Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Re-Entry

When our spacecraft return from orbit they go through a communications blackout during part of the re entry process. It has something to do with the ozone layer and it's effects on man made objects...and well, I guess that's been me, I've been in a bit of  a communications blackout as I re enter life at Mile 14 Kenai River  Alaska. As cool as this place is , living right on the river  with Eagles out the window and ...well...just about anything unfortunately can become routine. So when I get home I take a special weekend to just stay home and absorb this place , look for the good and steady myself for what MP calls ' human consumption'. As you know , I'm far from anti social. In fact I love people and learning from them and visiting new places through them sharing their lives with me. Lots of that in Mazatlan and not so so much at Mile 14 in April 2015. So....I'll get adjusted just fine, it just takes a day or two.

We never get tired of the flight down from Anchorage. None of this ' flight 247 will be loading at gate C4'....nope. Our friends at Grant aviation have the pilot walk into the terminal and ask...." everybody ready " ?  On this flight we had a female pilot named Kirsten. Wow, what an All Alaskan Gal. She laughed all the way, she loaded the plane, she took our pics, she helped unload a semi blind guy so gingerly and the landing in Kenai....well we never felt it hit the ground. Here's a few pics of us and Kirsten.
When you jump up over Turnagin Arm at 2500 feet the place we live is stunning. Here's a pic of Point Possesion where  Captain Cook anchored for two days as a scribe copied his journal which was buried along with some coins and trinkets to authenticate it in case he never returned from the challenges of navigating Cook Inlet which he said was the most treacherous of all the places he sailed in the world. He had lost his best anchor north or today's Homer at Anchor Point and tenaciously fished for it which saved the Resolution during many groundings in upper Cook Inlet. Turnagin Arm was named just for that, he 'turned again' when it was apparent it was not the fabled Northwest Passage he was in search of.
Today Cook Inlet is sailed daily by modern transports and tankers. Onshore we have wilderness roads that traverse the first oil strikes in Alaska and Offshore we have upwards of a dozen drill rig platforms. On the east side is the community of Tyonek, accessible only by plane or boat and off to the left the community of Nikiski....But at 2500 feet you realise just how small mankind's footprint is and how here in this part of Alaska we humans still have a chance to ' do it right' .
We arrived at Mile 14 on Friday and the river was frozen. It was pretty darn quiet here and unusually warm. Well,  we slept like babies in the coolness of Alaska on that huge California King bed  that in itself was almost enough to get home for but we woke up to this...a running river.  I don't where they come from and how they know but instantly the river is full of birds. Ducks, Seagulls, Eagles and my favorite, Jay birds.
So I guess just like those ducks across the river from me I'm gonna hang out and wait for something good to float by, we need it and I'm  thinking it's on it's way. I know this river pretty good. Unlike the smart guys at ADF+G I learned it through life, through doing, through seeing, hearing and being a part of it.  So here's my prediction for all you local King salmon hounds...the early run will rebound nicely this year, just like last year....we'll go fishing so lets all just take a little bit better personal care of it this next go around eh?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cha,cha, cha, changes

I've had a lot of that in my life lately.  Most of it has been age and resource related things that I just have no control over, it's the basic unfairness of life that guys that like things just the way they are can't keep them that way.  A big change of course will be our return to Mile 14 in a few days and I'm going back with the shortest hair I've had since I was in sixth grade. I really don't know how it happened but I think I like it, the change meister. I came home and a friend in the building said " I've never seen your hair so short"..... I replied "neither have I ".  So somewhere my mom has to be smiling now, she always hated my long hair and maybe that's why I always did it but I think it was just me always refusing to be normal.
I usually get it shaped about twice a year so went to Centro where all the business's work together. A block of hardware , a block of kitchen stuff and an entire block of hair cutters. We got drawn into the one with the leopard stripes and this gal went to work. For fifty peso it's about the most thorough cut you can imagine.....ear hairs, eye brows and I hadn't had a straight razor used to make side walls since I was an army brat.
So looking and feeling like a new man we went out to our favorite local spot for surf fishing. All year it's been dead at 4th point but I just love the isolation and the view of our city. This day we had huge comers on the beach and although we do it so routinely it really is quite dangerous as you need to get near the water for distance and then back up the steep beach for the next wave....always following the surf caster rule to not turn your back to the ocean. Here's a pic of the view and a pic of  Slah that kind of captures what we do.....
To give you little better feeling for it I shot this short video. On a day like this the sound of the surf is rock concert quality. We've fished at Dimas before that when the wave crashed down in front of you it throws the marble like rocks that the beach is made of and man they feel like they could break your leg....I'll bet it's happened.
video
We jumped the sabalo centro at 7 am for one of our favorite things, a long hike over the mountain back into town from the harbor and then through old town as it comes to life and finally breakfast at the mercado overlooking the town as it's finally up and running. This day we decided to hump the stairs to the old Mirador restaurant all 179 of them.
This handrail less skyway used to give MP the Willies but she's a season Mazatlateco now.
When we got back down to Olas Altas we came across a huge military ceremony, Benito Juarez day. My neighbors here in Mazatlan do pageantry about as good as I've ever seen so we took a spot and watched the event, very cool. We even knew some of the people there which added to it all. Security was at defecon 4 which we see from time to time, it left me wondering two things....why would anybody try and do something weird at this kind of event and if they did....well, they'd have to be some kind of brain dead dumb because the good guys were in force. How's about the size of that flag? Oh....the security guys don't like having pictures taken so it's kind of a stealth thing that didn't work so good but I assure you that humvee has a full loaded machine gun in the turret.
So the next time you hear from me I'll be over 5000 miles away from Mazatlan. I guess I'm feeling a little strange about things now in our lives with just so much spinning and spinning and.....But then I guess the human condition works like this, unfortunately even the coolest things in life can become routine and that's why guys like me gotta keep moving....to freshen them up as we navigate through life. I know MP's ready go and that's good enough for me. Kinda funny, I see her really happy when she arrives at her home in Mexico and then again when she arrives at her home in  Alaska...I guess that's the deal, and I'll take it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

