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Archive for the category “Family Adventures”

Chasing Whales

Spent the last week of April and the first week of this month chasing after Biggs Killer Whales in Hammersley Inlet and Oakland Bay.  Biggs Killer Whales are a species sub-type of Orcas.  Orcas prefer salmon as their diet, while the Biggs prefer to feast on marine mammals such as otters and sea lions. Biggs-Outbound-Backflip-050617

This transient pod of Biggs Killer Whales had an adult male, two or three adult females and several juveniles.  They were basically cruising the various channels and inlets of the South Puget Sound hunting.  T-67 (The designation given to this Biggs pod.) consistently arrived in Hammersley Inlet and Oakland Bay just before sunset, which made photography challenging.  (I apologize for the motion blur on the photos, part of it was the lack of light, part of if was the whales taking me by surprise when they breached.) It was still exciting to watch them breaching and hunting in such close quarters.   I’m sure they significantly reduced the surplus populations of California Sea Lions that have been hanging out in the South Sound.  The native salmon runs may show some recovery, thanks to their efforts.

I don’t know who was more excited about the Orcas — they boys or Brenda & I. Brenda had never experienced Orcas in the wild before, and it had been over four decades since I had experienced them wild & free.  I much prefer to see them that way than at a marine park.

If you want more information on the Orcas of the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, there are multiple sources:

Puddle Duck Dreamin’

Christmas decorations are all back up in the garage’s “attic,” days are starting to get longer – and warmer – and, an old geek’s mind is starting to wander toward days to spend learning to sail in some unlikely-looking boxy little boats at the lake down the road.  Yep!  I’m Puddle Duck dreamin’ again!

Puddle Duck Racers are a loosely knit international class of low-cost racing dinghies that are usually home-built.  To facilitate participation by home builders and a high degree of experimentation, the developer of the class, David “Shorty” Routh, decided that the bottom 10″ of the boats should be as similar as practical (+/- 1/4″) for home boat builders, and that the rest should be left up to the individual builder.  There have been some evolutionary changes, but you are basically building an 8′ x 4′ flat-bottomed box boat.  The bottom has enough rocker to allow for planing performance under a modest sail rig — that is usually as homemade as the rest of the boat.

PDRRacin

Start of the very first Puddle Duck “Regatta” Lake Woodlands, TX Feb. 28, 2004.  Hulls #1 & 2 pictured.

What you wind up with is a safe, light & stable 8′ boat to learn to sail in.  As you can see from the photo, even us “old guys” can have fun in them.  I’ve always been very enamored with sailing, but have never really learned how — other than playing deck monkey for other people on their boats.  I would also like to get John & Joe interested in sailing, as it is a sport that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives, and, sailing is also a means of traveling long distances relatively inexpensively — without being at the mercy of some multinational corporation.

I won’t go into all the details of my planning for the construction of these boats, but I’m going to do at least two ‘ducks from 1/4″ ACX plywood with fir strips for framing, and would really like to do a “PD-Goose” which is a 12’ version of the PDR.  The Goose is not class legal, but I think it would make a good car-top fishing boat for the local lakes, and could serve as a “committee boat” if we generate some interest in racing Puddle Ducks in the local area.

If you want more information about the Puddle Duck Racer, please go to the class pages maintained at PDRacer.com.  Their is an extensive site map, as well as a good site-specific Google search on several of the index pages.  By all means, go on over and take a look around.  Shorty and the other ‘duckers have amassed a wealth of information on building, equipping and sailing the Puddle Duck Racer.   Who knows?  We might wind up fighting for position approaching the windward mark someday.  =;)

 

Or, yet, even!

Maybe — someday — I’ll get the hang of this blogging stuff and get a little more regular about content creation.

Been a busy seven months.  Work was crazy – but it always has been (I’m now under three years until *RETIREMENT*!! Yay!!) – and, unfortunately, there’s been lots of personal drama.  Please pardon me for refraining from over-sharing . . .

Still madly in love with my beautiful bride.  Still love my kids & grandkids.  Still ADD – dang it!  Still have more interests than time to participate in them.

Have had a few mini adventures.  Like the one where I grabbed the photo below while we were stopped for a red light on Alaskan Way:

Seattle Wheel Sunset 01-02-2016 © 2016 Richard Weeks Photography

Seattle Wheel Sunset 01-02-2016 © 2016 Richard Weeks Photography

One of James’ friends, JillyAnna, had taken us to brunch at the Space Needle.   It was our first trip to the SkyCity restaurant, and we had a ball.  You definitely pay for the venue, but both the food and service are excellent.  We were blessed with one of those rare PNW Winter days where it was crystal clear blue sky from horizon to horizon with just enough mist in the valleys to set them apart and make the views look like an incredible work of art.  John & Joe were on their best behavior and had a great time.  Jilly is one of those people that you just love to be around.  Always so nice and full of fun.  We had met up with her and her little brother at the WinterFest skating rink on the prior weekend so they could try ice skating with John & Joe.  Mom & I took the prudent route and sat it out.  I watched the pile of stuff at a table, while Brenda took care of photographer duties.  They skated until they were worn out.  Ice skating is something that we don’t get much chance to do, here on the Wet side of Washington state.  I’m glad that they had such a great time.

Spent a week in September up on the Skagit River with Dave & Susie and family fishing for salmon.

It had been warm & dry all Spring & Summer, but when you are camping and fishing — it just has to be cold & rainy, right?   No worries!  We had a great time, anyway!

River, family, fish, great food, lots of fun — does it get any better?

Collage

As you can see, we went to the big game between Sedro-Woolley and Mt. Baker so we could see Dillon playing in the band.  The rain that night was brutal.  There were a couple times that you couldn’t see what was happening on the field, the horizontal rain was so thick.  It wasn’t all that way, as you can see from the shots on the far right, we had a couple days of really nice weather.

BTW — You young guys out there: If you find a woman who will clean the fish you catch, marry the girl.  She’s a keeper. 🙂

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