Posted by: tlnemethy | May 15, 2012

Ear Bones and Flyovers

Today was the first partially sunny day I’ve experienced in Sitka. That in and of itself makes for a great day, even though I was stuck inside practically all day doing housekeeping or practicing my limited, but growing Photoshop skills. I also managed to catch an ass-end picture of the lion-dog.The Texans are obviously vying for my heart. Nick ravaged a Yelloweye Rockfish carcass today to gift me with the precious ear bones. Supposedly they are ivory and allow the fish to sense movement and direction through the vibrations. He told me that a lot of people make them into earrings or jewelry of some kind. Very interesting gift, I’ll tell you. Cliff decided he would attract the bald eagles so I could attempt to snap a few pictures of them. Those buggers are definitely faster than my limited shutter speed.

Remember when I wrote about Nick bashing his eye on the steering wheel of The Punisher? Well, the next day Cliff rammed his eye into the outcropping on his bunk and now they both have the exact same shiner. They’re both so close to each other that they couldn’t bear to look different apparently. They like to tell people that they got into a fight with a grizzly. I just find it amusing that the Texans cannot ever stray from one another.

The eagles were being all coy when Cliff and I descended on the beach after filleting fish in the processing room. We could see them watching from the trees, dozens of them, as he tossed some carcasses on the boulder in the harbor. We stepped back but they didn’t budge from their perches so Cliff decided to be a gentleman and give me a show. He started chucking the carcass pieces into the air and we finally got a reaction from the eagles. They swarmed like honey bees, dipping low and completely carefree as they snagged the pieces of fish. I was struck by how awesome, yet uncoordinated they seemed. They only caught a tasty tidbit once every three or four swoops.

We only brought out a few carcasses because getting the eagles all riled up is an illegal activity. Apparently the eagles have been known to nab prey way too big for themselves, fly over populated areas and drop them on unsuspecting womenfolk. Well, not just womenfolk, children have been squashed too. Can you imagine how surprising that has to be? Just minding your own business and all of a sudden a fricken carcass drops on you. Even a part-time housekeeper has to cringe at that.

I was down at the docks the other day and an auxiliary coastguardsman was telling me about the seaplanes that are always flying around. Every so often you hear this horrible, deafening noise as one takes off. It just so happens that he knew the seaplane owner and was kind enough to tell me why it sounded so different from the other seaplanes. apparently, this seaplane is a variable pitch and can completely break the sound barrier. Holy wah. That’s an impressive seaplane. Can’t say I like the sound though, it kinda makes your teeth hurt. Another interesting tidbit though; around March Sitka is filled with cars driving the roads with plungers stuck to the roof. Somehow this isn’t as shocking now that I’ve lived in Sitka for a week. For some reason, pilots like to be identified through these means. How a plunger signifies pilot, I’m not quite sure. Maybe I’ll find a pilot and ask.

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