saturday night live


video
With the busiest Mexican holiday season of the year just around the corner (semana santa) this place is starting to hop. For the next few weeks you combine the lead up to Easter with spring breakers from the USA and it party central in Mazatlan.....even more so than Carnaval, or Bike week or.....well we seem to have a lot of them, and that's just fine with me. I think some of my neighbors here who enjoy the more...ah....sedentary part of the Mexico experience are a little taken back, but not me. 40 years ago I'd be under one of those umbrellas instead of taking photos.

The video above was ' Pacifico Sunseta 2015'. I guess I should have known, Pacifico runs this town and I guess even the famous 'green flash sunsets' and after glow like we did this night. It's kinda like what I hear about Key West, sunset has become a happening.
But Saturday night at Mile 14,000 is way more than just a sunseta and a few cold cerveza, Next door at El Cid's beach Pavilion it's one of Sinaloa's favorite places to get married, anniversaried or just have a loud outdoor party with say .....ahhhhh....2000 of your best friends. Tonight's event was the marriage send off of a young couple, the music which is always good....and always loud is the signature sound of Sinaloa called Tambora, lots of horns that build and build and....well, it's just wonderful....but then again we don't live on that side of the building.
I exaggerate not when I tell you that no Saturday goes by without Fireworks. Torres down the beach has them after sunset to welcome the new R.C.I.ers and here.....well it's illegal to get married with out Fireworks, period. They always come from the lighthouse so we see them lit and all, many nights it's after sunset and then again as the party gains momentum around midnight.
Sunday morning was a little slow for me really. We went into the Gold Zone to have Eggs Benny and MP's favorite place and I only snapped three pics of things that jumped out at me....on a good day I could double that production, just a slow bite I guess, you'll have that....
I'm a little like this guy, transportation deprived. So I don't blame him, if it were me I'd be putting it on the bus and what a pic that would make eh?
The rehab project in the Gold Zone is almost complete, this pic doesn't do it justice. But the sidewalks are like art....shiney, interesting with foot prints and well, they may not be any bigger or safer but in Jeff's world they're ultra, doublea, gotta see again.......cooooooool.
I got nothin to say about that pic.....over and out.


Monday, March 9, 2015

a 5 peso shirt...and now I know why

What a smokin deal. MP got a 1000 peso genuine soccer shirt at a yard sale for only 5 peso. People in Mexico are passionate about their soccer and you see lots and lots of football shirts...just not this one and especially around here. Seems like when I try to fit in I just don't do it so well. Turns out that this shirt is team America, the most vilified team in Mexico. Round these parts people are all about Team Chivas and for good reason it seems. Chivas is an all Mexican Team and their rival Team America recruits from South America, Europe and yikes, sometimes even the USA. So when I got dressed up to go out for Sunday Marisco's with Slah, Maria and Ernesto well I got a lot of " what the hell are you wearing" from just about every Mexican friend I ran into.....and one point as we enjoyed our brunch a guy with a Chivas shirt was kinda eyeing me. I told Slah that he looked like he wanted to kick my a** ....Slah said,.." he does Jeff ".

Marisco's Fabiano was a special treat. We ran into an old friend from the Vidafel where we got our start in Mazatlan and the food was out of this world. Here's a pic of us and the  cameron, pulpo and calla cocktail that I had.....It's shrimp, octopus and scallop in a nice shrimp broth that is a bit like a bisque and of course I started with a crab tostado which Maria also had. MP had coconut shrimp and Ern the shrimp brocheta and Slah the seafood soup that looked sooooo good. Thanks buddy.
Just give me one more second to go through the culinary week before we get to the dead or soon to be dead fish pics. We were at the market and in the fish area I was drawn to a crowd of women buying at a particular stall. I had never seen this fish so I was curious and asked around, ya know it's my job in life to know and be all things fish....Well it turns out it's like Bacaloa which is a salted cod but of course cod are hard to come by and real expensive here in Sinaloa so the same thing is done with a variety of other fish. These looked like some type of snapper. The next pic is a typical display. Smoked marlin to the left and whole Corvina and fillets to the right....They are the best eating fish in the sea if you ask me.
So for the first time this year I went out on the boat for what was supposed to be an 'easy' day. My buddy Tony's son Matt was on his last day here and they wanted to just go look for fish and find what you find....which around here are usually knarly-rip ya up- wear ya out- Toro. There's nothing 'easy about it when you combine a massive Toro bite and a 30 year old doublea hard fishing guy from Jersey. At one point we had schools of them on the top after locating them with Rapala's and watching Matt cast the topwater and snap the hook into them was a thing of beauty. Here's a couple pics of me and Matt....new fishing friends.
Thank goodness we were using Tony's gear or I would have quit early for fear of ruining mine. These guys are pure power and each one takes 10 minutes. So after catching 20 or 25 on this 'easy' day Matt asked me " Jeff, have you caught enough Toro for one day ? ".... I said " Matt, I caught enough Toro for one day 3 hours ago"....

Here's a pic from Tres Isles, just a few kilometers from home....just gorgeous.
Here's a pic of our friends the Mercuro's as they headed for the Airport. Tony and Little Boy and MP's friend Connie, daughter Courtney and Matt. Varsity level friends....we love you guys.