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Pinks are Running in Valdez!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

overcast 0 °F

We wake up to the sound of rain again, but the steady rain stops by the time we’re having breakfast. There are very low clouds hanging around this morning, so we relax in the trailer and get some chores done.

After lunch we hop in the car for a drive over across the inlet to Allison Point. There are trailers parked there and we’re wondering if there’s a campground there. We find that the trailers belong to fisherman. There are lots and lots of fisherman by the edge of the water. We drive along behind them and see salmon jumping out of the water and a sea lion with a fish in its’ mouth, so we park and walk along the edge of the water. The salmon are jumping out of the water like crazy. We walk to the end of the inlet where the fish hatchery is and the salmon are swimming on top of each other to get to the hatchery.
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The fishermen are not allowed to fish within 300 feet of the hatchery.

We learn that the pink salmon are returning to the area to spawn and that there is a bumper crop this year. They had predicted 12 million salmon would return this year, but they are now predicting 21 million. There are a lot of salmon in this inlet! I try to take pictures of all the salmon jumping in the water, but the pictures really can't show the jumping. This first picture shows a few of the commercial fishing boats and the city of Valdez in the background (on the other side of the bay). The little circles in the water in front of the boats are from the salmon jumping:
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Many of the fishermen are tossing the salmon back in the water since they already have their limit or they don’t have any more room in their freezers. I tell Jere we should go buy a license and just take the salmon that the fisherman don’t want :-) We need to learn how to fish if we ever come to Alaska again.

As we’re watching the salmon, a bald eagle swoops down and grabs a salmon out of the water!
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We walk along the water and watch the salmon for a long time, but eventually we leave and return to the trailer for dinner – pork chops (we had Copper River red salmon yesterday). Then we go for a bike ride around town. Here's a picture of the Valdez Oil Terminal that is located across the bay from the town:
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After our ride Jere works on our bicycle rack; the one bike rail cracked on the bumpy McCarthy Road the other day. Then we build a campfire and enjoy the view.
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There are lots of birds, jumping salmon, a sea otter and a sea lion. While Jere and I are sitting there, a camper from 2 trailers down asks us if we want any salmon—they have extra. We say sure and enjoy freshly grilled, freshly caught pink salmon. Earlier today I had been hoping that one of the fishermen would give us one of the salmon that they didn’t want, but this is even better – filleted and grilled salmon, complete with lemon and pepper!

Posted by jengelman 13:43 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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