Sunday, July 22, 2012

round island 4...

i think this guy is a yellow crowned sparrow. i'm not good with bird names. he's long been a favorite while out hiking. great three tiered call that these guys always sing. this guy was cracking us up. i was watching the walrus with bob and tanya and first beach and he kept landing on the other side of tanya and singing his little heart out. he'd fly off only to return to the same spot and sing for us again. he was really close so i snapped a few photo's of him.
here he is singing away. thank you mr sparrow, we loved your concert!
tufted puffin. so great to be out there away from all electronic devices, news, phones, tv. that stuff just doesn't exist out there. the sounds you hear are just those of nature. what more do you need anyway. the chiming and bird calls are calming. so great to just get a break from the modern world and reboot your brain and soul as it were. was happy to not hear the bad news that happens in this world.
at work the other night it trickled through about another random shooting spree in a colorado movie theater. the box theater looks just like the century 16 here in anchorage, so strange. a very sad occurrence. not sure what happens to someone that makes them stockpile guns and plan something like this. i think at least a dozen were killed and over 50 injured. the guy had rigged his apartment to detonate so obviously no intention to return. he didn't kill himself though which is often what happens. i was reminded of a movie i watched not too long ago where it focused on the parents of the shooter. normal people with normal problems and having to cope with a loss and with the truth of the crime thier kid had committed.
there are no rational answers. my heart goes out to all those lost and injured. makes one hesitant to go to public events. also events like these tend to make me happy i have no kids. it's all so stressful. part of me thinks this is one result from our societies inability to accept and teach failure. so many kids are raised with only positive praise that when they are faced with any failure at all they are just totally unprepared to deal with it. this guy was in some graduate program and it sounds like it was really his first experience at not being totally successful. makes me wonder if it's connected. positive reinforcement is good but we all have to learn as well the heartache of failure. when you are young those failures seem large, but they really are generally small to help prepare you for lifes greater disappointments and failings. that is one girls opinion.
but, back on the island no news is good news. you wake to the sounds of rain beating on the tent. it usually sounds worse than it is. you wait for a break in the rain and then head out for the day.
pretty much did that all day. if it started raining i'd head back to the cook tent for warm drinks and snacks, when it stopped i'd walk and watch. there was plenty to keep me entertained. read a few books while i was out there. i think everyone read a bit. i read "two old woman" a native tale of two older members of a group that have become somewhat non-productive in their group and when starvation and stress happens it's decided to leave the old women behind to die as they are too much of a burden. they don't die but instead become productive and go into survival mode and thrive. the elderly do have skills from thier long years of experience and they are more capable than you know.
another book i read was called "outside passage" by julia scully. sorry, can't recall auther of first book right off. this one was another alaskan story. a pair of young girls find thier dad after he kills himself. eventually thier mom leaves them at a home for children and takes off to nome, alaska to work. they are reunited at some point when the girls are brought to alaska. it's a memoir, both books were easy and relaxing reads. no brain work required. interesting tales which kept me entertained.
just started another book called, "still alice". a novel about a harvard professor who gets diagnosed with alzhiemers. just getting into this, but it seems like it will be good. have also been trying to catch up on the newspapers. didn't miss too much while we were away.
love to just watch the walrus sleep. they get so totally relaxed. it's the same with my dogs. something comforting in watching animals sleep. these guys seem to have not a care in the world. especially love the relaxed on thier back look.
the flippers are often on thier face like this guy. shielding the light out?
three nights of work down, one to go. the adult unit is busy. 20 patients, 20 vents! we used the last of the hospitals regular vents. we have a spare borrowed from the native hospital and then there are the oscillators and the transfer vents. several of our patients won't be leaving the hospital alive. seems to take longer and longer to make those choices to bring lives to an end. i know i'm a bit jaded but when they are begging me to work i am often thinking that if they would just allow a few of the patients to pass that really need to they wouldn't have such staffing crunches. i had two busy but stable vents by the end of the night which were on opposite ends of the section i was in. tiring running back and forth across the unit to do my cares. seems like everyone was pretty busy last night though. people kept running past getting more blood products for someone who was rapidly bleeding in the front section. sounds like all the area hospitals are busy. everyone is on divert, meaning they can't take more patients...which means that if all are on divert you then just have to take turns dealing with another patient if it happens, plus people deteriorate in the hospital. you can never not take more patients, that is the way of medicine.
they looks so different in black and white.
guilimont. i'm sure i spelled that wrong.
it's been raining here for a few days. perfect sleeping weather. i will have to try and get up and shower and walk the pups. would be nice to have an actual meal tonight. val and one of the doc's pitched in for some pizza for everyone which was nice. no time to enjoy, it was a cram down a slice and go night.
wild iris. so many pretty flowers. there was an especially pretty section near the flat rocks. one day i got out my macro lens and was crawling around taking photo's, heard a little noise and there was fox passing within feet of me. we had a great photo session. those will show up later. that happened all the time. you'd just run into a fox out there doing his hunting thing. so cute.
below is an example of one of those moments. this guy has a vole in his mouth. they have kits to feed so they were constantly running around looking for the next meal.
