14 August 2014

'yaking off shaw island

the other day, my friend a and i set off in a kayak for an hour, just off icy strait south of glacier bay national park.  we had to stick with the guests, but we spent the sunny day drifting with the current, watching a whale in the distance, a sea lion up close, and a few porpoise playing off our bow.  i set up my gopro (i am trying to do this more often...) and so here we have a timelapse video :)


timelapse of work


i got a little bored a few weeks back and i set my gopro up at the bar to record a timelapse of cocktail hour.  here's the result... it died about halfway through... oh well.

18 July 2014

a life update

I've been back on the boat for only three days, and yet it feels like I never left. the same people, the same day in and day out. some tiny variety in the places we go, the whales that we see (although sometimes I think we see the same whales too.)

seven more turn days. seven more global markets. seven more crab nights.

same ship, different day.

but what is new? my wanting a change. my beginning to think this isn't my be all and end all. my yearning for a chance to shine bright in a dull world. my thinking that it's time to take a huge freaking leap of faith and propel myself into the unknown. move somewhere crazy.

I'm so bored, I'm thinking of taking the lsats just to challenge myself.

is that too crazy?

08 July 2014

scotland: skara brae and the unfortunate hike

before i share my photos from skara brae, i have to share the story of the hike. 

in my guidebook, it mentioned that it was possible to hike from skara brae to yesnaby, a supposedly beautiful castle/sea stack.  i say supposedly, because i never got there.  assuming that if you could hike from skara brae, you could hike TO skara brae.  i asked around stromness and was told, yes it's possible to hike, but it's a long hike, will take you all morning, take food, etc.  that was good enough for me - i'd biked 40 miles the day before, i am in shape, i figured... ok, i'll leave early, hike up, have lunch along the way, visit skara brae and then take the 13:35 bus to kirkwall and do the distillery.  then i'll watch the germany/usa game.. it'll be a great day.

i made myself a few sandwiches to take with me, tucked water bottle into my backpack, slng my camera over my shoulder and set off through town.  the guy who'd hired the bike to me the day before told me one route that i could go, but i forgot what he'd said and knew that if i followed the road out to the campground, i could get around the cemetery and then keep going up the coast.  so that's what i did. 

oh man, i felt great.  it wasn't raining, it wasn't all that cold, and the scenery was amazing.  i could see where i wanted to be too: the top of black craig, a monstrosity looming above me that (presumably) looked over the coast.  i rounded the cemetery, passing an old man in a motorized wheelchair and his dog in the process, followed the coast along a sandy dune, passed a couple in a beat up van reading a map and wended my way slightly uphill along a small cliff to... a fence and a stile with an arrow pointing inland and the words "coast path skara brae" posted on it.  i could see beyond the field to a pile of ruined stone houses/barns and presumed i needed to get there in order to get to the top of black craig (looming closer now.)  i looked up the farm track that this arrow was pointing me up and saw a few gates that would get me to where i thought i needed to be.  alright, i said to myself, you're only an hour in, about five miles in, you've got time, you're right on schedule... and off i went up to the first gate.  the road went off back toward town and i opened the gate (thanks right-of-way!) and followed a well-worn footpath into the field. 

only to dead end with very clearly NO path going off in any other direction.  i turned around and retraced my steps.  i stood at the convergence of gates and path for a few minutes, and thought, well, maybe its that path.

without retyping those exact words above three more times, let's just say that i did the exact thing FOUR TIMES.  at which point i brushed away a few tears, breathed in the fresh, manure-scented air and began trekking up the road.  i figured that i could wave a car down and at least make sure i was going the right way.  the first car i stopped said, yes, you are, but it's a long way.  i said i knew that.  she said, alright, just go on up the road and go off to the right, keep going off to the right and you'll get to the top of black craig, then you just follow the coast.  righty, i said, and kept on.

stopped one more car, just to check, but they weren't from around there, although they had seen a sign, so they assumed i was going the right way too.  ok, i said, and kept on. 

then i came to a fork in the road, with a stile with an arrow pointing to the right.  so at least the old lady was right.  but then.  another fork and NO SIGN.  gah.  but black craig was right in front of me, and there was a well-beaten path up to the right, which looked promising, so i followed it to the right (that's what the lady had said anyway, right, i reasoned.)  i passed a possibly abandoned house and kept on up the track.  and then, a gate.  i debated here for about five minutes.  do i risk going through the gate - with no way of knowing if i am going the right way, or do i go back down to my last split and go up the other hill - one with not much of a path?  i actually walked back down only to decide to go with my first instinct.  i got the gate open and headed up what was another well-worn path (with a few cow patties.) 

