Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in Kodiak, Year 2.

Another year, another Christmas in the great white-ish north! Unfortunately we were only white-ish, with just a light dusting of snow over night on Christmas Eve. I think I'd rather that than the 3-feet of blizzard-dropped snow we got last year, though!

We both left the cameras sitting on the ground for most of the day, so we don't really have any good pictures from the day. So I'll just tell you what we did!
We had big plans for a day spent in our pajamas, and we didn't have to change those for the most part. We took our time opening gifts, even breaking for the traditional monkey bread breakfast in the middle. With our bellies full, we started making our phone calls when Christina called and asked if we wanted to head out to Ft. Abercrombie for a quick hike/walk with the dogs. Still in our pj's at that point, we put on the warm clothes, tossed on our hats, and headed out for a walk. You don't throw away the opportunity for a hike on a beautiful sunny day up here, even if it is Christmas and you didn't plan to put real clothes on all day!

Jason and I left Brad and Christina to do another loop and headed home, with a date to meet up in a little while for some hot chocolate. In the meantime, we put ourselves together, and headed out to deliver some cookies to some friends in the neighborhood. Cookie delivery done, we changed back into pj's and Brad and Christina came over a little after 3-ish, I think.

Our hot chocolate turned into hours of chatting and laughing, and the next thing we knew, it was almost 7pm!! Though we had each planned our own dinner-for-two, we combined bits and pieces into dinner-for-four, and the good times went on until almost midnight! Lesson learned: never plan a short visit with the Andersons... it hasn't worked yet!!! We had a great time, though, and really enjoyed our low-key dinner and hanging out on the couch!

Of course, there were presents involved yesterday, with Jason getting a gift certificate to design a custom tap handle for his kegerator from Bass Custom Taps as his "big gift," along with a handful of other things he wanted. I think I was a little spoiled, though, since I'm now the proud owner of a gorgeous piece of metal sculpture from a local Kodiak artist. Jason (and his mom and step dad) had an octopus made for me by Mark Witteveen of Metallic Marine Art. The one I got looks a lot like the one at the top of the home page. I LOVE it and have been drooling over them since the first week we got here!!! Fred wasn't left out of the fun, either, though we mostly just used the wrapping paper as his gift! We did get him one new toy, though, which I lovingly brought back from CT when I was there in November. We think he likes it...

But, the best gift of all for us actually came a little earlier in the week. Well, it actually came a lot earlier than that, but we got a first glimpse earlier in the week...

For the four people who may not have heard yet (courtesy of a soon-to-be-Grandma who hasn't stopped telling people since November...), our family will be growing by one this year!!!!! Those fabulous little pictures up there are of our little "Green" Dorval, who will be making his/her appearance sometime around July 15th! The top picture is a great profile, and the bottom one is the baby's two little legs, kicking around in there. That was the first view we had of Green (so named because it's a gender-neutral color appropriate for either a boy or a girl!), and I instantly melted at that sight! I then said to Jason and the doctor (who probably thought I was nuts!), "Hey! There really IS a baby in there!!!" I'm still getting used to the idea of being a mom in just about 6 more months, but I couldn't be happier! We're very excited, and even more excited to finally be able to share the news with everyone!
We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and we wish you all a blessed 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Shortest Day of the Year!

....and it was also the sunniest day of the week. Seriously, the sun came out for the first time since LAST Sunday today. I think maybe God has a sense of humor - the SUN only comes out on SUNday. Ha. It's not funny.

Moving on...

As the title of my post says, today was the shortest day of the year. That's not something I ever paid attention to when I didn't live in Alaska. I mean, I knew when the official first day of winter was (which was always funny, because it always seemed like winter started LOOONG before that first day), but I never really focused on the importance of the daylight associated with that. But, when you live in a place where the shortest day of the year consists of 6 hours and 30 minutes of daylight, you pay attention! For the record, tomorrow we'll have 9 more seconds of daylight than today. Yes, that's important, even if it's just 9 seconds. The key is that it's MORE than today.

