Wednesday, June 30, 2010

salmon fishing in alaska

Salmon fishing in Alaska is a short intensive activity from June to about September.
From what I understand there are 3 types of fishing.The type we encountered as we got to Point Nowell were the gil netting fishing boats as well as some land based netting.

The boats are amazing, designed to be operated by a single hand. The fisherman lays out the net and then waits for the fish to get caught, he then lifts up the net and with a huge winch rolls the net back on the boat shaking out the fish as they come up out of the water.

The fresh salmon slide onto the deck and into a hold, when he is full he goes and meets a collection boat, who weigh his catch and give him a slip with the information for later payment.

He then goes back and does it all over again, this for about 4 months while living on his boat all the time and then has the rest of the year off to do other stuff. All of the commercial fishermen that we met were extremely proud of their way of life, very friendly and generously gave us fish for our group.

We also met a family who live in a shack on the bay, fish from nets attached to land, go out in boats and unload the catch as often as needed. They also spend 4 intensive months living and fishing in the bay and then spend the rest of the year at other activities. [in this case they go Halibut fishing in another area]

It seems like a very profitable if difficult way of life. You need to be resourceful, independent and not afraid of hard work, as well as being able to live alone or almost alone for long periods of time.
I have also seen ads for working as deck hands on these vessels, could be a good experience for the adventurous among us.
An then we had to clean and gut our fish  that we had been given.

One of them was full of roe, which is just delicious when fried

Need I tell you what a great feast we had that day?

There is nothing like eating really freshly caught fish, either raw like sashimi with a bit of lemon and salt and pepper or  fried in a pan.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The trip begins with loading unloading and doing it again

The bus came to fetch us at 7am and we had to load all the food and equipment for the journey from anchorage to Whittier

After arriving in Whittier and unloading the bus and loading the sea taxi we were ready to go
About 2 to 3 hours later we had again unloaded the taxi and loaded our kayaks

One final group photo to celebrate the beginning of our expedition

Racheli, a Doctor of seaweed found new species to examine and play with

Hadas also had fun with the seaweed

The next day we passed our first glacier

Lucky for us the weather was friendly, warm and dry

With the never ending daylight we lost all sense of time and often found ourselves having supper at 10 or 11 at night. This has advantages in that there was never any pressure to get to camp before dark and  so we could paddle at leisure almost any time we wanted. In fact for the entire time there I never saw a sunrise nor a sunset and had to look at the time to decide when to go to sleep.

Monday, June 28, 2010

into the wild and back again

The best way for me to describe our trip to Alaska is with pictures. Words cannot adequately tell the story,so I will keep them to a minimum.

We were taken to our drop off point by sea taxi from Whittier and left to fend for ourselves for 7 days and 6 nights in the Alaskan wilderness. It was a fantastic experience for me and the 14 other paddlers. Camping in the pristine Prince William Sound was like being in the Garden of Eden, the views were wonderful in all directions, the wildlife was abundant with seals , eagles and whales and the human companionship was the cherry on the cake.

Everybody found their own role in the group, and cooperation took no effort at all. Thank you to all who were part of this trip, together we made it a great experience.
In future blogs I am sure more tales will come out, just now its too much info to process all at once.
One day we saw an Eagle with a fish in his claws, at some point he dropped it  and Humi managed to get hold of it. The eagle had only eaten the head and left the rest for us.Some of our party  declined to eat the leftovers, but those who did had a real treat.
Later on we met some commercial fisherman who also gave us a few Salmon which were just as good and now everyone could eat gourmet food.
 We visited the glaciers and paddled in the ice
This is way way out of our usual paddling experience.
I guess it will take a while to settle back into a regular routine again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

leaving on a jetplane

Well the time has come for me to say goodbye, I will be gone on an Alaskan adventure  and back home on the 28th June.
take care while I`m gone, paddle safe and have fun

