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Thursday, April 23, 2009

A good day for Coho, a bad day for dyeing

A good day for Coho, a bad day for dyeing One week today I will have left this Fjord-land paradise and although it feels time to move on, it seems a shame to be leaving behind the long awaited gifts which spring has suddenly and generously placed before us. For over a week now two black bears have taken up local residents, one whom scrapes and claws at the low tide smorgasbord directly behind the lodge, and the other who grazes on the fresh new grass along side the spawning channel. He has been given the name ‘Scarface’ by guiding staff due to the collection of cuts and gashes he has on his snout as well as the collapsed right ear that gives him a hoodlum kind of appearance. Bruiser I call him. We can’t keep up with the hummingbird bird feeders, 5 of them are set (1 to 3 sugar/water ratio) and they suck it down as fast as they beat their neurotic wings. They literally dive bomb or ear swipe you, missing the point entirely that you are in fact simply topping up their, what seems, additive joy juice. As April showers dominant most of our recent days, it is not only the rain that is filling our rivers and flooding our accessible logging roads, but the winter snow is melting also. For three days we have been unable to reach the river to check our salmon catching device due to what I thought were insignificant streams which have suddenly become impassable. When my working colleague Bob waded in water that reached his chest, I sure wasn’t about to follow. These are the days when nature rules over science and once again mother earth has reminded us that she is in charge. Up stream we have been dyeing the salmon fry; yep you got it, literally coloring the ones we catch in the spawning channel then releasing them in the main river and seeing how many we catch at the device (RST) downstream. However when the RST has too much water pushing through, it over flows and salmon have many routes to escape, therefore dyeing fish is futile. The beauty of all this rain offers freedom for the Coho. Coho, unlike Pink Salmon live an entire year in its birthing habitat, the river. In the Glendale area we have Coho of varying classes; some simply prefer to live in the gutter. Along side our logging roads there are ditches containing a little water. In this water, at this time of year are one year old Coho Smolts who are more than ready to move on, head downstream and into the great blue yonder of our nearby ocean. Rain, glorious rain floods these ditches, giving them a fast furious, white water track to the main river system, then eventually out to sea. Go Coho! From the work we have done over this two month period, we have calculated that 3 and a half million pink salmon fry have departed from the spawning channel giving us hope for a prosperous salmon run in two years time when they return And so I leave this natural wild behind and look forward to my own naturally wild wonder (my overgrown, delightfully blooming garden) and of course the visit from my mum, from New Zealand, bless her heart for traveling all this way to see me. Little does she know that I have her lined up to be my personal assistant with the South Georgia Slide shows I have sporadically scheduled in May. I am so thankful for this life and our natural world that surrounds us each and everyday. I hope with all my heart that you take a moment to let these spring wonders linger in your eyes and ears.

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