hello....are you following me? they'd be on the trail, get caught by you and then just skirt around you and back to their task.
back to birds and babies.
didn't see the murre babies or eggs. don't know how any survive in these nests. no room for error that is for sure.
often puffins seen very close at puffin rock which was down from camp on what was known as beach trail.
saw up to 7 puffins in this spot at one time. often while you sat watching the puffins the inevitable fox would again pass by. so funny.
you just never get used to those random fox sightings.
gotta love the puffins, such amazingly cool birds! they are the cutest!! i did figure out that the horned puffins had white bellies and the tufted ones had black bellies. made identifying birds easy as they flew past. they fly quite fast and as comical as they look, watching thier bizarre flight patterns is comical as well. do they have a flight plan, it's a wonder they don't crash all the time. they seem clueless as to where they are going.
wednesday morning the waves beat on the island and the walrus seemed to head back to sea, by the night the seas had calmed again and as you slept you could hear the sounds of returning walrus. when we woke the next day we could see lots of walrus on flat rock, 12 i think i counted at one point. the other beaches became active with returning walrus and the island counts again hit close to 1000. second beach had over 100 walrus to watch.
friday came and it was still raining. i think scott was nervous about our eventual exit. a boat was supposed to be coming that didn't. he was given the option to try and leave that day, but nobody left. that evening was beautiful and calm. still cloudy, but a high ceiling and we all had a great night hanging out together. i think he was happy he'd stayed at that point. lots of laughter. sometimes it's hard to let go of the stresses that await you when you return to your real life, but i think that evening he finally did and i could tell he just finally relaxed and let himself totally enjoy the mystic of round island.
that evening i used the break in the weather to wash my hair. i actually did haul a bucket of water from the creek up and mixed it with some water that i had boiled. felt great to feel slightly cleaner. was a bit chillier that night sleeping. wrapped my fleece blanket around my head and finally got warm and fell asleep. each night i took a few ibuprofen and a benedryl. slept great all week.
sue was braver than i and headed down to the creek for a sponge bath. i think we were the only ones who took advantage of the day to clean up.
saturday we enjoyed a small break of sunshine. the light just totally changed and it was beautiful. with this bob and tanya headed for summit, by that afternoon the sun was gone again and the winds were kicking in. val and i went around checking tents and tying them down more securely. forecast on our last night was for gale force winds. the walrus again took off.
cool to watch the weather change and to feel those winds pick up. bob and tanya safely back by 4pm and the winds just picked up more and more after that. several members of the group retired to thier tents early to read or sleep. some left the cook tent before 8pm. i held out til close to 9pm and sue made it to almost 10 i think. our tent was cozy and warm, set fairly low and a good north face 4 season barely moved. it sounded like thier was no weather at all out there, except i could hear the waves crashing on the beach ourside the tent.
not my most attractive photo, but sue and i were goofing around in the tent, laughing and reading.
bob kept bringing out tasty morsels. one day it was these totally nummy cookies, another day he brought out a container of moist brownies. thank you bob. below karen enjoys a treat.
scott is happy to indulge. all diets are banned from round island.
tanya didn't complain about the no diet idea and was happy to indulge as well.
always great to know wonderful people. so easy to travel with!! sue is always just happy to be...great that she flies in from san francisco for so many of these trips.
bob wasn't about to skip on the cookies either!!
the happy group...sue, karen, val, bob back row, front is me, scott and tanya.
we had gathered to listen to diane okonek's recordings of walrus and chat. very informative. the fish and game folks out on the island are awesome! diane was doing relief and stephanie was the sanctuary manager. i didn't take enough pictures with them in them. a replacement, tesla came in while we were there. stephanie is taking a desk job in juneau so she was going to train tesla to finish out the season. they got her right to work on the toilet project.
the chiming recordings were amazing and i would still recommend trying to locate them online and taking a listen.
scott above and below is the fish and game cabin. i guess it's new and now 2 story since we were there in 2003. i didn't notice at first but diane pointed it out. same old signage. you can see all the wire cables helping to brace the place against the winds. two rooms upstairs and the front room is pretty cozy as well. sweet! they deserve decent living quarters for spending thier summers out there away from family.
while we chatted at their cabin another fox visitor arrived.
diane said that one night she brought her bag out and slept on the deck as it was such a nice night out, when she woke up the next day she found a fox curled up at her feet.
brief hope of blue skies...never lasted however.
me enjoying the walrus at second beach.
above is bob, also with a patch of blue skies...again, it didn't last. we enjoyed each moment of blue sky we were blessed with though.
lichen covered rocks.
the old outhouse that we used that week. it was up by the fish and game cabin so a bit of a trek.
val above, scott below. i liked the camo for his shot.
tanya pours wine to go with our appetizers.
we had a limited amount of alcohol, but there was a few bottles of something that were passed about and used to make some mixed drinks that val named "the red fox" and the "brown walrus" least i think those were the names? i stuck to the wine.
bob and tanya reflected in the tea pot with scott in the doorway.
just a few scenery shots for you to enjoy.
guess i should really get myself moving. it's almost 3 and i need to shower and perhaps actually try and cook something to eat tonight. can't do tuna again.
still loads of photo's to post. hope i don't totally bore you out there. want to figure out how to make photo books of my pics on picasso. they automatically load there when i blog i guess. i'm sure there is a way to creat books. would be nice.
haven't made ph0to albums for bit and i do enjoy looking through them so may have to work on that for these last few years trips.
enjoy the day.

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