Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dinner's in the water.

Sometimes you get lucky and get to bring it home.........

Even if the hook gets worked over in the process.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Left Sonja outside, now she's got a cold!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

At the end of the road Part:2

A surfboard lay dinged but rideable in the weeds behind one of the homes, it was unwaxed and hadn't seen any water time for awhile judging from it's condition and I wondered who had brought it in. No shortboard, it had a little extra length to it and seemed to have been brought in with a purpose, as if at one time a lone soldier capable of bigger surf aspirations had carried it under arm and paddled out to heaving peaks, fresh out of a Gulf of Alaska storm. At least it was a somewhat romantic take on the sun damaged and mud streaked relic behind the little home.

Other than the board there was nothing else that hinted of surfing as an activity the current inhabitants enjoyed. They seemed as a group to be people living here content to be free of the normal constraints of a Western life. There was little trash or none at all, thinking back it seemed really clean. The grey skies and the coolness of the climate combined with the edge of the continental United States made Alaska seem "just over there" as you stared north along the horizon.

Pat and I surfed peaks on either side of Petroleum Creek. Long lefts peeled down the beach on a chest high west swell. When the surf boomed overnight we found ourselves paddling out into a solid eight foot groundswell and a lowering tide. Somehow the paddle out while a heart racer allowed us to penetrate the outside, that was in fact our bad luck. As the sets rolled through closing out all shoulder less walls. Entry was not an option and dodging cleanup sets we ended up paddling north up the beach, to a point where the wave slowed enough to allow a drop to the bottom but nothing else. We proned in thankful that we hadn't gotten into worse trouble. Out here help was hours away and unlikely even though the Coast Guard had a facility about fifteen miles away. It was a reminder of the rawness of the place.

My dad and I ended up making two trips there, fascinated by the misty beach at the end of the old logging road. The old man either chatting with one of the denizens of the forest or hiking the tide pools filled with critters, the ever present pipe in hand and cup of tea nearby.

Despite protests in Seattle the swap came to fruition and the area became part of the Olympic Park, extending the coastal boundary of the park to make it one of the longest unbroken stretches of natural coastlines left on the Lower 48. It looked bad for the squatters and as it eventually played out, the smudge of human habitation on the corner of the continent was declared illegal and wiped away cleanly and with little fanfare, just as the Pacific had tried to do twice each day at the end of a high tide.

Friday, January 25, 2008

At the end of the road. Part:1

We dropped off the unused logging track , rutted beyond where any 4 wheel drive could have negotiated it. Below lay a log strewn crescent of beach with cedars and spruce almost touching the tide line. A low sea-mist shrouded the pinnacles of rock and their tips stuck out while their bases remained behind the fog, making the the scenery appear primordial.

After four miles of muddy track and skirting pools of water the sand felt good and even underfoot. Ahead were streams leaking onto the beach but no signs of humans except for one plume of smoke rising from under the canopy of trees that lay thick against the sand. The three of us looked south mesmerized by this place already. It sounds corny I know, but there was reverence in people's voices whenever we talked about trying to get there. It held tightly along the very north west tip of the continental coast and for that reason alone, it felt magical.

My Dad had moved to the north-west from South Africa and had heard about a small community of squatters who had built cabins along a stretch of beach of almost mythical beauty. Either loggers who did not want to return to society or hippies had started a loose community out here, we didn't know who had been the original occupiers. The cabins were well stocked paperback libraries with fireplaces and windows, some had rudimentary foundations. At some point concrete had been brought in and I thought that it must have been when the road was driveable. They passed from resident to resident in a sort of open ownership.

We found a campsite under the trees and away from the cabins, as they seemed to have an unspoken yet clear area of privacy around each one. We pitched our tents and threw in sleeping bags and the old man started a fire for tea water as Pat and I scanned the waves for surf. Our boards leant agaist huge logs (and there were hundreds of them) that were testimony to the abundant trees in the hills and the forces of nature that deposited them like so many tinker toys here. It was a feeling of dwarfish-ness that enveloped one's thoughts as quiet nature dominated the eyes.

There was some urgency in our visit, as the beach and surrounding forest was part of a land swap between timber companies and the parks system and if the deal developed there was an excellent chance the community and the little hobbit like homes would soon be demolished. We wanted to at least see what was one of the few remaining pockets of free habitat. Where people followed a trail like their forefathers and then tried to live off the land. Think about how few places exist today where that can happen and for some twenty five years a loose knit community existed at Shi-Shi before the relentless push of order and control washed over, following them along the same rutted road they had walked.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Surf as Rinse.

Looked all over the map before this looked like the best bet for a cleanse........

and it worked with a few head dunks thrown in the mix.

Monday, January 21, 2008


The B-man got released today and goes home with a regime of antibiotics to take for the next month or so. There has been no sign of infection and so far no culture growth in the lab. We get to do this again in about 6 weeks or so. Here's hoping the kid gets a break then........

I need a wave....

Friday, January 18, 2008

A rain delay.

Is the best face I can put on yesterday's surgery. Unfortunately as soon as they opened up B they found something they weren't expecting at all, a white milky fluid below the dura(the thin membrane between bone and brain). Everything came to a halt as the doctors took samples for lab to check for infections and they cleaned out the rest. The only positive to this is that he has not been sick lately so there is some hope that the fluid will test out to be sterile and no cultures will grow, unfortunately that will take a few days.

The implant was not installed because of the risk of infection that would end up ruining it, so we are on hold so to speak until the infectious disease team can tell us how to treat the problem. It's just another hurdle, a temporary setback.......

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One more time...

B's last (we hope and pray) surgery is on tap for tomorrow. He's had a tough 5 months to say the least. The miracle that is modern medicine has saved his life and the remaining piece is being attached to his head, a bone friendly material that will be a part of his skull for the rest of his life. Built on the east coast and shipped to the west it is the exact shape of his head measured from scans the doctors sent to east 8 weeks ago.

He has made incredible progress over the last 21/2 months, his speech has returned to normal, his gait is close to what it was before and he has the bursts of energy teenagers are expected to have. It's good to see that, his spirit is still very much alive. His biggest concerns are his appearance (he has regained all his previous weight though) and how far behind he is in school too. Freshman year is an important year in school for all and it's hard to convince him that his recovery is more important than anything else right now.

Today we went through some pre-surgery appointments and early tomorrow he gets admitted, if all goes well he should be home in a few days. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers so far, they have been a tremendous source of comfort.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A hard wind a blowin'........

Maybe it blows leaves off trees where you live, maybe it even rains sideways at times, but this is getting ridiculous! Around here trees are driven into sand dunes at amazing angles! It's best to seek shelter indoors when these kinds of conditions prevail.

A tough crowd.





Friday, January 11, 2008

Toe In bust.......

No contest of any note this year, they are going to try and run a "half" contest by Sunday. Definitely a bad decision made to call people up and then not have the conditions for it. Out of town teams turned around and went home as the more prestigious(read$$$$ too)Mavs contest went to green. Those that did get here found crappy surf of no significant size. Might have been prudent to mend fences with the local boys instead of continuing the bad blood? At least they are around if the surf cooperates.......
* Oops my bad..... it's on with a total of 8 teams late today, the surf has picked up as well.

On a lighter note these two paddled out and rode the filthy shorie for awhile as they dodged pieces of wood floating around them, that is a chunk just left of the guy on the right........

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My favourite trip pic of Surftown....

Just because somehow the pack of people aren't ALL visible as a glassy couple of peaks saunter into the coming mayhem, oblivious to the human chess match taking place already.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Between storms.......

We may have to delay our return due to global warming......

Snow on the way down......

Snow on the way back.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008