Monday, 21 July 2008

Sunday in Nome.

Fascinating day. Cold bleak morning - just a greyish brightening of the twilight as the sun dips for a few hours - and Megan took me for a run out to Dredge No 6. This one's more or less intact - still has it's corrugated iron outer facade, most of the works still in place including the massive driving gear and the bucket chain - it has 9 cu ft buckets. Was going to go out on the bike to look for No 5 - the one that put Pat through college, but instead, we went up the Snake looking for salmon. McQ and K sleeping off a late night of monopoly and medicinal compound. As I don't have a State of Alaska fishing licence, I just operated the Nik but Pat and Megan caught several big salmon all of which they put back - too far gone was the diagnosis, meaning that the spawning effort and the physiological changes that it induces make them not worth cooking and eating. They looked ok to me, but I'm an iggorant Oz. The hump on the male fish in the photo is all fat and there's almost no muscle left. We went up as far as the weir set up to count the fish that cross it as part of a big survey of the salmon population of Alaska - there are 35,000+ fish above it so far and, it seemed to me, a lot more below. The fish are allowed through the barrier into a live trap, counted and released up river.

On the way back, we hooned around a bend to find a moose calf mid river and its mother on the bank. The calf crossed, mum backed off into the willows and we went between them - something you never ever do on foot but can get away with in a boat. You can see the mother in the last photo - huge animal. And when we got home, we had moose burritos for late lunch - moose mex.

As for the reason we are really here, there seems to be a promising break in the weather on Wednesday. But I never predict.