work too hard to get it. So it’s just not as beneficial for them. Yeah so I hope that all made sense… a bit of hatchery science for you.

(Ohh a Spartan just dunked… NICE.)

ANYHOW, our weather has been so off and on that it’s getting to be really a pain! Not just like “Oh it’s raining… have to put on my rain gear to feed” but every time we have to switch out for Takatz, the weather is usually bad. Last week, we had to leave the hatchery early to go back because it was going to get worse. Then this week, we couldn’t leave Takatz because it was crappy so we had to work another day and got back Thursday. TODAY we are supposed to switch out and go back to TK but I don’t think we can because it’s windy and choppy in the water. It’s sunny though… this second. A few minutes ago it was rainy. We actually got a bit of snow on Thursday, which happened to be April Fool’s day! That Mother Nature and her jokes! None of use appreciated that much.

There has also been annoying business with our seasonals also. We just had one leave last week. He surprised us with that one a month ago… Well he was one of our Takatz people so we had to get another person to go down. But… they don’t want to or don’t feel comfortable with it or the other person or something. I’ve been stewing about this whole thing for a few days… and I probably shouldn’t really even say much about it, in case someone reads this. It’s just been really annoying and like they are trying to make up their own rules, even though they’ve been here for about a month.

IN OTHER NEWS, I have told a bunch of people this story already but didn’t put it on here. About two weeks ago, we were down at Takatz and took Tucker to his favorite beach. Well Adam wanted to go looking for some ducks in this one area so we hiked over there. Then we hiked back and as we were getting close to the beach, we got to this spot where there was a small drop off. Well Tucker was in the lead but Adam stopped him and told him to turn back. Adam turned around and walked toward me, then stopped and said “Where’d he go?” “I DUNNO!” I said. “OH NO, DID HE FALL!?” Adam said as we both went to the drop off. Sure enough, Tucker was at the bottom. Now we arent’ talking like a hundred feet or anything! It was only like 10 feet. But that could do some damage. We aren’t sure if he jumped or maybe fell as he went to turn back, but he was down at the bottom… and he was bleeding.

Well, right then, I turn into SCARED MOM and we get down there. By then he was freaking out in a snow drift and rubbing his nose in the snow, smearing blood around. We got to him and saw that he had a gash on his lip and some scratch down one side of his nose. But he was walking and nothing else was hurt. We calmed him down and tried to stop the bleeding. We did mostly and he got up and basically started acting normal. CRAZY DOG! Well we took him back to the house and he was still bleeding a bit and we saw that he broke two of his front teeth. I was really worried but I started feeling better after a while. Now it’s been two weeks and his lip is almost all the way healed, which is good, because we were sort of worried it would get infected. We are going to have to address his teeth when we can get into town, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by them.



Last week, when we went back to Takatz, there were two Killer Whales in bay! This is only the second time I’ve seen any in my 4 years up here. It was probably a mom and calf, but I only got a picture of the mom, I think. This was the only picture I managed to snap before they disappeared under the water, probably because they sensed or heard the boat. But for this being the only picture I could get, I was pretty surprised by how good it turned out. Unless they jump all the way out of the water, this is about as much whale as you are going to get in a picture. I’m pretty happy about it.


Because it’s been rainy lately, we’ve seen a few really nice rainbows down at Takatz. Here are two that I got pictures of.


This rainbow was partly a double rainbow, but you can't see it well.

Well I hope you all have a HAPPY EASTER! We’ll be feeding fish.

P.S. They lost… Sorry Uncle Eddie! :-(