And So It Begins…

Adventure, Outdoors, Uncategorized

A little over two years ago I was… oh never mind. That was then, and this is now. Now is MUCH better. Then sucked in MANY ways.

With just a few days left here at The Spit, I started to move some of my belongings out of my cabin. Some is going into storage, and the rest I will take out to my new home on Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I got out to Protection Island (“P.I.” as we call it) today with some of my belongings and it really hit me about this change – not only is it that am I moving out of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I just took my first solo trip operating a boat for the U.S. Government, taking my belongings out to an island that is a federal wildlife refuge that is closed to the public, and that I will essentially be the only person there most of the time. Here are a few pictures I took today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnflaherty/sets/72157643042351424/. I will add to these during my stay.

I will be moved out there within the next week or so, putting out a few family pictures and setting up some of the few other personal things I decided to take with me. Not having a house (some may say “a real home”) is easy to overcome if you just do a few things to make it “yours”. Home is where, and what, you make it.

For more information about P.I. you can look at this website: http://www.fodnwr.org/in-the-community/webcams. This is our “Friends” group and most refuges, national parks, and other federal lands have similar organizations. They are all vital to these places and do so much and they can all use help and your involvement for these special places is very rewarding in many ways. Our Friends group has gotten a webcam put up on P.I. They also work on many other projects, one of which is a video about the history and importance of P.I.. If you click on the video link it will take you to Vimeo, which is hosting a very informative video about the island and its features. I learned a lot by watching it and maybe it will help some who watch better understand the importance and why these places matter.

It is amazing what you can do if you just set your mind to doing something and get it done. I have had many great opportunities happen in my life and those things have only happened because I wanted them to, and made them, happen. I may not have not done as much as some, but I have done more than others and I can take great satisfaction and pride in the fact that I have gotten to do so many cool things – well, at least to ME they were cool or I wouldn’t have wanted to do them. Dream for the big things and do what you need to achieve them. It doesn’t matter what others think… live YOUR life for YOU. If a “big” thing to you is something like getting a tattoo, or a second piercing in your ear, then by all means whoop it up!

Some can, and some do. The choice is yours.

One Week Left

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

“Your hard work on the job may appear to be finally paying off, Aquarius, as all signs indicate that a raise, promotion, or other form of advancement is coming your way. Your ambition and concentration have led and will continue to lead to significant accomplishment, which isn’t likely to escape the notice of those above you in the hierarchy. Draw satisfaction from your achievements and continue as you are.”.

This was my horoscope for today. Ironic that it showed up today, one week from the day that I move out of the cabin and onward to my next adventure. My hard work feels like it has paid off by giving me this next opportunity on Protection Island. It is a lot of responsibility – operating a boat and living alone on an island will have it challenges, but if I were not ready for it they would not have the faith and trust in me to do the job and would not have offered the position to me.

The next caretaker here will arrive on Friday morning, so I will be showing him around the area when he arrives in case he needs to get supplies and do any business he needs to do. Then I will begin training him on what happens here at The Spit. It might be a crash course in three days or so, but it is supposed to rain this week so that may keep the crowds down somewhat… but I am not holding my breath on that.

I spent the entire day on the beach today and it was a beautiful, sunny, 10-hour day. Got out to the lighthouse to do some things out there and got to see some birds. Then it was back to the mainland to get a couple of volunteers going out to look for dead birds for research (a monthly project). Wrapping up the day, I spent a few hours with some state people taking GPS data and other info for erosion studies.

I can honestly say that I do draw satisfaction from my achievements. I have gotten to do some fantastic things in my life, and this has been one of those fantastic things. At the same time it is a bittersweet thing for me to be leaving here. It has been the first place I landed after the massive upheaval my life took in early 2012 so it has had that comfort aspect offered by a soft landing in a new place. It is also the first place I have gotten to work on this career change at and learn so much about many new things as well as myself. It is such a beautiful place and this opportunity has been so incredible. I am very fortunate to have gotten to experience it. Coming into it I knew it would not be permanent and it would be part of my ongoing adventure, and it certainly has been a HUGE part of my ongoing adventure. Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is definitely a special place in its own right, and it is more special to me in a different way on top of that. A safe haven for animals, it has also been a refuge for me the time that I have spent here.

So what is next? I guess I will be finding out soon! When I do find out I will be posting updates on here so please stop by or follow my blog.

I am Getting Excited for My New Adventure!

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Well, I have started to pack my belongings for the move out of the cabin here at Dungeness NWR in preparation for going to Protection Island NWR. It is still a bit strange, but I have to get it done and I am making good headway with it. I have most things packed that I can put into storage and won’t be needing for the next six months. Packing has also given me a chance to go through and get rid of a few more unused things as well. I found a few items I am not using so it’s time to reduce my inventory some more and get rid of a few more things.

When I came here to Dungeness NWR a year and a half ago, I brought some of my kitchen things along with my personal items like clothes, computer, guitar, etc. It was a learning thing for me – what do I really need and what can I leave packed? This time I am packing all of my cast iron and other kitchen stuff away and I will pretty much use what is on the island. It will be much easier to go and return from the island this way. I checked out what is supplied already when I was out there yesterday getting some boating practice in and training on what needs to be done. I don’t really need to take too much other than personal necessities, so there should not be much to move.

Speaking of boating, last week I got to go out in the law enforcement boat, which is open (no cabin). We were out in rain and some minor rough seas that day testing out some new props we installed on it. That was fun, and the weather we got into was on the way back, cold wind and rain in the face added to the excitement. Yesterday was different, however. It was rough enough to warrant standing up to absorb the shock from the boat dropping down off the waves. I was pretty much running the boat on my own (just like I will be in a few weeks)… the guy I was with was just being a passenger but was giving me a few tips on boating on rough water since he has quite a bit of boating experience and is a great teacher.

Just like when I started driving all those years ago, the first time or two out in the boat alone will be quite different and strange. It will still be fun though! It is part of my job for now and I am really looking forward to this next chapter in my life.