So, what does the winter solstice look like in Kodiak? Well, this picture shows what noon on the solstice looks like. On the left-ish is the sun, just barely clearing the top of our neighbor's 2-story house. I actually took this picture at about 12:30, so we were definitely at the high point of the sun for the day!
There is much rejoicing in the Dorval household today - mostly by me - since we're officially on the downhill of this winter. Yes, winter will still last until sometime in mid-April (if we're lucky it won't go til May), but the sun will be out for longer and it will get higher in the sky on the days when we actually get to see it.

Speaking of the sun, as I said, today was the first day since last Sunday (it might've been Monday) that the sun made an appearance. After a week of rain and snain, the blue skies and bright orb in the sky were welcome visitors to the neighborhood. Between batches of Christmas cookies, we took the opportunity to head out for a walk at Ft. Abercrombie. It seems like a lot of other people had the same idea, too. We counted 15 cars in the parking lot on our way out. I think the most we've seen there on the nicest summer day was about 8 or so. Yep, we all were going a little stir crazy!

With that, I'll just share some pictures I took today... the camera finally came back out on a hike with me for the first time in months!

Ft. Abercrombie view: Notice the bit of ice fog on the water... it was just gorgeous out there.

Fred enjoying the view - and some time off leash letting some energy out!

This is why I need an even bigger zoom lens. That's an eagle on the rock.

And, finally, the money shot. It only took me about 10 minutes and too many tries to count, but I really wanted a picture of a water drop on the spruce.

That's the latest from Kodiak. Hope everyone is ready for Christmas and can take the next few days to relax and remember why we all go crazy getting ready!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Delinquent bloggers are the worst!

Don't you hate when you click on one of the blogs you follow regularly, only to discover that the slackers who own it haven't updated in over a month? Yeah, me too. So for everyone who's been asking (and that's not just a few people), here ya go... hold on tight because it's going to be long and picture heavy!
I'll start way back at the end of October, about a week after I last blogged. Jason and I go the chance to fly out to Chicago/Grand Rapids, MI for a weekend to go to my friend Justin's wedding. He got married on Nov 1, but we wanted to make sure we were there in plenty of time, so we actually flew into Chicago on the Thursday before, which gave us time to sightsee a little, and meet up with another friend, Sean, and his wife Katie (and to get a quick peak of their sleeping 3-month old twins, Brendan and Ben).
We didn't have a ton of time in Chicago - and we were exhausted thanks to the red-eye from Anchorage on Wednesday night - so we tried to make the most of the time we had. We walked down the "Magnificent Mile" and headed to the top of the John Hancock building to see as much as we could from there. They take your picture before you head up, and then put it against a Chicago-skyline backdrop. So, here we are on the shore of Lake Michigan!And, of course, I took pictures from up there, too. This one was one of my favorites.
It was a gorgeous day the day we were there, with temps up in the 50s, which was a nice treat for us! When we got done at the Hancock, we headed back down the Magnificent Mile, in search of something to eat.
Although I've never been a fan of deep dish pizza (a la Pizzeria Uno), we figured if we were in Chicago, we should probably eat like we're in Chicago. On a tip from Sean, we hit Giordano's, which is apparently "THE" deep dish pizza place. It took forever to get the pizza, which totally cut into our nap time, but the wait was definitely worth it. A tip from us - never get something bigger than a small to share between two people. We probably could've gotten a kid's size and been fine. There's a LOT of cheese on one of these things! Mmmmmmm!!!!!!!

Later that night, we drove out to Sean and Katie's house in a local suburb, completely misjudging how much traffic we'd see, and how much of a delay that would mean (we don't have traffic in Kodiak!!!). We were a bit late, but it didn't seem to matter too much. We had a great dinner with them that night at the Naperville branch of Rosebud (Italian.... mmmm!!!) and then wandered around Naperville for a while, just catching up. I hadn't seen Sean since I moved from NJ (he helped us pack up the house), though Jay had seen him a few years back. And this was the first chance we had to meet Katie - now I just wish we were closer - we had a great time with them!

