Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May in Alaska: Here Comes the Sun

Things in Alaska are turning that wonderful light green spring color and the air smells sweet with blooms. Spring is here. I am writing this at 11:30 at night and the sky is a dark blue, but not black yet. By the time of summer solstice (June 21); there will be no darkness. This time of year, we tend to stay up too late and try to cram in too many activities into the 3 short months that are an Alaskan summer.

Chris and I had a ten day vacation and did some sailing in Resurrection Bay (out of Seward, Alaska). SEE PICS ABOVE. This was in late April and it was still a bit cold. We spent a couple nights anchored in Thumb Cove, watching the sun melt avalanches that cracked and groaned as they cascaded down the mountains surrounding us. Our plan was to sneak out into the Gulf of Alaska to Prince William Sound, a boating heaven. We got out briefly in the Gulf, seeing much wildlife (puffins, mountain goats perched on the cliffs, seals, sea otters, eagles) but then decided to turn back into the "safety" of Resurrection Bay when gale warnings tucked our tail between our legs. We nestled into a small cove on the side of an island, putting the anchor down for the night. But the gale came early. It was dark and we watched the fishing boats motor past, one by one, trying to outrun the storm. We had two choices: move immediately toward the safety of the town of Seward OR keep "anchor watch" (making sure the winds didn't blow us off our anchor onto shore) and leave at the first light of day. We chose the second option. It was a bit stressful overnight as we listened to the winds howling through the trees and the rigging of our boat. First light of day had us on our way for a long slog to the safety of Seward. One unexpected treat in an otherwise blustery day was when a pod of porpoise (similar to dolphins that look like mini Orcas) came over to play in our bow wave, jumping and splashing with us for at least a half hour. Our last few days of vacation were spent at the dock of Seward, getting to know our neighbors.

Upon returning from vacation, we had our "Portland Parents," Bob and Christine with us for a week. We shared many adventures with them - from walking on a glacier to seeing a black bear by the side of a creek, from the Sea Life Center in Seward to the Anchorage museums. The best part was simply spending time with two of our bestfriends, enjoying great food (and gin and tonics), over stories and laughter.

I turned 30 this month as well. We spent my birthday on the Kenai River in Soldotna, a fishing community. There were no fish to be had, but it was neat to hike the riverbed before the river level rose and covered it. Chris' folks have a camper on the Kenai River and we enjoy spending time there in the woods. There's just something about watching the river water float by, the eagles soaring overhead.

We've been spending lots of time in our yard, cleaning it out and planting. Chris and I have both been busy at work. Only 5 more weeks and I'll be done with my first year of residency.


Dr. A said...

Love these Alaska stories. Happy Birthday, BTW, and congrats on finishing intern year!

Anonymous said...

elmeredBeautiful pictures. Sound like you had a real adventurous vacation. Hope you had a great B.D.
I couldn't believe it when I read that you turned thirty!!! Don't do that to me - if you are 30 - what am I!!!!
I guess I have to stop telling people I am 40!
Love you both.
Have a great time with the Manitowoc family.