Monday, November 12, 2007

This's really something!

I'm sitting in the lobby of the Grand Aleutian, after a tiring day. This morning, I went out for a walk around the loop that encompasses the hotel and surroundings. Crossing the road towards the bay, I saw the breaching fins and tails of several humpback whales in the water! There were two groups, with what looked like two or three whales in each group. I stood there, watching, with my mouth literally hanging open in awe, for several minutes. As I watched, I heard someone behind me yelling, "Do you see the whales?" I turned around, and a woman was waving, running towards me. It turned out that her name was Janice, and she lives here in Dutch Harbor. We started talking, and she asked if I wanted to take a walk around the area. Absolutely! And having a local as companion was ideal.

We walked, and she told me all kinds of interesting stuff about the area. Her husband works for one of the main employers here (as does mine), and they've lived here 15 years or more. She knew most of the people we passed, and waved or stopped to chat with most of them. It was a really pleasant time, walking, taking pictures (which, damn it, I still can't upload. But they're good!) and chatting. She's incredibly nice, and volunteered to take me on a longer tour of the island tomorrow. So maybe I'll do that; I ran the batteries of my camera down and replaced them, so I'm ready for more.

The weather was gorgeous this morning: a low, bright sun that gave everything that perfect yellow light. Then, as we were heading back around 11:30, it started to hail - actually, it was what they call "corn snow" - hard little bits of snow that hurt when they hit your skin. I met up with Brett and a co-worker of his, and we had lunch at "the Galley" - the company-run cafeteria where everyone who works there can eat for free. After we ate, he took me down to the docks where the "Arctic Lady," a crab boat, was unloading its load of red crab. We watched for a while, then went to see the next step in the process: the line where live crabs are cut in half and dropped onto a production line for further processing.

Right now, I'm in the hotel lobby, and sitting across from me is at least one crew member of the "Time Bandit" - one of the ships shown regularly on the "Deadliest Catch" tv show. We saw the film crews coming in last night. Janice said that the guy who does the Discovery show "Dirty Jobs" is here too, filming an episode of that show, so I suppose it could have been his crew. In any case, it's been a very interesting day! I hope the weather clears up tomorrow morning.

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