I recently retired as a nature tour guide and boat captain, after 24 years showing people from all over the world the wonders of Prince William Sound. Before that, I enjoyed an even longer career as an oceanographer and wildlife biologist, working on projects as diverse as plankton ecology and fur seal food habits. It may seem odd that someone with such fascinating work would end it early at age 51 to start an uncertain career, but that’s exactly what happened. Finally selling the tour business (Sound Eco Adventures) after the 2013 season was a big life change. Being “retired” still seems strange.
With this blog, I aim to share many of the stories and adventures from those amazing years on the Sound. Continue reading
Late April, 2014. It is now early summer as I write this piece. Last fall (2013) I had begun seriously looking at bicycles that would work better than my trusty old Specialized Crossroads on the many dirt trails around Anchorage. I had been looking forward to a new mountain bike ever since, and here I was on my very cool new Specialized Hardrock “Hardtail 29er” on my favorite paved trail, Anchorage’s Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I rode my usual out and back nine-mile route from Point Woronzoff to the hill that rises from the flats up to the Kincaid Park chalet. No problems, and I felt great about finally having a bike I had waited so long for. Continue reading
This essay was my response to the Unit 3, Day 3 assignment in the study course, “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.” I signed up for this men’s group course soon after I began attending the Baxter Road Bible Church in east Anchorage, February 2013. The basic “task” was to take a walk of at least 30 minutes, praying and reflecting on God’s love for me, and my love in return. How did I see God’s love during the walk?
For my walk, I decided to do one of my favorite outdoor recreation locations in Anchorage, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, from the Kincaid Chalet, down the hill. Continue reading
Note: I first wrote this January 2, 2015, while camped in southeast Arizona in a camper van I had at the time.
Ten different cats have been a part of my bachelor household for different stretches of the past 36 years. As any cat owner knows, their pets are individuals and can be independent little cusses, some more than others. Then occasionally, one joins the family who seems to be maybe not so much independent as just slow. “Slow” is a kinder term than stupid. One of my current two cats, “Lighter,” as sweet as he is, is just such a cat. I adopted Lighter (an orange tabby) and his fraternal twin brother Darker, as kittens in 2008 while I lived in Whittier, Alaska. Darker died from a wasting liver disease summer 2014, but Lighter is still going strong, along with Boots, my old-girl black-and-white “tuxedo cat.”
The latest episode of Lighter’s slowness happened just last night. Continue reading
Wine after beer, never fear.
Wine before beer, mighty queer.
Genesis 1:21 (NIV)
So God created the great creatures of the sea . . . And God saw that it was good.
I see whales as gifts from their Creator from a couple different perspectives. First is the fact that they exist — they are alive on earth. Similar, but on a deeper level, is the capacity of some people to appreciate them for the magnificent creatures that they are. Just seeing whales in the wild can inspire peoples’ feelings of happiness, excitement, thankfulness, and even awe. An up-close encounter with a creature half again as long as the 30-foot boat one is watching from is an unforgettable experience, likely to turn many people into instant whale fans and conservationists. Continue reading
Words for this piece first started coming to mind in 2005, when I lived in Whittier, Alaska, in a water-side apartment on the 9th floor of Begich Towers. As often happened when gazing out over Passage Canal and the mountains beyond, my mind sometimes wandered to memories of other areas and happenings from the Sound. That’s what first inspired this, and there have been lots of re-writes ever since. I intend to eventually overlay this piece into a Ken Burns-style video that will show with photos what I try and describe with words.
Ode To Creator God
Oh Lord my God, how I adore you.
Oh Lord my God, how great You are.
For when I see Your great creation,
Your mountains, Your waters,
my heart inclines to You,
for You have made them all.
Oh Lord my God, for these I praise Your name. Continue reading
The boat I first started Sound Water Taxi with (original business name) was a 21-foot, fiberglass Lavro Sea Dory. I picked the name Sound Runner because I liked its double-meaning — the boat was to run people around the Sound, and do it in a sound manner. Continue reading