Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'd Love You Forever If I Ever Loved At All

Just another raging Thursday night with The Chugach Band.

The island is being overrun with young people. I don't know what is happening. There are even girls here, which is really confusing and disorienting for everyone. Until you are in a remote, relatively peopleless place like this, its hard to appreciate, or even understand, what I am talking about. Instinctively, I feel like I should just start panicking and take it from there.

Last night's plane was probably the best one since Ive been here. It brought some cool folks in (sweet), took some cool folks out (bitter), and brought me a couple of awesome packages from my colleagues in California. I now have snake tattoos and Philz coffee.....what more can a man ask for? So thank you to Misty, Andrea and Jameson for being the brave, courageous, incredible individuals that they are.

Speaking of brave and courageous, Halsey the White Tern chick is growing up so fast. She is the master of her domain (i.e. the top of the wall), much like her namesake. She has withstood rain, wind, and the drastic temperature swings that have killed hundreds of petrel and albatross chicks in the past week. From what Ive seen so far, she is strong enough to outlive all of us. The longevity record for her species, by the way, is about 35 years old. Not bad for a dinky seabird that is famous for nesting in bad places (they don't make nests).

North Pacific Albatross Trifecta (i.e. Black-footed, Short-tailed and Laysan Albatrosses).

We have one Short-tailed Albatross left on the atoll currently. Fortunately, it is the friendly big male that's here on Sand Island that is usually seen passed out next to the bike trail on the south side of the runway. It's getting late in the season for them to be here, so it is a privilege to still be graced with his presence. He doesn't really do anything, which I can appreciate. Occasionally he will stare down a Black-footed Albatross, which he inevitably wins because he is a big, big bird. Black-foots are generally regarded as being the most ill-tempered bird out here, and most people who have worked with them have some scars to show for it. Ive gotten some reluctant nibbles from them (getting a nibble from a Laysan Albatross is the gooney equivalent of a handshake), but most would rather rip out my eyeballs given the opportunity. So its funny to see them getting bullied by the dinosaur-like Short-tailed Albatross.

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. They arrived a few weeks ago, and you can usually hear them moaning and groaning on certain parts of the island.

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