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Today, during ship's hydro acquisition in the Shumagin Islands

The ship was working in the Shumagin Islands today. We got here around 10am after a rough twenty hour transit from Dutch Harbor. The weather turned quite beautiful despite the forecast of a storm on its way.

I started out yesterday afternoon feeling the nine foot seas, despite the motion sickness medication. I slept through a good portion of it and slept quite soundly through the night with the mild noise of the engine and the rocking of the boat.

The full nights rest was a good catch-up from the previous few days. Thursday, Friday, and much of Saturday we were doing 24 hour operations collection data in the southeastern Bering Sea, which becomes Bristol Bay at some point. My shifts were four to eight am and four to eight pm. I got a short nap midday Thursday before the night shift and stayed up through the night to get a good rest the following day. On Friday morning, I got to bed after falling asleep in my chair sitting at the computer after my shift. Three hours into my "night's rest" I got woken up by a fire emergency. I mustered to my station to assisting in the dress out of the fire team and then found out it was a false alarm. By then there was no way I was getting back to sleep. Stayed up through the night again and got some decent sleep mid-day Saturday.

Karl Mueller GraveGraves
Karl Mueller Grave Top-Left: Karl Mueller's grave
Top-Right: nearby cemetery at the Orthodox church in Unalaska
Lower-Right: using survey grade GPS to establish benchmark

Towards the beginning of last week a couple of people in the survey department went to tend and visit the grave site of Karl Mueller. Karl Mueller, along with Maurice G. Rudisell, died in a hydrographic survey accident aboard a launch of the U.S.S. Surveyor in May of 1938. Their boat struck a previously unknown reef now called Rudisell Reef. The bay in which the accident occured was named Mueller Bay.

Rudisell was buried near the site of the accident on Umnak Island approximately 200 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor and the city of Unalaska where Mueller was brought to rest.

In addition to tending the grave of a fellow fallen surveyor we established a GPS benchmark on the plaque over his grave.

DSC_1142 DSC_1159Top: camp site
Left: stream seen hiking

On the weekend of August second and third I got out on the island with the XO and one of the junior officers. We went camping in the hills around Dutch Harbor. The majority of the trip was in the fog. Even got a little lost with the XO while taking a walk away from the camp site. Sunday the fog lifted around noon.

After joining the much of the crew at the Grand Aleutian Hotel for an excellent Sunday brunch we headed back out to explore more of the Island.

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Napping in the tundra

As we drove the dirt road that makes a loop over the Northeast end of the island we stumbled on a trail to Ugadaga Bay. The trail was historically used by the Unangan People as a portage route to trade pelts in Unalaska. We spent much of the afternoon hiking the trail, exploring the beach and napping in the tundra.

Evening smoke
This evening on the fantail

And just a little something to leave you with, I got a shipment of several corncob pipes and accessories two weeks back. I have been practicing with the pipe every few days since the shipment came in.

Several people have asked why I started smoking a pipe. With a bit of a grin I respond one of two ways, either "What better way to epitomize a sailor?" or "I see it as a life skill, much like scotch tasting."

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Sea Urchin Shell
FlowersSpitAnchor
I started plurking, you should too. I've seen it refered to as micro blogging, kinda like twitter, but a cleaner interface with a timeline, and the ability to comment.

On the way into Dutch Harbor early Thursday morning we stopped to investigate discoloration of the water in Unalaska Bay. The discoloration started a few weeks back at the same time as some volcanic activity nearby. So we went volcano hunting. We saw what could be a vent in the bathymetric data!

Yesterday I took a walk along the beach and found some old structures from WWII, also found some sea urchin shells. The town is an odd little place. It wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the fishing.

Today we tested some of the equipment that we brought aboard for FISHPAC.

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wallpaper
Benchmark RecoveryDSC_0809~DSC_0781~
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At the Salty Dawg
So I'm hanging out in Kodiak again. We're waiting on some personnel to get underway on Monday to Dutch Harbor where we'll pick up a bunch of scientists and start on FISHPAC, a habitat research project that will be conducted in the southeastern Bering Sea.

Planning on a few hikes this weekend before we leave. Also a bunch of the crew are going bowling this Friday at Tsunami Lanes here on the Coast Guard base. I think it might be the preliminary tryouts for the Fairweather's team for Hydro-Bowl this winter (the Hydro-Bowl trophy is currently in our possession).

