Saturday, June 3, 2017

More From Round Island and Togiak

 aside from the pic below of gorp ever by the way.  Ryan did snag the big bag of leftover gorp i noticed.  smart man!!  anyway, these are from my smaller nikon camera.  it is a newer purchase.  nice small camera zoom. probably should have taken more fun pics with this camera.  zoom does work pretty well, doubtful i could blow them up huge. if I'd been out there longer I'm sure i would have played with this camera more. did do a few video's.  there was good chiming but i don't think the recorder picked up on much of it. get obsessed with their flippers and their whiskers.
 my handyman guy is going to work on my little free library base, then i can paint that.  figured I'd do one with a walrus on it's back flippers prominent and holding a book.  hoping one or two of my pictures will help be a model for the design.
 these are from Togiak.  above is the B&B that i stayed at.  the captains aunt.  small community so many are related to one another.  his uncle, the aunts brother is a pilot.  i never met him.  he wasn't flying the times i was coming in or out.
 the house was on the water so nice views.  I'll have more pics of Togiak that turn up later.  using a variety of cards and cameras the pictures will just turn up in some more random order to i get them all in.  different things pop up for me when i see them.
 i had never been through Togiak before.  the previous times I'd gone I'd gone through Dillingham, flown to a remote lagoon, hauled gear up and over to a beach and then gotten picked up there.  now there is just this one captain.  he seemed to say yes he could do this or that. i truthfully, he could do it, things just run different in these smaller villages.  it can be tough for this city girl to let go and accept that it is totally out of your control.  he seems to do a great job at the most important job, the boating.  he won't go out if it is not safe. you do always want your boat captain to have a desire to return to his family.
 it was interesting to be in Togiak as they live near the island and they have a hunt in the fall there.  the natives took the state of AK to court to get a return of their subsistence hunting rights at the sanctuary.  there are a few commissions, one Bristol Bay Corporation and a Walrus commission.  these are basically run by the same person it seems. when i was developing WARIS i tried to contact and speak to this women but i did not get very far with this.  it was hard to really know what the natives felt about Round Island.
 did take the time to ask the captain and he would rather the state not be involved and the natives manage the island.  we did agree that we would all like the island kept safe.  his aunt seemed to feel that this woman in charge of these commissions was good with the state managing it and them having their subsistence hunt in the fall.  it is not good for the natives when poaching happens and i suspect she worked hard to get things the way they are and realizes that the natives taking over the island is probably not the most realistic plan.  doubt the captain has any plan for how to manage it other than to just leave it be in it's natural state.
 he would like the history of the island as far as natives is concerned to be more highlighted by the state.  i let him know that we will make a new pamphlet soon i suspect and it would be great if he wanted to write up something to be included.  he seemed happy about that idea but then deflected it back to this woman who runs the commission.
 it does sound like explore is up for being involved for at least a few years to come.  the captain said many in the community are not happy with the cameras.  when i was calling the woman who runs the commissions i was trying to see if they wanted to play a role donation wise, which honestly would have given them some say i suspect.  it was an opportunity that those groups opted to not participate in.
 wasn't sure if i am seen as a bit of a foe out there.  worried that this was impacting my travels.  no way to know really.  the captain was mostly easy to get along with but at times he was also a bit short.  mixed messages.  i suspect he was pretty stressed.  lots of work suddenly and when he dropped me off at the airport he mentioned he'd been working extremely hard and had finally gotten enough money to be able to finally build a small home for him and his family there in Togiak.  it's always best to try and give people the benefit of the doubt.
 you are on his schedule out there and that is a factor getting out there.  for the time he is the only captain taking people out there. the state uses helicopters early and late season but in the height of the walrus population times the helicopter is not used.  of course, the coast guard could bring the helicopter in if there was an extreme emergency..but it would cause the walrus to startle so that is avoided.  not sure how often they have required any sort of emergency evacuation, or if they ever have.
 historically, the natives in the past would make walrus skin boats i believe and make the journey i made to the island. there are pit houses that were dug out generations ago.  currently, many of those are temporarily covered by the platforms that we tent on.  it is a way to protect whatever artifacts remain below. Togiak no longer uses these sorts of boats.  they do still make the boats in Barrow, went up there a few years ago.  i understand they also do this in St Lawerence Island.  another place I'd like to go.  there have been several articles in the Alaska Dispatch News, a series about walrus in that area.  how the ice pack is weaker and comes in later and leaves earlier making their hunt much more difficult.  even though these communities still make the seal skin or walrus skin boats they do use more modern equipment for their hunts as well.
 love the details of the bosses and the whiskers.
 these are at flat rock.  i spent Thursday morning sitting at that lookout. had my little chair, my cameras, my gorp and a book. my gut was telling me he planned to get me early. i suspected if i didn't leave on Thursday i would probably be there until Monday or Tuesday...if the weather held.  if not it would be even longer.  it's not a short ride so i can understand not wanting to go out every day but still a drag to not have any control over plans and to have it not just dependent on weather but on the whims of this captain.  so i stayed close to camp and enjoyed these guys jockey for position on the rock as the tide was up.
 there they are below on the rock.
 slept great last night.  my back and knee have been a bit sore still.  we spent almost 2 hours at the local dog park. met a friend and of course, other dog park friends.  the pups got some good play time in. then we headed to PetCo and Bass Pro....i braved taking both dogs in at the same time.  i usually trade out and just train one in these places at a time.  they actually did pretty dang good.  there is hope.