From Chicago, we headed north to Grand Rapids for the main event - Justin and Sharon's wedding. We went to the rehearsal and dinner on Friday night, which was a great chance to spend some real time with the two of them. Again, this was the first chance we had to meet Sharon, but I've known Justin since my freshman year at the Academy. Saturday was the wedding. Jason and I were both in the sword arch (a 2-for-1 deal, as Justin said), and also acted as ushers at the ceremony. Following the ceremony, and a quick change into real clothes for me (YAY! A fancy dress! And no, I don't have a picture!), we drove around Grand Rapids with the wedding party in a trolley for a while, taking pictures and enjoying the scenery until it was time to head to the reception. Unfortunately, it was an early night for us because we had early flights the next morning from Chicago (3 hours away) back to Kodiak (for me) and to Portland (for Jay).

That brings us into November. Is this long enough yet??? November was pretty uneventful. Jay and I didn't see much of each other for the month. He was in Portland for the first week, came home for a while, then I left for CT (work/leave). He got called out on a 3-day case while I was in CT and didn't get home until the day after I got back, and then he left again the day after Thanksgiving, about a week later. It was a crazy month, though not much happened!
We did get to have Thanksgiving together, though, which was fantastic. We did a progressive dinner with four different households in our neighborhood, and had a ton of fun! Thanksgiving lasted about 10 hours, starting at Roger and Margo's for appetizers at noon, heading to our house for the main meal later that afternoon, then to Brad and Christina's for dessert, and finally to Beth and Zach's for after-dinner drinks. Here are a couple shots from the day.

I have some other pictures, but that's probably good. We had more food than we could possibly eat, so everyone took their leftovers home (it was progressive AND potluck!). I think we might have had as much food as last year, though, with 6 more people, though. So at least we got closer this year!! And, of course, ol' Tom the Turkey had to have his last flight. Jason thought it would be funny to introduce him to Fred. Ha.

Following another trip out of town for Jason (this time to Mobile, where it was colder than it was here!), we're now into December. The big business this month has been getting ready for Christmas, including tree hunting. We headed out to about the same general area as we found our tree last year, and tromped around for a while in search of that perfect wild tree. This year, we went with Brad and Christina (and Brad's mom), and Roger and Margo (new friends who just moved here this summer). Christina headed up a hill and took off at a trot, so we let her go, and stuck a little closer to the road. In an amazing feat of tree-hunting skillz, Jason managed to find us a tree in less than an hour - and I like it. Roger and Margo got one just a little while before us (that's Fred watching them haul it down the hill), and then Brad and Christina finally scored a little while after us.

Keeping with tradition, we chopped the top of a tree off - though I think we took more of it this year than the one we had last year. We still had to do some trimming once we got it home, but not nearly as much as last year! Here's Jason trying to cut the tree down... can you find him?

I had a bunch of other pictures to share, but I think this is plenty long enough now. So that's the last couple months in the Dorval household. I'll try to stay more on top of things. I have to admit that the onset of winter was definitely messing with me a bit, and I was having a hard time wanting to keep up with this stuff. My SAD lamp has made it back out of the closet, though, and things are back on track. Now you'll just have to wait for updates as I try to get everything done for Christmas! Anyone want to come bake my cookies for me?!?!

Finally, on the Christmas note, here's the (mostly) finished product of our tree hunt (we haven't put our glass and tin icicles on it yet). It's another beautiful tree... and yes, the star is touching the ceiling!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


October 23rd. Maybe officially October 22nd (we woke up to it). It snowed. Enough to stick. Crap.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Trip!

Everyone better really appreciate this slideshow for all the work it took me to get it up here!!! Geez, nothing like fighting with HTML stuff - something I know NOTHING about!

Anyway, this is just a handful of the pictures from our trip. Between the two of us, and two cameras, we probably took about 500 pictures, so whittling it down to a digestable amount for the masses was no easy task!

So, the quick and dirty on the trip:
We left Kodiak late on a Thursday afternoon, arriving in Orlando mid-day on a Friday, after only one short delay in Dallas on the way. We had to wait around the airport for a while in Orlando, waiting for our bags to catch up, but that gave us time to get the car and stretch our legs. From Friday til early in the morning on the next Friday, we did all the fun Orlando things. We spent more than a little time at EPCOT, and also got in ample time at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (used to be MGM). We also braved the crowds for the late-night fireworks at Magic Kingdom on Saturday night, and got some quality time at Sea World. And, of course, we splurged on a day at Discovery Cove, which we thankfully rescheduled during our lay-over in Dallas so that we could try for better weather. It worked, too!

