Friday, 8 July 2011

A Town Called (Malice) Seward - The Jam

Our 144th country to join the readership arrived today by way of Guyana! Only one of three countries I have not yet visited, and while there was a tentative plan to go there earlier in the year other things overtook me. Thanks for joining us and please pass the Blog Link on to ALL your friends and families.

Immediately after the riveting and exciting experience of yesterday's Pelagic, I returned to the office and booked the same trip for tomorrow. At $197 it was excellent value, but with a little charm I managed to secure a $50 discount which certainly took the sting out of it!

As for today? It was something of a 'spare' so decided to use it to the full and take an 'at length' look around Seward. The first thing that struck me was the accessibility of everything, no locked gates at the various quays, the random stone built sea-wall was walkable and even the Fish Factory was open to a degree.

Private & Charter Berths

Inner Harbour

Under the watchful eye of the US Coast Guard the people of Seward go about their maritime business. But beware 'regulation' is all here and the penalties for pollution, over fishing (only 6 fish per rod and line angler may be landed), discarding waste and even damaging any creature in the smallest way would meet with a huge fine.

Even the berths for the 'Gin Palaces' are open to public right of way, and it was from here most of today's wildlife shots were taken.

It is immediately obvious how important tourism is to the community, as these sightseeing / wildlife watching boats sail for the Fjords early every morning during a short season.

Sport fishing too plays a huge part in the economy of Seward and the discerning angler wants to 'catch'. All the sports boats are fitted out with the very best equipment right down to this gadget I have not seen before.

Controlled Depth Fishing brings a new dimension to the game, with these outriggers lowering the baited hook, via a 10lb weight to exactly where the 'fish finder sonar' tells them. Once hooked the fish pulls the line from the equipment and it's then up to the angler to land it.

Part of the process is what Pink Floyd referes to on the track Sheep (from the Animals album) as the 'Valley of Steel',

transporting the fish to the Cannery.

This is Sean Gore a fisheries scientist involved in monitoring Salmon stocks. At the quayside he selects fish at random and removes the 'ear bone' for test which he tells me helps not only in preserving stocks but also the 'farming' of young fish for release.

A young Red Salmon about to be de-eared!

The Silver Darlin's

These are the 'in season' species at the moment, Red Salmon known as 'Humpy' because of the way their backs develop in adulthood.

Even with as many as half a dozen fork-lift trucks working away, (not to mention the high pressure water hoses for washing out the fish bins) there is no restriction on Public Access. You can just see the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) putting up with that in England!

Pressure cookers, the Salmon is cooked in the can.

Packaged and awaiting delivery to 'world wide' destinations.

A column of lorries await their cargo.

Here's one for my Winger down in Emsworth ex-Compass Swinging Officer and All Ships Pilot. Not bad compared to our 2 degrees west hey? You'll have to get your Flinder's Bar out my old mate!

Pigeon Guillemot

Arctic Tern feeding the shallows both Inner & Outer Harbour.

Common Murre (when in Rome, but Guillemot to you and me).

OK, agreed 5 images are enough, but this fella (as indeed it seems to be) was so obliging and how often do you spy a Sea Otter in the middle of town?

Double-crested Cormorant

By far the most common bird hereabouts is the Glaucous-winged Gull - thousands of them, especially at the Fish Processing Outfall and Sea Walls. Of all of these, juveniles outnumber adults 2 to 1.

Second most numerous comes Black-legged Kittiwake but so far there have only been adults.

A great contender for 'third place' would be Raven as it is rare for there not to be at least one on view at any given moment.

This North Western Song Sparrow Sparrow was feeding young close to the Cannery,

while this one was in the garden of the house I am staying at.

All of these videos from yesterday's pelagic are short and were oportunistic. Despite asking the Humpbacked Whale to go round and do it again there was only one shot at it. I found it best to view on 'Full Screen' with the 'Repeat Function' enabled allowing to 'Freeze Frame' as you like!

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