It Has Been Busy!

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

We have had record-breaking visitation here at the refuge this year. We have had a lot of visitors this summer. We have had great weather to visit here and walk on The Spit. The birds are starting to migrate back through almost on a daily basis – interesting to see that change happen as well.

I went out for some boating experience on Friday and to help with a project on Protection Island. I am going for boating training in October… in Hawaii! I am getting the training in preparation to be the caretaker out on Protection Island next year.

The opportunity arose and I said I was interested so then we had to figure out getting my certification training. Hawaii was jokingly mentioned, and I said “Sure! I will go there!”. The response was something like “Yeah… I BET you would!”. I said I would use my miles to get myself there since I have always wanted to go there (plus cross it off my list of states to visit). They take will care of the training (since it is required for me to be the caretaker on the island) and I will possibly staying in a refuge bunkhouse during my training. I have two courses to take – one is the course for running the boat to the island, and the second is Open Water. That will certify me for operating a boat in the ocean or ocean-like conditions.

My certification training will be in late October in Pearl Harbor, so I am pumped up for that! I have never been to a tropical place so this will be cool. Between the two courses I will have a weekend off to go explore so I am going to get a hotel maybe somewhere on the north part of Oahu. I wish I had more time and money, but I am getting to go and get the training (as well as some time off to look around) so that works for me too.

I just got back from babysitting a seal pup on the beach for the last 5 hours. Those things are sure cute. The weather was nice, but it got windy and cool as the early evening rolled around. I had to endure a beautiful sunset over the Strait, however.

I have gotten to go out crabbing twice the last two weeks, so I am getting quite a supply of fresh Dungeness and red rock crabs in the freezer. Hope my parents are ready for a feast when they get here!

It has been absolutely incredible to be working in a place like this experiencing the things I have been fortunate enough to experience here. Sure… getting to this point over the last year has been rather trying at times, but it has paid off huge for me.

This Weekend’s Adventure – August 14-15, 2013

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Uncategorized

After my motorcycle issues on my Vancouver Island ride last weekend I needed to work on my Honda V65. I did some research online and asked a few people on a forum and got some suggestions on what to look for and how to fix it so I am giving it a try. It did not take too much to get it done, which is good since I am not a bike mechanic.. I got the idle issue fixed (at least I THINK I did), got some electrical parts for a cooling fan bypass switch, and got some other things taken care of. It started to rain a bit after I got done so I could not take a test ride, but hope to do that over the next few days. I have a shop manual and an owner manual and they have come in very handy. I am really anxious to see if the problems are fixed now, but I think it should be okay.

Yesterday I went out crabbing again. We did pretty good so there will be a decent crab feast soon! The water was calm and the air was warm. It was a very pleasant morning. We got out on the boat around 8:45 or so. There were many seals, both adults and babies, on the land and in the water. We saw a flock of about two dozen Great Blue Heron, a bazillion gull, a Bald Eagle, many geese and some shorebirds. It was a busy place for animals, but not really many people.

It is pretty interesting being out on the water like that. It is definitely a whole other world. The water adds a dimension that cannot be compared to anything on land. Sure, you can have dangerous situations on land, such as lost in the woods or stranded in the desert. A boat is your island, however, and you cannot be without it for any length of time in the cold waters up here. It is also interesting to see the things that go along with fishing/crabbing – bait and pot preparation, keeping safe while moving about on a boat, the actual catching of fish/crab/etc. Not a lot of that where I moved from, but I am settling right into it.

I just might have to get a boat someday, especially if I get to stay in this area.

This Week’s Adventure – Motorcycle Ride on Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

This past week I decided that I would finally get to Vancouver Island on my bike. Actually, it was just a few days prior to going that I decided I was going. On Tuesday it looked like rain where I was thinking of going – the coastal town of Tofino – so I was not sure if I was going to go since I was not too keen on riding on a wet road. I went ahead and got up Wednesday morning early and took another look and decided to go ahead with my ride. The least amount of planning I had done was to go across, ride someplace, get a room somewhere, wake up, ride back to the ferry.

I got some things together, went up and packed them into my saddlebags, and got over to the ferry at Port Angeles with 30 minutes to spare. Motorcycles are the last to load, so I waited, along with two couples who were also on two wheels. We chatted a bit as we waited. One couple were from California and were headed up north of Calgary, and the other couple were Canadian headed back home after a short jaunt around the same area that I was headed.

