Monday, March 4, 2019

     It is April in the Aleutians, which means spring is making an, albeit feeble, attempt to lift its fragile little green head. Winter here has been fairly easy on the vegetation, grass has actually stayed green for most of the winter and there's been nothing like a solid freeze here. Our coldest day of the winter actually happened in April, and while that was in the teens, it warmed up to above freezing by lunch time. We got some snow, and it it came in with much bluster and excitement, and then it was gone without argument in a few days. Our snow usually doesn't even stay long enough to get dirty. The Puchkis are sprouting and the salmon berry canes are greening up. Also, the phytoplankton is on the rise!

     All winter, our tow samples at the harbor were pretty barren of anything but a hapless shrimp, jellyfish, or clam larva that got caught in the net, but in the last few weeks, it's getting interesting! With the increased food supply, comes an increase in traffic! In a few weeks we can expect the whales to start coming through, since this is the first break in the coastline of North America between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, and who can resist a short cut. Lots of humpbacks, and then the greys. Watch out though, baby grey whales! There are a pod of orcas that know you are coming, and would delight in dining on your...tongue! Yes, that is apparently their favorite part, and so these orca's are responsible for about a third of whale calf mortalities in their first year. The details are pretty gruesome, so I'll let you Google it yourself.

The bears are waking up now, and are probably pretty hungry. Hikes up into the back country might not be such a great idea yet, and even when it is, precautions are important!

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