Monday, June 14, 2010

so heres what I do when I dont kayak

On the wall of my clinic I have a few pictures of myself kayaking in the waves. For most of my patients this is an eye opener as they dont know much about my private life. It often leads to discussions of various sports and has even resulted in a few coming to the kayak club and turning into kayakers.
We, my partner and I have just launched our new website and I would appreciate it if you would visit  and maybe sign up for our newsletter.
all comments are welcome

Saturday, June 12, 2010

everyone can learn to roll and walk a tightrope

There`s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment  when learning to do the eskimo roll, and then comes the next phase of practicing it untill it becomes instinctive.
Core muscles are used all the time in kayaking, from rotation during correct forward paddling, to edging and surfing, and tightrope walking helps to develope them.

the last weekend before Alaska

Yesterday the wind in the afternoon got up to 20kn, only 4 of us went out, Avital, Yotam, Yair and myself. We went out against the wind for about an hour. The wind waves were about 1 to 1.5m high and the paddling was really a lot of fun, bouncing over the waves and feeling the spray blown around.

Avital and I were paddling with Greenland paddles and I have to admit, it really was easy going, we both felt no adverse effect of the wind on our paddles

A good sprayskirt is essential in these conditions, otherwise your kayak gets full of water and then you have to raft together and pump it all out.

The home leg took us all of 15 minutes, and with surfing the waves and the wind at our backs it was an exhilarating ride home , only we had to be careful to dodge the wind and kite surfers in the bay.

Afternoon paddles are a great way to end the day with the setting sun out over the horizon.

Saturday morning at 7 is another great time to paddle [actually any time is a great time to paddle] and after this mornings outing I managed to catch Kid and Vered in a classic pose. This picture is now my new wallpaper. Hail the girls of Optimist, you are great.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Greek Island Hopping

They came home on Tuesday morning , 15 intrepid kayakers from the Optimist kayak club, after an arduous trip from the Greek Island of Milos to the Island of Santorini.


Now this is a second hand description of the trip, pieced together from snatches of conversations with a few of the participants and some descriptive photos taken from Kobi Keren`s album.

We at home heard that the conditions were not too easy, strong winds and long crossings but the truth was a bit different, They made short shrift of the 20 to 30 km crossings from island to island, with numerous relief stops along the way.
The nights were spent on the luxurious island beaches within easy reach of the numerous Tavernas, where for a few paltry Euros they ate, drank and then danced their way through the night.

Sometimes they even paddled into stunning rocky bays and coves

and the hardships of the campgrounds was softened by a bottle or 2 of the good stuff.

All in all they had a great time and every day was different  with new  places and faces.

I`m sure as time passes we will get more detailed information and hear of the incidents along the way.

And of course when we get back from Alaska we will have to have a party to celebrate the summer trips and show all the pictures.
And yes Lee, I am getting excited.
thanks to Kobi Keren for the photos 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

7 Days to go

I have a 10 day weather forecast that shows the weather in Whittier Alaska as showers for the next 10 days, temps are not too bad from 12c to 8c.If you look at Israel you see sunshine for the next 3 months.So it looks like were in for some wet weather kayaking and camping.
Cant wait to get going
Meanwhile  back home the seas are playful, nice swells and lots of waves for surfing and playing around.
Paddling through the pylons could be like rock hopping if you stretch your imagination.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

countdown to alaska

June 17, 0200 in the morning we take off for our 8878mile trip to Alaska. This will take all of 20.09 flying hours, not counting waiting around in duty free shopping areas. Seems like a lot of miles to go for a paddle. And then we have to come home again, making a round trip of about close to 18000 miles. Usually it takes me 10 min. to get to the water.
This time it will be different though, a week spent in the Prince William Sound, miles from civilization, paddling in an alien environment for me. Cold water, whats that?
They have rented dry suites for us, I`ve only worn one once when I went out with Jeff in Cornwall last summer, and then I needed help in putting the thing on.

Whats it going to be like wearing one for a whole day?
Talking to people who have been there and done that I get the impression that its a great experience, learning to survive in a totally foreign environment, dealing with the cold and wet, and the occasional bear, makes for an unforgettable trip.
So the countdown begins,