So… There I Was…. In My Boat…

Adventure, Outdoors

Today was a beautiful and sunny day here – at lunch it was 72 degrees – and the water was great. I was out patrolling the island and was looking at all the wildlife. Lots of tufted puffins, rhinoceros auklets, gulls (of course), eagles, seals, and pigeon guillemot. Everyone in the pool!

I was slowly bringing the boat around on the port side to go back east and much to my surprise there was a whale surfacing about 25 feet in front of my boat! Crikey!

I tried to get pictures, but they did not come out at all. I do not know how many there actually were, or even what kind. It/they surfaced 4-5 more times and then I didn’t see any more. I think it was maybe anywhere from one to three of them, and I am guessing the length at about 20-25 feet. I am going to do some more research and try to figure it out.

That was really an unexpected treat to see!

It Has Been Busy

Adventure, Outdoors, Travel

Last week I went back to Kansas to see my middle daughter, Chelsea, graduate from nursing school.

It was a good trip. As always I was dreading the weather there. I do not do well in hot weather. In fact, I hate it. I never have liked it, and living in the mountains in Colorado and here on the Olympic Peninsula has really spoiled me. Cool weather and beautiful surroundings – perfect. The weather was actually cool and much like where I am now – 50s and 60s, with some cloudy days.

I bought a new GPS at Cabela’s at a screaming deal. This was followed up, of course, by lunch at he best barbecue in the land – Rosedale’s.

I got to see family and friends – some who I had not seen in many, many years and it was really good to see everyone. Perhaps if they see this blog we can stay in touch.

The graduation was really nice. I am proud of you, Chelsea! You will be great at your new profession! If you were here you could try out your new skills… More on that later.

Friday night’s celebration was a lot of fun. No further details will be provided, but suffice to say it was a big time.

It was a good trip, but it is always good to get back home too. Once I see the water I know that I am back and ready to get on that ferry to come back across.

On Sunday, I ended up going out for a late but hearty breakfast with my friend Sue and then we took off and did a couple of hikes in Olympic National Park. We spent the whole day together. We had a great time and it was one of the best days I have ever had. You could say there has been a lot of smiling lately…

I got back out to my island on Monday. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, very few clouds, mid 60 temperatures, and smooth water to be out on. Paradise. I got some grass mowed, and spent several hours out of the water.

DAZED AND CONTUSED

When I got out here, there had been a landslide across the road coming from the marina on the island up to the top of my cabin is. There are some researchers out here who had cleared some of it out of the way before I got here but it was still blocking most of the road. I moved a little bit more, but some of the boulders were just too big to move. The landslide is these large boulders, but it’s not rock. It’s made up of glacial silt – sand dirt rock.

It’s a long story so I will cut through the fluff. We were clearing off the road. The biggest boulder had been pushed up onto another one and we were trying to break it apart to make it manageable with the tractor. Being soft, some of them would just break into really fine dust almost the consistency of talcum powder. I was trying to break the big one apart and it broke where I didn’t think it was going to break. It’s split into three smaller but still large pieces. One of them rolled down on me and pinned my leg on the ground. Not sure how heavy it was, but it was substantial. It took two people to pick it up just enough for me to get my leg out. Without the adrenaline rush, they couldn’t move it after I got up and got into the truck. I must note that the people I work with were awesome. They sprang into action quickly and calmly and took care of things. Mad props to them.

So off we went to the doctor. It didn’t seem like anything was broken – I can move my ankle, I could move my leg, I can move my toes, I can move my foot – so everything seemed to be okay.

After getting it painfully cleaned up and some x-rays, I was told I was extremely lucky that nothing was broken. When it hit me, it rolled once and scraped down the front of my shin right below my knee, stopping just above my ankle with the uphill part of the boulder. I have a pretty nasty scrape there and you could say that there is some swelling. A lot of swelling.

Today, my calf is swollen about half again it’s normal size. Got some pretty good aches and pains everywhere from getting bodyslammed to the ground. My shin hurts to even the lightest touch – I’d swear Kathy Bates had been babysitting me.

Looks like I won’t be doing any motorcycle riding for a few weeks now. We were really looking forward to getting out on two wheels. Oh well, the best weather is yet to come.

This looks to be possibly a busy weekend out here. This is a few of the eleven days of the sporadic halibut season, plus with the unofficial beginning of summer Monday there is going to be a lot of people out and about. Good luck to the halibut fishermen!

Well, off to prop my leg up for a few hours before I head to town for a grocery run. It is going to be a great weekend!

It is Probably Time For an Update

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Travel

I have been a bit busy since the last post so I figure I should post an update.

Last week when I was on my days off I went in to the mainland. I needed to get to the store and do some other errands. My backup motor on the boat needed to get a repair while I was in as well so that got taken care of too. My original plan was to come back out Tuesday, either late afternoon or early evening. I got a nice motorcycle ride in for about half a day though.

On Wednesday the parts showed up and were installed. Late in the day I went over to the marina to check on the boat to see if it was going to be ready. They were finishing up, and as I was looking at my phone I saw we were under a small craft advisory. I was really not very excited about going out in a small craft advisory, but I needed to get back because the weather was not going to be any better the next couple of days. In fact, it was going to be worse. I loaded up my stuff in the boat and I left to go back out to the island.

