Friday, November 20, 2009

I Caught A Noodle...

I was chatting with my good friend Paul Dhaemers today and we were discussing a trip I took to Goodnews Bay earlier this year. It sounds like we're going to be heading out that way again within the next few weeks and Mr. Dhaemers and I were discussing which fun winter activities will be fun for us to do. He informed me that there probably won't be any noodles in the Goodnews River this time of year but that I was welcome to come down and fish anyway. I was then reminded that I hadn't shared my noodle story with my blog readers (hi Mom...lol).

Soooo...

Paul Dhaemers was nice enough to bring us all fishing (me, Brian and Paul's friend, Ken, who was here visiting from South Dakota). South Dakota doesn't have it's own professional football team...fyi. Anyway, that's all beside the point.

It was pretty chilly when we headed out but we were all excited. Paul kept telling me how many fish we were going to get and how much fun we were going to have and all that. He really built it up that it was going to be the trip of a lifetime.

Heading to the Goodnews River...


Dhaemers driving his sweet marine rig...

We got out on the river and went to Paul's favorite spot. We fished for a bit and I think we may have caught one there but we definitely weren't slaying them as Paul promised. We moved a couple of times and tried our luck elsewhere. As we fished I was successful in snagging some things. Mainly logs and the other shore. Every time I snagged something I'd try to unsnag myself. Paul would then saunter over, reassure me that it's about having fun and that everyone loses lures and then tug until it came free or the lure came off. He'd get me set up with another lure and I'd start casting again. I even caught the same snag twice. That's how awesome I am at fishing. I lost the lure. Paul put a new lure on. I cast again (in the same exact spot mind you) and lost the lure again. Paul never even wavered...he was super patient and kind to me.

Anyway, we ended up in the spot where we initially started out and then we began catching some fish!!! They were super feisty and put up a great fight. We were just really getting into 'catching' when I reeled in the best catch of the day...a noodle...a fettuccine noodle to be exact.

I wasn't sure at first what it was hanging off the end of my lure. I kind of stared at it a bit and yelled, "Hey...this looks like a noodle!" Then I touched it, immediately started laughing and yelled again, "I CAUGHT A NOODLE, I CAUGHT A NOODLE!" (the caps lock was on purpose...I was trying to show how excited I was). Paul, Brian, and Ken came over and were all amazed at my super cool noodle. We figured someone must have dumped their lunch in that particular spot in the river and I was the lucky one to catch the dumped noodle.


We also saw a bear. Paul was super tough and fired a round off to scare it away. That bear just wouldn't go though. Paul ended up guarding us and watching for the bear. Ken and Brian quickly cleaned fish and I...well, I continued to fish. I had protection, I didn't have to get my hands dirty and I got to continue to have fun. It was a great trip and a wonderful adventure! Lookin' forward to my next Goodnews adventure!



Scary bear...go away!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

On to Mekoryuk, AK

I was super stoked when I heard that we would be heading to Mekoryuk, AK after our work in Newtok was done! I had never been to Mekoryuk although my good friend Kale worked there for the past couple of years. Although I had promised him several times I would come visit I never made it out there...sorry Kale.

Mekoryuk is a cool place simply because of it's location. The village of Mekoryuk is located on Nunivak Island about 30 miles or so from the coast.

Our original plan was to take a scheduled flight from Newtok to Toksook Bay. We were to spend the evening in Toksook then fly to Mekoryuk the next morning. However, the wind in Newtok was blowing hard and many flights that day were canceled. We decided to try to make it back to Bethel instead and to try for Mekoryuk in the morning.

Grant, the principal at Newtok, brought us up to the airport and we boarded the caravan that we were told was enroute to Bethel. It took a few minutes after the plane took off for me to realize that we were not flying in the direction of Bethel, in fact, we were flying in the direct opposite of Bethel. I looked out of the plane windows and through a break in the clouds I saw we were above the ocean....we were heading to Mekoryuk. When the plane landed the three of us kind of laughed and Lee went to talk to the pilot to see if we could stay in Mekoryuk. The pilot of course agreed and we grabbed our gear and exited the aircraft.

By a sheer stroke of luck, Gary, the Site Administrator at Mekoryuk was at the airport also and we threw our gear in the truck and were in the school in no time. After we got settled Tony and I decided to walk around the village a bit. The wind was still blowing like crazy. Sand was pummeling our faces and in no time we could feel the grit in our mouths. We still got some pretty awesome pics though...








Tony...he's such a poser



After we went for our walk Tony, Lee and I combined our food and had a pleasant dinner of various things. We did this both nights we were in Mekoryuk and we ate like kings. Tony introduced me to canned oysters which I now think are the cat's meow.





I made some super awesome soup that my mom sent to me! Thanks Mom! We all loved it.

Over the next two days we worked with teachers and students and had a blast! I love seeing kids get so excited when they get a computer in front of them. Look at how into their projects these kids are.











Tony and I went out into the village to take more pictures of various points of interest. The students then used these pictures to use in their projects.




Tony in front of the church. He wanted to ring the bell but I told him that was probably a bad idea.


Da skool.


There is a stop sign in Mekoryuk. Here it is in all it's glory. People tend to stop here.


This was another little store...I think they sold candy. Tony was super excited about it. He likes candy.






Inside the store...


Outside the store

Mekoryuk was awesome. We all had so much fun! I met some really cool people there and I enjoyed working with the kids. Tony did a great job working with the students and I do have to say that this week was one of my most favorite weeks since I started this gig. I am looking forward to working with Tony and the other Apple trainers some more in the near future!