Landlubber Today, Sailor Tomorrow

By a strange long series of events, I suddenly find myself a crewman aboard a sailing ship. I was shanghaied.

My ship for the next two months is the Adventuress, which looks something like this:

I'm not quite sure how I got here or what exactly I'll be doing, but I know there's singing involved. Sea chanties, to be exact. It's even in the handbook.

"Here" is the Puget Sound. The Adventuress plies the waters between the San Juans to the north and Tacoma to the south. It's an educational vessel, purpose: teach people about ecology, sustainability, community, and other good tidbits. I believe I'll be pointing at the water a lot saying, "Look, kids! Plankton!" And singing sea chanties.

But at the moment I'm a bit fried. This is day three of my travels to get to the ship. This morning started with a boat ride which for me was transportation but for everyone else was a whale watching ship, so I had to rouse myself from napping a few times to go stagger out on the deck and train the binos on breaching killer whales, which were multitudinous indeed. It's amazing how far across the surface of the water the sound of a killer whale's breath travels.

I shall post updates when I have the internet... or perhaps not at all, not at least until November, when my feet stay on dry ground once again.

If any of you find yourself in the same place as the Adventuress, come find me for a free ride. The calendar is to be found on the Sound Experience website, the organization in charge of it all.

Me Pointing at Things

I pointed at a lot of things on our Alaska trip, apparently. I feel that a pointing finger placed strategically within a picture adds so much interest to the composition, don't you?

Here are some of the things I pointed at:

Me pointing at British Columbia. They're a bit full of themselves, aren't they?

Me pointing at the Exit Glacier. Whoops, these aren't in any kind of order at all. The Exit Glacier is nowhere near British Columbia.

Me pointing at spinach. For supper. Yummy.

Me pointing at the infamous "Yukon Sour-toe." You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe. And yes, it is a real severed human toe, thank you very much.

Me pointing at a gorge we took a hand tram across. It was a very long ways down, and the door on the basket wouldn't shut, so whoever wasn't pulling the rope had to lean against the otherwise open door. Fun.

Me pointing at a black bear, one of our first official wildlife sightings. This was in fact in British Columbia.

Me pointing at delicious moose dinner, the steaks we got from the gal at the visitor's center. Served up with a little spruce tip jelly. Mmmm. The best meal of the whole trip, I thought.

Me pointing at the Burwash Landing (Yukon Territory) giant gold pan, biggest gold pan in the world. Is that man bleeding? I couldn't tell.

Me pointing at a fairy slipper. They're rare to see because they are over-collected by flower fanciers. A fairy slipper plant has to be 13 years old before it will flower.

Me pointing at a lake at Snag Junction, the Yukon. We camped the night there and swam in the lake the next morning. It was cold...we survived.

Me pointing at salmonberries. Ketchikan had more ripe salmonberries than I've ever seen in my life. They're one of the first summer berries to ripen, so we were lucky to time it just right. I had to use my hat when my hands got too full.

Me pointing at a can of refried beans, de-canned and festooned with spoon. Using cans of refried beans turned out to be a lot harder than we thought, so we were left with quite a few at the end of the trip.

I am slowly working through my thousands of Alaska pictures, attempting to organize them. That takes care of the "Me pointing at things" category!

The House of Falling Legs

The cabin I am living in requires fortitude. Fortitude and a sharp eye for little crawly things.

For some reason the summer has been unusually buggy. There are mosquitoes in the mountains. I don't remember there being so many mosquitoes in the mountains, but I do remember Al Gore mentioning that previously mosquito-free cities like Nairobi, built at elevation to escape malaria, are experiencing a rise in the mosquito altitude line and getting infestations that they never had before. Perhaps that's happening here, @#*& global warming. But I digress.

The cabin I am living in is the catacomb of choice for every insect within a ten mile radius. Though the doors and windows are always shut, they find their way in regardless, finishing their pilgrimage from great distances to come die on my countertop.

Correction: The countertop is where the gnats come to die.

The moths come to die in hidden places, like underneath my toothpaste.

The crickets come to die in the middle of the floor, where I will step on them in the morning.

How is it that one building can attract so many tiny carcasses? They're everywhere. If I space out and forget to check my cup in the morning, I will inevitably feel something that is decidedly not water but in fact hard and pointy, much like many little legs, against my tongue. My bathroom looks like someone thought to liberate volumes of mounted insects by pulling out the pins and dumping them everywhere. Case in point - I dropped my facecloth by mistake the other night and went to pick it off the floor. No problem, right? A little dust, a little hair... oh. And a large unidentifiable many-legged exoskeleton stuck to the cloth. Nasty.

The spiders flock to my cabin like mourners to a graveyard, gorging themselves, I suppose. They are mostly well-behaved spiders, except for the fact that they A) like to web up the bathtub, even hours after I've showered, and B) find their way into the clothes I drop on the ground. Yes, I have the bad habit of dropping clothes on the ground and forgetting them until the next morning. I do not "do" orderly. It is not such a problem if I remember to shake out my clothes before putting them on.

If I remember...

There's nothing that can jog your memory quite like a fast moving spider inside your sweatshirt early in the morning.

Crouching Spider, Hidden Moth Carcass. The House of Falling Legs.