I left the marina and I hugged the shoreline to the south of me. I came out across the water and it was a little choppy but not too bad. When I got closer to the island away from the protection of the mainland, the south/southeast winds picked up pretty good. That brought along some waves 2 to 3 feet high in some places. I thought about my boat training I had from everybody here plus in Hawaii, and I cut across the waves at a 45° angle. I came out northeast just a little past the marina for the island and then I cut back to the northwest a little bit at a 45° angle across the waves with following seas. Water was crashing up over the bow and onto the windshield of the boat for five minutes or so – a short time that seemed like an eternity. I have to say that was a rather interesting feeling. You just have to keep your cool, and maintain your composure and do what you need to do to get through it. I was definitely relieved to get into the marina, but I felt I did pretty good handling the situation. The only way you learn is to do it.

Tuesday of this week was the first really, really nice day here. There have been some nice days on the island so far since I’ve been here, but Tuesday was beautiful – 72 degrees. I spent all day outside, most of it stacking the best part of a cord of firewood and working on some outdoor projects.

On Wednesday, I went in to take care of some errands. I went over to the Spit to help them work on the creosote removal project. I spent the day on the beach riding an ATV. I had a trailer I was hauling equipment around in, plus creosote and treated wood, logs, and various bits of trash and tires and other things that we picked up. It was a fantastically beautiful day, somewhere around 70° or so. The sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue, and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was fun to be back over there again. It was a really good day.

My plan was to take yesterday and today and do a motorcycle ride. I was going to pack my tent and my sleeping bag on my motorcycle and head over to the Hot Springs at Sol Duc. Yesterday morning, however, I happened to check the weather and they were talking about another small craft advisory. No hot springs for me. They were also talking about some rather nasty wind waves coming this way. I decided to hedge my bets after having a wonderful motorcycle ride yesterday. I went to the marina after a trip to the grocery store and came back out. It was a nice calm boat ride out, with no trouble at all despite another small craft advisory. In fact, the weather last night was actually fairly nice and I sat on the deck looking out over the Strait. There didn’t really seem to be too much to be concerned about on the water. Today, however it is a little different. Is definitely cooler and windier. The wind has picked up throughout the day, and the clouds have moved in. In fact, as I write this there is a gale warning out. Glad I decided to come back out yesterday when I did instead of tonight when I had planned.

I was able to get a few things that I needed to get done yesterday. Seems like there’s always a lot of things I need to do when I go back in and I just don’t have enough time to do all the stuff I need or want to do.

Today I have been working on the computer on a project I’ve started. I am scanning all of my records into digital files. I started this a while back – a month or two ago – and I’m trying to get it done. This way all of my important papers will be digital, as well as all my pictures I have. Today, I got a pretty good stack of things scanned but there is still plenty more to do.

I think that we have these powerful computers in our homes, but a lot of people only use them for internet, email, and a few other various little things. We don’t really use them to their fullest potential. I’ve really given that a lot of thought lately, and am trying to change my thinking on that. If I can scan most of my papers into digital files, that is a lot less stuff I have to keep track of. Actually, if you think about it, it’s good for people who are home as well as those who are traveling around. You really don’t have to have boxes of files stashed in your closet anymore. There’s really no need for it. It’s really another thing that helps simplify your life. Most of your bank statements, retirement statements, credit card statements, etc. are available to you in a downloadable PDF. Why not just download those files and save them directly and not even print anything out? I have started doing this as well, and it is so much simpler.

I have also been working on some spreadsheets I have started so I can easily keep track of business expenses and other things for my taxes. I am trying to keep things more organized to make it easier on myself with the end-of-the-year. I have spreadsheets for my medical expenses and business expenses. I got those caught up as well as scanning all of my receipts in and organizing some tax files. This means I have digital copies of all of my receipts I have for everything, plus in my spreadsheets I have formulas that will keep track of all the amounts of everything and total everything up so that at the end of the year I can grab the totals and give them to my accountant and I’m good to go.

Living on an island, you don’t have the easy distraction of being able to go to town to window shop, grocery shop, go out to eat or get a beer, or any other creative way of screwing off. I am really trying to use some of my downtime out here to do something productive that I’ve been needing to get done but have not done yet. Doing these spreadsheets and scanning in my documents are two of those things. I still have a lot of pictures to scan in yet, and those are really time-consuming. At least with documents you can put a stack in the scanner and the document feeder will shove them in there one at a time. With pictures you’ve got to put them facedown on the flatbed scanner and do them individually. That’s pretty time-consuming. I got a some of them done earlier in the week and I saw just how long it takes. I’m trying to do all my pictures into my computer so I will always have them but it is going to take some time.

I think one drawback about having all your pictures and things in digital form though is that they’re usually in a computer that’s password-protected. They really cannot be passed down to anybody else if something were to happen.

That’s about all for this update. I should think about some dinner now before it gets much later.

Toodles!

Shawn