While in Orlando, we were also lucky enough to see Nana (Peggers!) for an afternoon, including a great Italian dinner at a local Mom&Pop kind of place. It was amazing to see all the changes to the area she lives in - it's grown so much in just the couple years since we were last there! We also got to see the Holloways, who were our neighbors in Kodiak until this past spring. Mary cooked us a fabulous meal, and we just hung out for a while, catching up with her, Keith and the kids. Keith had recently had some surgery, and I have to admit part of the fun was watching the pain meds kick in! *giggle*

From Orlando, we headed a little further south to St. Thomas to see Josh and Erin, and Regan, of course! Regan had just hit 7 months, and it was WONDERFUL to finally meet her! We had a great time hanging out with Josh and Erin, and just relaxing a little at the tail end of our trip. To add to the fun, my friend Lisa, who moved to St. Croix from Kodiak this summer (courtesy of the Coast Guard), flew over for the day one day, and we had the chance to hang out for a while! I've been missing my friends who transferred this summer, so it was awesome to see some of them while we were on vacation!

We finally left St. Thomas first thing on a Tuesday morning, and arrived in Kodiak a mere 28 hours later! We also came back to temperatures roughly 55 or 60 degrees colder than when we left St. Thomas! That was QUITE the wake-up call! We managed to stay away long enough, though, that, even with it being in the 30s, we were happy to be home! Since then, we've been busy getting caught up at work, and getting ready for the next trip - Grand Rapids for Justin's wedding!

For a little contrast, I'll leave this with a picture I took the day after we got back from vacation. If you'll remember, in the slide show, there are many pictures of us in shorts and t-shirts. It was a little different when we got home!

Sorry it took me so long to update! Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

We're alive....

So neither one of us has had the energy to update the blog since we've been back from vacation. Theoretically I'll get to it this weekend....

We had a GREAT time on our vacation, though! We soaked up some sun, walked our feet to blisters at the different Disney parks, saw family and friends in Florida, and more family and friends in St. Thomas, and stayed away long enough to really appreciate coming home. Even though it was nearly 90 degrees when we left St. Thomas one morning, and just about 30 degrees when we walked out to the plane in Anchorage 24 hours later, we really were happy to get home!!

I'll put a slide show together this weekend to share some of our fun!

Oh, and, in case anyone wondered, I finally figured out who the cutest kid in the world is. Her name is Regan and she wins... hands down!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vacation is off to a good start...

Look what we found in Dallas this morning following our 6+ hour flight from Anchorage!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What I Saw in Kodiak This Week

In between the sideways downpours this week (yep, fall has come to Kodiak), I was lucky enough to glipse a gorgeous sunrise, and some local wildlife. It's a good thing this kind of stuff rolls across the camera lens, or I think I'd go running for the hills!

Speaking of running, we're out of here this week for our Florida/St. Thomas trip. We're looking forward to the sun and heat, but, mostly we can't wait to finally meet our niece, Regan! She's only six and a half monts old now, so it's about frickin' time! I can't wait to get my baby fix!! (Oh, and see Josh and Erin, too, of course!... and Nana in Florida, and our friends Mary (and hopefully Keith), and their kids, and also my friend Lisa and her daughter, Abby who recently moved to St. Croix.) This vacation couldn't come soon enough!!!

Holy cow! I can't believe I almost forgot... Big news happened this weekend! The results of our promotion board FINALLY came out, about a month after they actually met. It was a happy day here yesterday when Jason and I both found out that we've been selected for Lieutenant Commander (O-4)!! This is a big one since you get officially "tenured" at O-4 - unless we screw up completely, they have to keep us til we hit 20 years now! Of course, it'll be quite a while (probably at least 8 months) until we actually pin the rank on (and get the pay raise to go with it), but being selected is good enough for right now! We're pretty excited! Though, at the same time, it makes us feel a little bit old...