I had a good time in Homer last week. Picked up a few books at a used book store, which included a collection of Leonard Nimoy's poetry. Also got some new music, its a local Homer band called Three Legged Mule. And spent some time at the infamous Salty Dawg Saloon drinking the local Homer brew which is exclusively bottled in Sobe bottles.

For work we setup two tide gauges for our work in Kachemak Bay in August. The gauges were installed in Katsitsna Bay and Bear Cove (click either to see the active tide data on tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov).

I was largely involved in the additional work outside of the actual gauge installation. We had to recover any existing tidal benchmarks, set additional benchmarks as necessary and reference the benchmarks to the gauge with differential leveling. I was one of the few people with ample experience with the tasks from my previous job as a land surveyor. It was particularly difficult conditions so it was a good initiation to leveling for the people without much experience. And I recovered one of the benchmarks that had been buried over the years! They had no expectation of finding it.

Still in Homer


Still in Homer
Originally uploaded by rogue drone
The ship has been in Homer since last Wednesday and I think we'll be leaving tonight. The picture is the mountains to the southeast of Homer. I'm on my way to a tide gauge that we installed last week. We're finishing the work to estabished the benchmarks we are referencing for the gauge.

Old Womens Mountain

pano~
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Above are a few photos from a hike across Old Womens Mountain during the in-port in Kodiak over the last weekend. Its more of a ridge than a mountain. Its a 4 mile hike with 1200 ft elevation gain which is basically all in the first 3/4 mile. Went out for sushi twice over the weekend and it was surprisingly good.

Last night we came into the Shumagin Islands just south of the Aleutians, midway out the chain. The "total population as of the 2000 census was 953 persons, almost entirely in the city of Sand Point, on Popof Island." I'll get some photos in the next few days. Pretty remote, so we're not getting the Dish Network out here so instead of watching TV I went down to our "gym" for about an hour and a half. The weather is pretty dreary, foggy, winds 15-20 knots and raining. We anchored up in reasonably protected little bay. After the gym I hid from the wind and rain in a corner on the fantail and drank tea and smoked a pipe with one of the Junior officers while a few people fished off the fantail.

Today we went into Sand Point very briefly and we should be headed back out shortly and get some ships hydro done.

On the ship

So I made my way up to Ketchikan, Alaska, on friday. Got to the ship just fine and went out drinking with some of the crew.

Saturday I just bummed around in town. I found a little stand that said "locally roasted coffee" so I got talking with the guy. He had worked in Seattle for about 6 years at a coffee shop and commented that his current setup made it hard to make decent esspresso, but the tourist coming off the cruise ships could care less. The roastery, Raven's Brew Coffee, has a shop up the road from town. One of the blends is called Three Peckered Billy Goat, which I thought was funny.

~DSC_0270 Yesterday went for a hike on the Deer Mountain Trail (a photoset). It was a 2 mile hike in with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. We got up into the left over snow pack from last winter!

Today we got the launches over the side for patch testing. We will be using them next week for the project!

See you all later. It will be harder to update once we're under way because the internet connection is painfully slow and costly. Our next inport should be two weeks from now, but it may be sooner.

Also I made a little links and info page with some usefull stuff for keeping tabs on me.

So It's official

I still have to sign paperwork in the next week, but I should be shipping out June 6th to meet up with the NOAA Ship Fairweather somewhere in Alaska.

So the first thing that I'm gonna try to fix is the ship tracker. In theory it updates every hour, but it hasn't updated in the last month. So watch that if you're interested.

areyouponderingwhati'mpondering

Well, I think so Brain, but... balancing a family and a career? Ooh. Its all too much for me!

Well, I think so Brain, but if they called them SadMeals, kids wouldn't buy them!

I think so Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why does he keep doing it?

I think so Brain, but it's a miracle that this one grew back (holding left leg).

Uh, yeah Brain... but where are we going to find rubber pants in our size?

I think so Brain, but the Rockettes?, I mean its mostly girls, isn't it?

Well, I think so, Brain, but if Clark Kent wore contact lenses, wouldn't he look just like Superman?

http://blather.newdream.net/a/areyouponderingwhati_mpondering.html
http://www.patman.org/interests/comics/ponderings.asp