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...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hunt for Warm October

Well it's October and the hunt is on! No, not the hunt for our long underwear! Though that's not too far off... The hunt for a winter vacation! Though most of you guys on Facebook know that because I’ve been posting my comments on the vacation search. It’s hard to figure out but I won’t bore you all with that. I just want to go somewhere warm. And as I sit here on our cold, dreary Saturday watching Michigan State beat on Michigan on a bright warm sunny October day, I feel jealous of you Michigan people! While you guys have potential for warm colorful fall days, we just have rain and cold! Oh well… we have a lot of green… and lots of bears… who like to poop all over our hatchery. I guess that isn’t helping Alaska’s beauty…

Besides rain and more rain (we had 3 inches of rain in one day last week), there isn’t all that much new, but I haven’t posted in a while so there is some stuff. I went to Juneau about three weeks ago with Jacquie and her two kids. I spent my birthday in town and had dinner with some ladies in town. Then on Wednesday, we took the ferry to Juneau. We took the “fast ferry” and it only took about 4 hours. It was my first time on the ferry and it was a pretty cool experience. It’s a huge boat and it just goes so fast for a boat that size! I mean, we aren’t talking 80 mph but it goes about 30 mph. If you stick your head out the side, the wind hits you pretty hard. The prop wash out the back of the boat is pretty cool to watch and just makes the boat seem so much more powerful. Like, if you fell off the back of the boat into that prop wash, you wouldn’t come back up.

This is the ferry... I think it was like 125 feet long.

Prop wash = power!

Anyhow, we didn’t really do that much in Juneau. We shopped a bunch. We went to Costco and spent a lot of money! I got to go to a movie which was nice. They do have a mall but it’s pretty lame… but they had a Joann Fabrics! We went downtown and shopped some more. The cruise season was winding down to a close when we were there, though there were two huge ships in, and there were a lot of good deals on clothes and other stuff. On our last full day there, we went to the Mendenhall Glacier which is pretty cool. The glacier goes right down to the water so there are icebergs broken off in the water. I’ve never seen a real iceberg so that was neat. We left on the ferry the next day around 8am, got into Sitka around 12:30 and caught a flight back out to the hatchery after that. We had GREAT weather the whole time we were gone and we didn’t bring any shorts with us because we thought it wouldn’t be as nice. Although we didn’t really do that much in Juneau, it was nice to get away for a little while.

This is the Mendenhall Glacier from a distance. I'll have to upload some up close pictures.

When I got back to the hatchery, it was about time to start working with the coho. We sort the coho and inject some of the fish with an antibiotic to prevent the eggs from getting Bacterial Kidney Disease. We seemed to do this sorting pretty fast, but maybe that was just in my opinion. Normally this is such a cold wet job, where your hands are in really cold water most of the day. Last year, I figured out that if I wore diving gloves, my hands didn’t get cold, even though they got wet, so I was ready to do that again. But this year, I was playing doctor and injecting the fish so I didn’t have to get wet and cold. That was really nice!

Now we have all of our coho hanging out in the raceways, just ripening up. Eventually the bears will start running out of fish and realizing that there is another stash in the raceways and they will start breaking in. But for now, they are staying out of there. That doesn’t mean they aren’t everywhere else! We see them on-site a lot now, making a mess with fish and poop… like I said before. It seems like the Sows and cubs are the ones walking around the most.

We also split ponds of coho in a quick amount of time. This is also another crappy job usually. Sometimes it’s even snowing when we have to do this, but this year it was just wet. It went really fast though so can’t complain about that. Other than that, we haven’t really been doing that much. Feeding fish… treating eggs to keep the fungus away…

Next week, I’ll be heading out AGAIN! I am going to Washington for a tour of some hatcheries down there for a few days. Adam did this tour last year and it seemed like he had a good time. It will be cool to see what other hatcheries do. I was a bit nervous at first though, because when Adam went, it was all guys. Everyone else that goes, too, are usually managers or assistant managers, and I’m just a lowly fish culturist without her own group of fish to raise! I asked the guy in charge if there was going to be any other girls and he said I was in luck! There is going to be another lady there who is a manager at some hatchery. Everyone else that is going is, again, managers and assistant managers. Hopefully it will be fun and not awkward, but I’m looking forward to it more now. I have to give a little presentation, which I am a little nervous about. I feel like if I was giving a presentation to people that know nothing about my hatchery or hatcheries period, it would be easier! But since I’m giving a little presentation to people that have been doing this longer than me, it’s a little scary. I just don’t want them to ask me questions that I can’t answer and make me look dumb. But I’m just going to try to talk about things specific to Hidden Falls. That’s what Lon, the BIG boss wanted me to do. Talk about our whale issues or our new alarm and monitoring system upgrades. It will probably go alright. I’ll probably have a lot of pictures to show when I get back.

Well that’s about all I have for now. Here are some other cool pictures…

Sea Lions

This is Takatz Lake from the air. I love the color!

Our pilot took us on a bit of a sightseeing tour on the way to town. This is a glacier I hadn't seen yet.

This is flying right over that glacier. They are so cool... very blue and craggy!

I just think this picture looks really cool. This is the back of Deep Inlet in town. Medvejie hatchery has a remote project here in Deep Inlet (similar to how we have a remote sight in Takatz.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just remember that no one on the tour knows Hidden Falls like you do! And if they ask you a question you aren't sure of, just do the best you can to answer it or say you aren't sure. When I did all my presentations for Miss SW, if someone asked me a question I was unsure of, I would get his business card or email address and look up the answer and get back with him. Have fun! Call me when your in WA, if you can, and we can talk about Jamaica! I think you & Adam would LOVE it!