 there was a quote in the readers digest i was reading on the way to Dillingham last Sunday. it was by some guy named Ken Ilgunas i think....if i can read my writing. i wrote some notes each night before i crashed....can i read them....we shall see...
 the quote was, " to travel alone, I learned, isn't to rely on yourself.  to travel alone is to force yourself to depend on others.  it is to fall in love with mankind".  not sure i did very good with that last bit.  being a pretty stubborn and independent female it is tough to be forced to rely on the good graces of others.
 Esther was very kind.  she took me in to her place with out advanced notice.  it wasn't fancy by any means but it was a warm and comfortable place. she allowed me to use her phone to text a friend and let someone know i was safe and where i was.  she even took me for a drive on her 4wheeler.  the captain also allowed me to use his phone a few times,made sure i had a place set and a plane set up.  he helped me out of the mud and he took me to his sisters place to get hosed off and offered me the sauna room to change.
 as a single person and a stubborn one i do not like to ask for help, i do not like to be dependent on others. it's a good thing for us all from time to time though.  to have to depend on others.  to accept help.  to admit that we can't do everything ourselves all the time.
 a line from an episode of Big Bang Theory kept running through my brain on the island after the captain dropped me off.  Howard is in space and his Russian pick up is going to be late.  he says, "they left dogs up here in the sixties".  i always had confidence in his skill with his boat. i had less confidence in when he'd pick me up or drop me off.  kept saying the line to myself and laughing.  in life, it is what it is. people are who they are and you can't control can only control how you react to them.
 my Birthday was Sunday.  it was a travel day.  there were no festivities, no celebrations.  as a single person you pretty much get used to it being just another day for the most part.  i actually ended up eating a piece of cake at Esthers that night.  she'd just been to a bbq and birthday party for a relative and brought some food home to share.  i didn't tell her it was my Birthday but i got cake anyway....and some salmon.
 i did get out that night and walked the beaches there in Togiak. they seem to go on for miles.  there is actual beach before the mud flats begin at low tide.  lots of birds, clam shells and a dogs head out in the village is a bit tougher than it is in the city.  no vets, dogs seem to be more expendable.  they are out there though. i always take pictures of the village dogs where ever i roam.  my friends and i seem to look for them.  it's not an easy life for dogs out there some times i suspect.  but then what we see as the way to treat dogs is totally different in their eyes I'm sure. the dogs tend to look differently similar...village dogs...that is what they are called.   a breed that is tough in winter.  you don't find many of the breeds that are familiar. AKC wouldn't recognize these guys.
 there are no vets.  if you want to take your dog to the vets you generally have to fly them some place.  some villages/towns do have vets that make visits from time to time.
 another fact of village life is trash.  it's all over.  there was a dump and big dumpsters. trash pick up was supposed to be on Tuesday i heard.  still big items often are just left in the yards.  no place to really ditch those i guess.  old cars, old snowmachines, old 4 wheelers.  people do have cars but the main transportation in these places is snowmachine in winter (you can them snowmobiles in the lower 48) and 4 wheelers in the summers. saw a mom on the beach riding behind her 3-4 year old i think. the kid was doing the driving.  no helmets anywhere.  kids roam all over, everyone knows them.  everyone is watching them.
 guess there had been a medivac out Monday night.  a kid was run over in the driveway.
 almost done with the book i started on the island.  it was by the same author as that one they made the movie on, "dogs purpose"  it sounds like it's written pretty much the same as that one.  i actually figured it was the same book.  just grabbed it on the fly as i headed for the airport.  easy read so a good choice.  Ivy i think grabbed it as well as soon as i unloaded it from my bag... haha.  found it ripped a bit outside.  thankfully, she shredded the first part of the book that i had already read.
 look at that cute flipper!!
 didn't eat all that much at all last week.  tried to keep hydrated. still feel a bit like a need to catch up.  in Togiak not much was open after a certain hour due to it being Sunday and then the holiday.  there were no festivities community wide that i noticed.  one thing people did do was fix up the graves of those lost relatives.  the woman and her child who were on the beach with their 4 wheeler were there collecting rocks to put on the grave of a lost relative.  they had been to the beach a few times that day.  the people in general were very nice when i met with them out and about.  i knew it was obvious that i was not a resident.
 looks like it will be another pretty sunset here.  I'll probably be crashing after i finish this.  hoping to maybe take the pups some place fun early next week.  perhaps another run to Homer.
 re potted a few plants that a friend gave me for my birthday.
 got Skelly dressed up for the summer.  he looks pretty cool.  Skelly is a fake skeleton i picked up at Target over Halloween.  every month i have redecorated him for whatever the next holiday is.  i think i get a bit more elaborate each month. figure I'll use pictures of him for the cover of next years calendar.  hopefully, it will have some walrus pictures as well.
 such cute guys these guys are.
 forecast of rain today but it never did.  watered the lawn to the joy of the puppies.  they love that hose.  super clean pups all the time at least .
 sun is really shining through right now.  great light out there.  need to get gas.  haven't made it to the grocery store yet either.
 like to watch their nostrils open and close. i know I'm a freaker.  haha.
 more flipper action.

 such little heads.  such huge animals.  they have skulls and various bones up by the ranger house.  pretty cool to check out.
 this guy has a shell stuck in his whiskers.
 and check out those toenails. no wonder they always have bloody scratches on themselves.
 sleepy time.
 of course, that never seems to last too long when it comes to walrus.  someone is always trying to snuggle in and breaks the peace.
 better get moving. my back doesn't like sitting.  the 5 hour drive to Homer is probably not the best idea...but the pups will have such fun!!  we could hit Seward for a night and then Homer for a night. break it up a bit i guess.  we shall see.
thankful for:  A.  super good puppies who behaved so awesome at the shops  B.  sunny skies and puffy clouds.  C.  wally faces...:-)

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