In addition to the promotion, I also accomplished a major goal at work over the past few weeks. We're still in the trial-run phase of it, but I've succeeded in getting four days for our cutter training instead of just three. This is HUGE, and I'm pretty proud of myself! For YEARS (long before my time), there have been complaints about the short period of time allowed for training, and how rushed the whole process is. Many of my predecessors have done what they could to try to overcome the hurdle, and I've been asking for another day since I got to the school. Over the past few weeks, I've been working with my bosses to make my case, and it looks like the next cutter to come through will get four days of training!! We haven't made it permanent yet, but that should be easier to do once we get the feedback form the students. So, that's my latest news!

On to the pictures now... That one at the top was the sun just coming up on my way into work the other morning. The day showed such promise, and then by the end of the day, it was raining sideways again! Oh well!!

The rest can speak for themselves! I spent about a half hour or so just watching these two enjoy an early morning meal! (I DEFINITELY need a bigger telephoto lens!!!)

That's it from here. I can't promise any other updates between now and when we leave for vacation, but we'll try to update on the road. Just be aware that any pictures that have US in them from vacation could blind you with all the pasty whiteness that is the Alaskans in Florida!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back to our regularly scheduled programming....

This is a short one...

Fred met a fish last night. Jason caught it, brought it home to clean, and I figured Fred should see where his kibble comes from.

He was definitely not sure what to think. He got much more excited about the fish when it was on the cutting board and there was a chance he'd get a piece.

Silly dog.
(And this is as close as I get to a "Wordless Wednesday" post!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sad day for the Coast Guard

Today's blog isn't my usual update on the Dorval's.... it's a blog for me to get a little bit of my own feelings out, while also asking for your thoughts and prayers for our Coast Guard family.

My bubble of altered reality (the one where I pretend that Jason's job isn't dangerous) was shattered this morning when I opened my email at work.

At about 8pm last night, Hawaii time, a CG HH-65 (the small, orange ones) crashed just five miles off the coast in Honolulu. The crew was doing some training with a local small boat, and no details have been released as to what happened or how. There will, of course, be an investigation.

Here's the latest update on the local Honolulu newspaper's website.

As of right now, three Coasties have lost their lives, and a fourth is still missing. All the members of the crew have wives and families, and have left them, as well as their wider CG family behind. Jason and I are "lucky" enough to not know any of those involved personally, but that doesn't make it hurt less.

I am choking back tears as I type - our service is so small that we feel every loss. Our aviation community is even smaller, and, of course, closer to us, and I'd be lying if my first thought wasn't of Jason. I like to forget that, every time he flies, this possibility exists. I like to think that he's always safe. But, the reality is that every Coastie takes a risk every time they fly or get underway on a boat or cutter. It's not inherently safe, and we can only do our best to keep it safer.

I think I'll stop there, before I make it too real for everyone else, as well.

But, please, keep the familes of LCDR Andrew Wischmeier, AST1 David Skimin, and AMT2Joshua Nichols in your thoughts and prayers. At the same time, please keep the family of the missing pilot in your thoughts. Prayer that he may be found sooner than later. Also, keep all of Air Station Barbers Point in your prayers. They're still out there right now, flying and searching for their own lost crewmember. And, finally, remember the crew of the 47' MLB - they watched it happen since they were there conducting training with the helo. I can't imagine what images are going through their minds right now.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Slide Show...

I'm hoping this will work if I post it all by itself... Here's the slide show of all my entries in the photo contest. One correction - I took 3rd place in one of the categories. I thought it was a first, but I was wrong. But still, 8 blue ribbons, 2 red ribbons and a white is still a pretty good showing!

Holy crap. I won.

Yesterday was a pretty big day for me. Our not-that-big-but-that's-ok State Fair and Rodeo is this weekend in Kodiak. It's the last hurrah of the summer, and just a part of the Kodiak way of life.

Like any other State Fair, people can enter their homemade goodies, handmade crafts, or, in my case, their photography. I decided to go for it, and edited and ordered 11 different pictures in time to get them put together and dropped off on Friday night. There were 12 different classes for me to enter, 6 in color and 6 in black and white. I had enough for all the color categories, but fell short on a good black and white scenic shot to enter all six of those. So, with my 11 framed prints in hand, Jason and I headed out to the fairground Friday night to register my entries.