it was beautiful.  i was looking forward to the expanse of sea i would see ahead of me as i crested the hill.  and suddenly, i was cresting that hill and looking down on... fields.  no sea.  no cliffs.  no sandy beaches below me. 

sigh.  i beat back more tears as i picked my way back down again, opened the gate and walked past the judgmental cows (who by now were probably like, what the HELL is this person doing?).  i got back down to the road and a fresh wave of years came over me.  it was now after 11 and i had a schedule to keep!  i wasn't going to be able to get to skara brae at this rate. 

as if by magic, a car pulled out of the driveway nearest me, and i flagged her down.  explaining through my new tears that i must be so stupid, that i couldn't figure out how to get to the cliffs, that i was trying to hike to skara brae.. well, she took pity on me and offered me a ride back into stromness.  she said her name was chan (that is very phonetically spelled, as i would pronounce "sian" as "shan," not "chan," and therefore have no idea how you spell her name) and her young daughter was strapped into the backseat, presumably thinking along the lines of cows - namely, what the HELL is this girl doing? SO if she reads this: hi chan, thanks very much for being a good samaritan!

long story now much shorter, i ended up taking a cab to skara brae in order to still catch that bus, because damnit, i EARNED that whisky tour. 

here are the skara brae photos.  enjoy!

 {oh look at me - so excited to get lost in the wilds of orkney}

{at least my path is a pretty one}

{beautiful rocky shores}

 {heading up - am i supposed to be?}

{#myfeetgo to skara brae}

 {made it - very happy}

{#myfeetgo back 5000 years}

for the love of maps

i can't remember the entire story.  we had gone to germany in 1994 to visit my aunt and cousin, who lived in a small town outside of heidelberg.  or maybe we had gone to see my dad, who worked for a time in erlangen.  it wasn't my first trip overseas, nor would it be my last.  on the way home, while everyone was sleeping, i vaguely remember spending time in the back galley with some of the flight attendants (obviously way pre-"no congregating in the aisles"), who took a liking to my young self.  they showed me the map they had of our flight path, tacked up there in their space.  i got my cookies, my water, and went back to my seat.  near the end of the flight, they brought me the map to take home. 

upon arrival in kansas city, the map got tacked up to my bulletin board - a reminder of my trip, but nothing more.  then it started to tear, so my dad took it somewhere and got it laminated.  it came back, and got tacked right back up.  sometime later - when we moved? when i got too old for sentimental things in my childhood room? - it got misplaced and i forgot about it.  within the past week or so, i've begun wondering about that map.  where did i put it?  there were multiple places to check - the kitchen cabinets (since it was laminated, i might have used it for a placemat), the family room - but i never bothered.  i figured i would do it later. 

today, while holding a toddler in one arm and a coloring book in the other, i opened up my old desk - which now sits at the end of the hallway in my parents house, which no one has opened in probably ten years - to find crayons for my friend's kid, and there was my map.  slightly folded, but as soon as i saw the thin paper inside the shiny laminate, i KNEW this was my map.  i grabbed the crayola fluorescent crayons, t grabbed the plastic skateboard, and then i slipped the map under my arm, and walked back downstairs to my friend and her other kid, adorable little e.

i tacked the map back up above my desk, where it belongs.

07 July 2014

summertime, and the livin' is easy

pardon the overt ella fitzgerald/sublime reference, but my summer has been so far incredible. 

workwise, i started off with a rocky trip up the coast from san diego back in april, and we spent a solid few days in seattle with some office folk/tiny bit of shipyard maintenance before taking on guests in seattle and heading north through bc and the former queen charlotte islands - now haida gwaii, the first nations land of the haida people - before entering alaska and the start of my most favourite part of the year.  i spent six weeks in alaska, and then i flew south to seattle and onward to kansas city.  with just two nights in kc, i only had time to really watch the ghana/usa kickoff with some friends (at a really fun bar!) before packing and prepping for scotland took over. 

as you probably are aware, i spent just under two weeks in scotland and had an amazing time.  i won't go into details or bore you with that (there are more scotland posts coming.)

now i am back in kc and have a little under a week before i take to the seas again.  it's back up to alaska; back up to the wild air and the glaciers that tower over us from miles away, back up to the dark blue waters that shimmer under the starry skies and the peacefulness that settles after a long day, when there isn't a soul out there except for you.  the end of the summer season in seak (southeast alaska;)) always means bears in the salmon streams, salmon runs in the sitka forest, potential northern lights, the perseids and shorter days.  but even those of us that love it can't stay forever.