Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I used to pay good $$ for salmon! 6.30.09

I've come to heaven! haha... We are getting so incredibly spoiled with fresh salmon, I don't think I will be able to eat it at a restaurant again! We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and we are treated with fresh salmon, caught that day, regularly. A native friend, Art, has given us some, our boat neighbor who is a commercial fisherman, Jeff, and even a guy we work with, James, has spoiled us with some fresh caught salmon - huge pieces!

Fresh salmon BBQ'd for dinner!

I am jonesing to get out there and fish myself. Tomorrow we have the day off so we're going to pick up our fishing licenses and a couple poles so we will be ready! The salmon are just beginning to swim upstream for spawning and there are fisherman that are catching their limit of 6 most days! And they're BIG!! They can be upwards of 40lbs!! This is one that James caught - probably 40-45lbs!!

That's a big salmon!

Don't worry, I'll be sure and bring my camera when we go out and shoot some photos. We have also met up with some friends of friends that we met when we were in Mexico, Dave & Peg on an 80' schooner, Alaskan Gypsy, who went out shrimping and brought us back a package of shrimp! YUM!!! We made some improvised shrimp cocktail that was just spectacular.

Yummy...fresh shrimp cocktail!

We tried our hand at making a jelly from here called Spruce Tip jelly. We went for a hike up to Lower Silvis lake and along the way, robbed the Sitka Spruce trees (the state tree) of their tips,

Rene picking Spruce Tips for jelly

then brought it back to the boat and attempted to make my first batch ever of jelly. First we boiled the tips...

Boiling the spruce tips

We had to improvise with a couple steps as I didn't have the appropriate parts & pieces but we made it work, straining it being one thing!

Our improvised collander

It came out.....a bit sweet and not so minty. After discussing with the gal that gave me the recipe, apparently I did not boil the tips long enough. Oh well! Next time. There will be lots more times to try my hand at it....the Salmonberries are beginning to bloom which look like a raspberry but have a blander taste. I will definitely be making a batch of salmonberry jam. :-)

We hiked up to Lower Silvis Lake, looking for 2 geocaches along the way.

Rene & Michael at Lower Silvis Lake

The hike was spectacular! It was a butt buster - a constant uphill all the way, but the view at the lake was amazing. It was an overcast day but still managed to take our breaths away (literally at times!). There is an Upper Silvis Lake that we will hike to also, we just didn't have time to hike there this time.

Lower Silvis Lake

So....here we continue - working away! We have worked hard to make ourselves useful in most positions and can typically work each day, if only for a couple hours. Michael is good on the docks for sales (go figure!) and I have begun helping in the back office with filing. Not to mention doing our tours whenever needed. I have pulled a couple 'doubles' this month - doing two tours in a day. Now that's only 8 hours actually in the Hummer as it's two - 4hr tours, but it can certainly get exhausting talking for all that time! Not to mention a double often turns into 11 hour days. But I volunteer for them all, I'd rather work than not! When we were interviewing for the position, I bugged the manager with the question over and over again - "what are most tours like?" She told me every time that they were all different and couldn't answer the question, which I was baffled about! Surely there was some 'average' tour that she could explain to me. I know now though....it's unexplainable. Each and every tour is totally different! Each group has different things they want to do, different 'quirks', personalities, and it's baffling!! Each day I get back from a tour, I tell Tina (our manager) she was correct and then fill her in on the details of my day. It gets quite comical. I've been trying to write down small snipets that will let me remember each group - where they're from, how many in the group, and that little thing that I'll remember them by: here for their 40th anniversary, honeymoon, met on eharmony, here fishing with grandson, bought reindeer sausage, teacher, librarian, upset, owns a laundromat, etc! It's quite a list. Now Tina says she is putting me in charge of training the new drivers next year so I can explain my 'average' tour! haha... We had our first large tour - a group of 20 and 4 Hummers! I always give the group a business card, which has my e-mail address on it and tell them to shoot me a photo when they get back, or if they have any questions about where we went, what we saw, etc. they can contact me. I have received 3 e-mails so far, which is so EXCITING! To think somehow I made an impact enough that they took time out of their day to write me an e-mail warms my heart. I got this picture from a group out of Texas...

Rene with some clients from Texas

We've continued to explore the area on our days off too. The other day we went to 'Dolly's House'. Dolly Arthur was the most famous 'madam' in the area and left her home as a museum. Dolly purchased the home in 1919 for $800. She would make between $75 and $100 a night, when most men were lucky to make a dollar a day. She charged $3 for 3 minutes of her time, fifty cents for a short shot of watered down whisky, and two dollars for a tall shot. She paid off the house in two weeks! She also had a Handyman special.....for $5 you could get both hammered and screwed. :-) She has an interesting house, with some crazy oddities in it! A vibrator that looks like a power drill

One scary vibrator!

and she has decorated parts of the house with 'flowers' made out of silk condoms.

Silk flowers made from condoms!

She had a trap door under the house that she used to smuggle in Canadian whisky during prohibition and if a man didn't want to get caught walking in the front or back door of Dolly's, he could wedge his skiff under the house and climb up! Ketchikan creek has a saying that it is where more men than fish went upstream to spawn. haha!

We splurged on Father's Day and went to a fantastic dinner at the Salmon Falls Resort. What a spectacular place! And the food was out of this world. We had one of those absolutely amazing sunsets that made us realize, again, why we are here! Again, we left the darn camera at home so we were forced to use Michael's cell phone camera - you can only imagine how it really looked. Next year...a new/better camera!

A spectacular sunset on Father's Day

We also had to laugh and remember we're in a small town the other day. We have been living on the boat now for a couple months and have made friends with the neighbors. We get transient boats in the slip beside us and Michael will often help them as they're coming in and chat with them. One day, John, the owner of the boat, came down to use his own dinghy and our neighbor questioned who he was and what he was doing! haha!! Now we KNOW we're in a small town!

Tomorrow is our day off and we have a full day planned! Haircuts, a ride on the underwater tour, and lots of catch-up computer work. The flowers are still blooming like crazy around here and they are so colorful! This is the Alaskan State Flower - the forget-me-not.

The Alaskan state flower - the Forget me not

More to follow...


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