November 11th, 2017

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

The last few days I have had the traveling Jones so I got up this morning and went to Sequim and the wildlife refuge I worked at. I got to see some friends today, but one good friend was out of town unfortunately.

I took a walk down the the Spit. It was a trip down memory lane walking down that trail. The cabin I lived in for 2+ years has been torn down so that was a bit of a drag to see. I knew they had torn it down but I had not been down the trail since they had done so. I was the next to last person to live in it and it was full of good memories.

Walking on the beach and looking NW towards the Olympics is beautiful always and is a sight I always looked at first when I got to the bottom of the trail and onto the beach. You get to see the mountains and ocean all in one picture and it was so good to see that view again. I do miss living there, being near the water, and I miss seeing and hanging out with my friends there.

I had considered staying in Port Townsend tonight but decided to just go home and save it for another time. I need to go back and catch up with some other friends and will do that when I am off work and can stay a few days. I don’t want be too rushed and I want to enjoy some nightlife in Port Townsend. I guess that I’ll have to plan a little to get someplace close to all the happenings. Luckily it’s mostly walking distance in town.

It was a good day full of good memories around every corner…a day spent reminiscing about a lot of things. I’m anxious to go back and visit some more.

August 16, 2014

Adventure, Outdoors

Well, my trip back out to the island was an adventure. It was the first time I have operated a boat in the fog completely on my own. I have been out in fog twice before, once while crabbing with someone else running the boat, and the other time while getting some training with someone else on board. I was a bit hesitant, but hey…you don’t learn if you don’t try.

We were going to take two boats out – I was heading back out to stay, and another crew was heading out to do some research and returning the same day. I left first, and was going to wait for the other boat. I got situated, got the fog horn set up, and headed out of John Wayne Marina to wait for the other boat. I decided to ease on ahead to get a feel for it and felt confident so I went on. The fog was pretty thick but cleared up a bit for just a brief moment. Then, as I proceeded out of Sequim Bay, it got quite heavy again and was that way all the way back out.

I had to navigate completely by GPS and compass, checking buoys and radar as well. There was no line of sight for anything. You can see water about 20-25 feet around you and everything else is stark grey. It is quite easy to go the wrong way on the water in conditions like that. You can get off-course so fast and so far. You think it is bad in a car, but at least you have pavement to follow while driving.

It was a lot of work, but the challenge was interesting and fun in its own way. I would like to have seen a breadcrumb trail of my path on the water to see just how much I wandered to and fro before getting on a straighter path using the compass more. It is not a straight shot from John Wayne Marina out to the island, so you have to work for it.

Needless to say I made it safely and still beat the other boat – albeit not by much. It was good experience and I now know I can handle it if the need arises and I have to be on the water in those conditions.

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!

Another Amazing Day

Adventure, Outdoors

Ahh, life… It just never ceases to amaze.

Today I was down by my boat doing some bird watching after washing the dock off – the wind was too much and I did not want to get blown off of the dock into the water. I got in the boat and using it as a big blind I am able to watch birds and not be noticed.

A couple of Canada geese were swimming by, and there was another goose behind them. It was not a Canada goose but a Greater White-fronted Goose. But there he was, just hanging out with them like he was one of them. They really did not seem to mind. There were also the usual assortment of gull, three mallards, a few more pair of Canada geese, bufflehead, and pigeon guillemot, and a couple of crows and bald eagles thrown in for good measure. I even got to watch a kingfisher do what kingfishers do. Fish.

I left and did a few more maintenance things around the island. Then I came home for lunch. After a giant salad, I went outside to work on a little bit of firewood. As I was walking toward the pile of wood, I noticed something on the other side of the shop running from the garage. I went back toward the house to see what it was.

Much to my surprise, it was a couple of otters running through my yard! I think I started them as much as much as they startled me! There is not a lot of water up here on top by the cabin, so I find it odd that they were up here.

They ran under the mudroom on the back of the house. I knew there was a hole on the other side so I went and sat down on a log just outside the back door and watched and two little heads popped out! The biggest one, which I think was probably an adult, carefully crawled out and ran up the side of the house. It repeated this behavior a couple of times, but the smaller one never did come out. I am not sure if it was a youngster, like a juvenile, or perhaps a small female. I really don’t know. I took several pictures and send them off to the biologist so she can let me know what’s going on with it. I think they are river otters. Everything I have read that I could find leads me to believe that.

Unfortunately, it was a little windy today. I was hoping to get out on the water today, but it was pretty breezy. I am told the summertime the wind tends to calm down quite a bit. That would be nice!

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.