10 March 2006

travelogue entries 6, 7 & 8

Travelogue, entry 6
2230 08MAR06 Petersburg, Alaska
We exited the office a little early today to clearing weather and some extra daylight, so we drove around the northern end of the island to see the sights. At the northern end of the island is Sandy Beach Park, where we found several bald eagles in the trees surrounding the inlet where the park is located (the eagles are also rather fond of hanging out around the fish processing plant at the northern end of town). The tide was out so I walked out on the sandy flats, utilizing the digital macro feature on my camera to take artsy photos of barnacles. One thinks of Alaska for the quality seafood. Tonight I attended a dinner party and ate some excellent grilled tuna from….Oregon.

Travelogue, entry 7
0840 09MAR06 Petersburg, Alaska
I took a walk this morning before meeting my coworkers at the one and only coffee shop in town. I walked down to the harbor, frost and ice crunching under my feet the whole way. Much of the water in the shallower water in the harbor was frozen for the first inch or so. I watched a variety of ducks float and take off and land, hoping to spot a sea lion. I was just about to head in for my latte and bagel which has been my morning routine when I heard a loud pffffffft sound, and turned in time to see a large brown body surface and then slide down into the water in my direction, about one hundred feet away. I watched it surface four more times as it curved away from the pier and out of the harbor. What a great way to start the day.
<< edit: in the harbor photo I've added, you can barely make out the sea lion's head in the reflection of the piling that is second from the right.>>

Travelogue, entry 8
0730 10MAR06 Petersburg, Alaska
This morning I walked to Eagles Roost Park, at the northern end of the main drag. After I scooped my jaw off the ground from the sheer number of bald eagles present, I started taking pictures, and desperately wishing I had my telephoto lens. The birds were just everywhere—probably around twenty all together.
The other large bird that was prevalent in the area were raven/crows. The cynic in me began to see why the bald eagle was selected as the American icon. One of the eagles started dive-bombing (bullying) a crow that had collected some food (presumably from the fish cannery that the park is located next door to). The eagle finally grabbed the food from the crow and found a high perch to sit down to his stolen breakfast. It made me think about American foreign policy….
For those of us who don’t see bald eagles on a daily basis (or even close), they are depicted in art as very solitary creatures, which I think is why it was so strange for me to see five of them hanging out in a tree. The clearer weather also allowed me to see the Coastal Range on the mainland, including Devil’s Thumb, a huge crag on the Canadian border. Were I in Seattle, Portland or coastal California, the smog undoubtedly would have blotted out the distant peaks, and seeing them would only occur on a windy day.

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