Yesterday, the gates opened at the Fair at about noon, and we got there at just about 1pm. That silly spouse of mine actually asked me if I wanted to grab lunch before heading into the exhibitors hall... HA! Of course, I didn't want to wait even a second to see how I did! Imagine my surprise when I walked directly to the photography table to see this:
And then, I turned to the right and saw this, too:

HOLY CRAP!! I won overall first prize, and overall second prize, along with a third premium for another shot (there were more than a couple third premiums). So, essentially, I got First, Second and Third! In addition, I took first in all but two of the categories I entered. I don't know how many pictures were entered in each individual category, but First and Second overall is exciting! There were quite a few entries overall:
I just can not believe how well I did!!! I'm so excited, and have already had some friends ask me if I'm going to sell some of the stuff! YAY!!! So now the work begins to try to get my stuff together to be able to sell some at one of the bazaars before the holiday season. I'm SO excited!!

And, as if that wasn't enough, we went fishing yesterday afternoon, and I caught a giant chum salmon. Not a keeper (yuck), but FUN to reel in and snap a couple pictures of (after making Jason run back to the truck to grab the camera)!

Ok, I had every intention of putting in a slide show with my pictures from the fair, but can't make it work and I'm not html-savvy enough to fix it! So, I'll put up a new post with those later on!
That's all for now! Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Silver Season in Cordova!

Well the last trip to Cordova for the summer (Hopefully) has proven to be both frustrating and very rewarding. The "mudhole" that was refered to in earlier posts has dried up, which isn't necessarily a bad thing since it took 45 mins to drive to it. So as you probably already thinking, the fish are a little harder to find right now. We ended up going out the last three days and have had very little luck. Only about one fish for each of us, that is until today. Today we ended up almost having the three of us limit out (catch three each). I was able to make up for the last three days and limited out quickly. Zach and our swimmer (also a Jason) couldn't quite land the third fish each. Not that we were lacking in the fish department. I ended up catching the biggest fish I have every caught besides a halibut. Sorry Jeff, if you had been here a few weeks later we might have been able to get you one of these in Kodiak. Well that's all for the dialog, I'll just let you enjoy the pictures.

My Monster

Today's Catch = Good eating!

The Boat's Catch

The three of us (Jason, Zach, Myself)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wordless... Thursday?

Well, I'm a day late for the Wordless Wednesday, but I think these pictures will have to speak for themselves. Jason and I headed out past the base tonight after our dinner out to see if we could find the guy everyone's been talking about. And we did....

Taken from the side of the road:

Told you we'd try to find some excitement around here!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Last visit of the summer

I can't believe it, but it's already been a half a week since Mom, Dad and Heather left Kodiak. It seems like it took forever for August to get here, and now their visit has come and gone, and we're without any more planned visitors for the foreseeable future (Ryan? Josh? Who's next!?)

We had a great visit, with almost a week straight of the best weather we've seen in Kodiak this summer! With sun almost every day, and temps in the 60's, the three of them got to see a Kodiak that is rarely seen by anyone, let alone people who are only visiting for a week!
Much like our visit with Maryanne and Jim, we tried our best to show them all of Kodiak in a short period of time, including some time out halibut fishing for Dad! (Heather and Mom decided not to join us on that one!)

The visit started out with a bang on two different counts. First, Jason got sent out on a SAR case on Tuesday morning to Adak, AK (think Russia for location). Of course, the family was coming in on Wednesday morning, so it figured that he'd be sleeping in when they got here, since he didn't think he'd be home til 2 or 3 am on Wednesday. Knowing full well that I shouldn't have been relieved by the original plan getting him home "at least" Wednesday morning, I got a call from the Air Station on Tuesday night saying he'd be a bit later. Silly me, I asked how much later it could be than an early morning arrival the next day. Keep in mind, the call came at about 7pm Tuesday night. The answer to my question was: Thursday. So, dodging volcanoes erupting, and pulling the "my family is in town" card to get out of there, Jason finally made it back from Adak late Thursday afternoon, two days into the trip.

