Monday, September 6, 2010

Kodiak Island!!

My season in Alaska came to an end last week in the most perfect way. My co-worker Sean and I planned a trip to Kodiak Island, the first island on Alaska's Aleutian chain. It was a 10 hour overnight ferry ride to the island where we were greeted with perfectly blue skies that lasted all three days of our trip. We couldn't believe the luck we had, especialy after the locals explained how they'd experienced such a rainy summer up untill the day we arrived. Lucky us! We rented a car which turned out to be the best decision as we spent most of our days driving from one end of the island to the other to check out all the different beaches and views. Sean and I had some missions to fill during this vacation as we'd printed off a list of "75 things to do on Kodiak Island." For the short amount of time we were there, we were able to check off a decent amount of things such as visit the rocket launch, go to Jewel  Beach, watch people surf at Pasagchak, have a picnic in Fort Abecrombie Park, count bald eagles, go fishing, eat the fresh catch of the day, and much more.

Before we left for Kodiak, Sean had contacted a fellow letterboxer (treasure hunt hobby similar to geocaching)  online who lives in Kodiak. We lucked out bigtime as this lady, Denise, and her husband, Rob, just happened to be the most welcoming and hospitable people on the planet. They allowed us to sleep on their porch for the night since they were out of town until the next morning, during which we woke up to breakfast burritos, orange juice, tea, and endless enthusiasm to tour us around the island. Denise had even picked fresh rubarb to make me a birthday pie! Rob and Denise took us out on their boat with the first priority of finding puffins. I've wanted to see puffins this entire summer and as my days in Alaska were running thin, I was losing hope on meeting my goal. It was a great birthday surprise to finally see those funny little birds riding the waves next to our boat. We also got some amazing views of sea lions, otters, and seals. The rest of the day was spent hiking around the island and enjoying our new friends. That evening we had a great BBQ of fresh halibut and salmon with a few of the neighbors who were all equally as friendly and kind as Denise and Rob. We closed out our vacation with a true Kodiak experience: getting drinks at the B&B, the first licensed drinking establishment in Alaska, 1906. The bar tender was wasted by 8 pm and in Denise's terms "you can count the number of teeth in that bar on one hand." Sean and I boarded the ferry that night with huge grins- what an awesome vacation, birthday, and finale to a summer of my dreams.

This past week I have accepted a job teaching english in Nakhon Sawan, Thailand. I am nervous but of course very excited. I will keep up with this same blog while I am there, as it's been fun for me to journal about my experiences, and hopefully its fun for you guys to read about. I leave Kansas the end of September and will be in Thailand for a year. Until then, I'm catching up with friends in Kansas and Colorado so if you're anywhere near by, lets get together before I head out. And if anyone is looking for a vacation in the upcoming year...I hear Thailand is pretty cool! :D

View of Kodiak from the top of Pillar Mountain
Bald Eagle viewed through a spotting scope
Jump shot on the beach
Sunset in Pasagchak, our campsite for the night
Kodiak Brown Bear, subspecies of the Grizzly only found on this island
Fatty :)
Birthday puffin!!! Better in real life, of course
Our spectacular new friends, Denise and Rob- thanks for everything guys!!!

1 comment:

jhaehnel said...

Wow Claire! Sounds amazing, and I'm super impressed with the pictures you captured too!