We finally got on the ferry, the MV Coho. It is owned by Black Ball Ferry Line.

In the "garage" of the MV Coho

In the “garage” of the MV Coho

Leaving Port Angeles

Leaving Port Angeles

Headed over to Victoria - Strait of San Juan de Fuca

Headed over to Victoria – Strait of San Juan de Fuca

Fog bank and the Olympics - Strait of San Juan de Fuca 15

Fog bank and the Olympics – Strait of San Juan de Fuca 15

There were quite a few people aboard since Victoria is a popular tourist place for Americans. The ferry ride is about 90 minutes or so, so you settle in and relax… maybe grab something from the snack bar, or sit outside if the weather is good and just enjoy the sea. It is a walkable day trip from the ferry terminal there so many do not pay the money to take a car since it is really not too necessary. There are a lot of shops close by to spend the money you save by walking on. For me and my bike it was about $70 RT. A car is much more than that. If you think about it, though, it is really a bargain. You cannot drive around the peninsula without taking other ferries, plus the time required would be days instead of a few hours.

Heading into port - Victoria, BC

Heading into port – Victoria, BC

Heading into port - Victoria, BC

Heading into port – Victoria, BC

Victoria is a pretty good-sized city as I discovered while riding out north to hit the open road. There was a lot of stop-and-go trying to get out of the city and my bike was running a bit on the hot side because of it. I stopped at an A&W and paid over $9 for a combo meal (yikes!) and let it cool off. I hit the road again and it was running warm but I figured once I got out of traffic and moving on the road it would be fine (which it was).

It was a nice ride, but quite different than what I imagined. I envisioned a two-lane road that might have a few cars on it being tourist season, but it ended up being a four-lane most of the way with some two-lane scattered in. There were some beautiful spots along there, and one place looked and felt exactly like Lake Crescent here in Olympic. There were some nice viewpoints to stop at as well. The weather was beautiful, and I could not even wear my mesh riding jacket it was so warm. It felt great to ride in a t-shirt though. I had not done that in years.

Along Highway 1 north of Victoria, BC

Along Highway 1 north of Victoria, BC

Along Highway 1 north of Victoria, BC

Along Highway 1 north of Victoria, BC

Along Highway 4 near Port Alberni, BC

Along Highway 4 near Port Alberni, BC

IMG_1225

I got NW of Nanaimo and went south toward the coast on highway 4. My bike was running hot but good, and it was also idling fast when I had to stop. I got to Port Alberni and decided that with the bike issues I would be best to turn around and head for home… hopefully I could get home IF I could get to the ferry on time to catch the last one back over. This area was pleasant and actually quite reminiscent of Montana and had the two-lanes I was longing to ride.

I had to stop a few times along the way back to let the bike cool down, but I got back with 30 minutes to spare. Just as I pulled into the ferry gate to pay it overheated. I think the sending unit on the fan went bad and that is what is causing the heating so I have to replace that. I am also going to put a manual switch on it so I can turn it on myself before the sending unit does if I see fit to do so. I need to find out what is going on with the idle as well.

I was relieved to get back on the boat and to be heading back.

View from the MV Coho leaving the harbor at Victoria, BC

View from the MV Coho leaving the harbor at Victoria, BC

View from the MV Coho leaving the harbor at Victoria, BC

View from the MV Coho leaving the harbor at Victoria, BC

Ship's bell - MV Coho

Ship’s bell – MV Coho

It was a very long day, and was not quite what I had planned. It was a good day nonetheless – I got to check out Vancouver Island, got to ride in Canada, and I just got to ride.

The setting sun through the fog - heading home onboard the MV Coho

The setting sun through the fog – heading home onboard the MV Coho

Today’s Horoscope – 8/1/13

Just things

Here was my horoscope for today:

“Today you may develop a deeper understanding of what’s really important to you. You may be surprised by what you discover. The material means far less to you than the spiritual. It may have taken you a while to learn this, but now there’s no going back. Your possessions feel like dead weight. The mere thought of your family and friends fills your heart with love and light.”

It was actually more appropriate last year, given all that happened and the changes I went through after figuring all of this out on my own. It is still quite relevant in my life everyday, however.

Art imitates life.