Ireland Day 5.

Today, we began our road trip. We left from Dublin and headed to Dingle.

We stopped along the way in Adare because Uncle Leo told us to. It had a beautiful river and castle right in the middle of the village. I couldn’t help but to look in the water and see if I could find some trout swimming along. I couldn’t.Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 9.12.07 PMAt least the weather was great!Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 9.10.56 PM

Driving to the left, we avoided collisions and arrived at Dingle’s First Cottage. We stumbled into this amazing B&B and it couldn’t have been better.

This was our view.  Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 9.11.07 PM

Along the way, Amanda picked up a book about Irish wildlife.

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Vertical aquaponic wall garden.

I am damn near finished. There are always small details to fix, but the major stuff is finished. I built a shelf for the fish tank, made a light, and put it all together. The light was my first time playing with electrical things. It felt good to see the light come on without me getting electrocuted. Thanks to for showing me how to save $100 by making my own light. It was about $15 to make the light and another $20 for both light bulbs. Typically, these reflectors are about $100 without the bulbs.

photo 3Here is the light after being mounted to the ceiling.
photo 1Now we need more plants.
photo 2The fish poop and fertilize the plants. I got the idea from other aquaponic companies, but really didn’t want to pay what they were charging for complete setups. Amanda hates all of the wires, so those will be hidden somehow and then I will really be finished… until we work on the next one beside it.

Rattlesnake Lake

I found a new little piece of heaven. Only an hour away from the house there is a lake full of fish. There are dogs off leash (don’t tell anyone). Nobody is there during the week. There was one canoe on the lake, mine. For the first 3 hours, there was a bit of wind, lots of paddling, and no fish. It was getting frustrating. I have been fishing (for trout) all winter and not catching much. I have been fishing for steelhead all winter and not catching anything.

I had actually called it a day and we were paddling in to shore when with reluctant optimism, I stopped paddling. There was a small disturbance on the surface. The wind had died. The temperature had dropped. The fish were rising. First just a couple. Then like a switch they were all over the place. The air was full of big mayflies. Just like in the books, they looked like they were depositing eggs on the surface of the water. Maybe they were emerging from down below. They looked huge. Like a size 8 huge. I tried a dry, but no luck. Then an emerger that I knew would work. It didn’t. I went back to what I called the Boulder Creek special. It is technically something that looks like a caddis pupa. Brown thread, maybe some copper wire for a segmented body, and a bit of hackle behind a bead head. Magic. Got a couple of fish before the rains came.

The snow covered mountains started disappearing behind giant clouds of rain and snow. The first drops started falling as we finished loading the canoe on the car. Great day!


The Galley

Living at a fish processing plant has its advantages. The food is probably not one of them. In fact, when I first started, I was discussing the “mess hall” with my partner. He had some tips, advice, or comments. They were:

1.Sometimes people will talk to you.

2. Wednesdays and Thursdays are pretty good because we have tacos on Wednesday and pizza on Thursday.

That is probably the best that I can say as well. Now, don’t get me wrong. I doubt that I could feed 1,000 people, with different dietary restrictions, out in the middle of the ocean, healthy, affordable options, multiple times a day. But I could use a little Gordon Ramsey out here.

I also find Tuesdays to be a good day in the galley as they typically bring out ice cream. I didn’t think that I would be too excited about ice cream when it is snowing out here in the middle of the Bering Sea, but it is a treat none the less.


Professional Biologist.

So I passed my test and I am officially a National Marine Fisheries Groundfish Observer. Tomorrow, I get on a plane with 100 pounds of research tools in the infamous (amongst NMFS staff) blue baskets. I am excited to start working. And nervous. I am hoping to see some bears and get in a bit of fishing if there is any spare time on shore. Maybe even both at the same time. Good thing I have a bear bell and a beautiful singing voice.

We all got our foul weather gear (foulies) and tried them on in the living room.

Do we look ready?

Every day we are amazed that we are in Alaska. We take pictures just walking down the street because we like the backdrop.

Oh yeah and the town where I am headed tomorrow has surfing. I hope that they rent thick wetsuits.

Going to Alaska!

Here is my new job:

The Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division (FMA) monitors groundfish fishing activities in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Alaska and conducts research associated with sampling commercial fishery catches, estimation of catch and bycatch mortality, and analysis of fishery-dependent data. The Division is responsible for training, briefing, debriefing and oversight of observers who collect catch data onboard fishing vessels and at onshore processing plants and for quality control/quality assurance of the data provided by these observers. Division staff process data and make it available to the Sustainable Fisheries Division of the Alaska Regional Office for quota monitoring and to scientists in other AFSC divisions for stock assessment, ecosystem investigations, and an array of research investigations.

I am leaving in a week for Alaska. I have a 3 week training program and then I am out to sea for up to 90 days. More info here. Leave comments below!