The second major event was that Heather's luggage did NOT make it to Kodiak at the same time Heather did. Now, in most places, this might be a blessing in disguise. I mean, the airline gives you money to go out shopping to replace your lost items. YAY! Shopping! In Kodiak, that's a bit more of a challenge. Let's just say it's good that Heather and I are the same size! Come to find out, the idiot who checked them in at Logan (Boston) was too busy chatting to pay attention to which tags went on which bags. So Heather's bag ended up in Seattle, a guy who was going to Calgary had his bag sent to Kodiak, and a third guy who was going to Seattle theoretically had his bag end up in Calgary. Lesson learned: Watch the airline people put YOUR tag on YOUR bag before taking it off the scale and moving it behind the counter!!! Thanks to the AK airlines agents here in Kodiak, Heather's bag was located mid-day on Friday, and made it in Friday night. YAY!
We didn't let either event slow us down, though, making the most of the beautiful weather and the rest of what Kodiak has to offer. And now, onto the pictures:

This one was taken from the overlook at Ft. Abercrombie. I took a similar one earlier in the week, but it was missing Jason (and me), so we tried again later. Yay for tripods, so I could actually be in a picture!

While halibut fishing on Friday, we were treated to a beautifully calm, warm, sunny day (which means I'm two-for-two on the NOT puking while halibut fishing). Although we only got one halibut on our short trip, we were treated to a visit by a whale, not too far away from the boat. After we got back from fishing, Mom, Heather and I saw more whales hanging out in the same area when we went for a walk. It was awesome to listen to them breathing and calling to each other. Thanks to Dad's camera and the power of Photoshop, you can even tell that it was really a whale!
Pulling Mom away from the end of Spruce Cape and the sounds of the whales, we went to our secret stash spot for salmonberries, and ate a light snack during our walk. Mom managed to find one of the biggest berries I've ever seen! The ones all grouped together in this picture are on teh bigger end of normal sized. The one on the right was a monstah!

Saturday found us heading out the road for a picnic lunch in Pasagshak again. We stopped by the base to buy Heather a new camera, and then picked up sandwiches at a new coffee house/sandwich shop outside of town, Java Flats. From there, we made the long drive out to Pasagshak, on a gloriously sunny day. As we unloaded the car, we were talking about how neat the fog looked off in the distance, at the base of the mountains. Little did we realize, the fog was NOT that far away. By the time we found seats on some driftwood, and unpacked the sandwiches, we were sitting in the fog!
With our view gone, we ate our lunches, and decided not to stick around too long. We took two cars out, though, so that Jason could load up some driftwood for us to burn this winter. So, he did his best (with Dad's help, and a useless chainsaw) to load up the truck, and we headed back toward home. Luckily, the weather cleared on the way, and the girls (me, Mom, Heather and neighbor Christina) stopped to pick berries on the way, while the guys headed back toward the Buskin to fish a little.

Dad caught his first salmon, and brought it home to be filleted and smoked (the pink salmon are really best smoked). Here he is before trying to fillet his catch. He very quickly allowed Jason to step in and take care of it. He said he didn't want to ruin it, but, Dad - I think you just didn't like the slime!

On the final day of good weather, we headed back out to Spruce Cape to pick more berries, look for whales, and enjoy an Alaskan beach experience (which is just walking on the beach since no one in their right mind would go swimming!!!). Camera in hand, I caught a few last shots of the family in the sunshine.

And, of course, a good shot of what we saw a lot of this week - the back of Dad as he stayed behind to capture another picture. The man takes more pictures than me!!!

We finally encountered some of the famous Kodiak rain on the last day of their visit, so we headed into town to check out the museums and the Wildlife Refuge visitor center. So as to be sure that Mom doesn't think I under-represented here on this trip report, I'll include one final picture from the trip. Watch out - the Kodiak bears can be vicious!!

Hey, Mom, it would've been more realistic if you could've stopped laughing... I'm just sayin'...

So, that was the visit with the Waitt side of the family. We're happy to have the house back to ourselves, but sad that everyone has come and gone for the summer. We're looking forward to the next round of visitors - hopefully sooner than later! Remember, the door is always open! Though now we're just counting down the days until we get our chance for vacation - only about a month and a half til our trip to Florida and St. Thomas! We're definitely looking foward to that!

That's all for now! We'll try to make some of our own Kodiak excitement so we have things to share!