Tuesday, December 26, 2017


I will get a blog post up about our recent trip to Hawaii but it might take a few days. In the meantime, I wanted to post about the shark diving we did while we were there, especially since so many people keep asking about it. This was hands down one of the coolest, most amazing things we have ever done. We were able to watch eight Galapagos sharks up close. It was unbelievable. I can't even find the words to describe the experience of being in the crystal-clear water and watching these animals swim in front of us.  

Here's how it worked: A boat took us 3 miles offshore (by the way, we saw a whale on the way out!). Once at the spot, they attached a cage to the side of the boat. We were given snorkel gear (very high quality gear I might add), and proceeded 5 steps down a ladder into the cage.  The bars of the cage were open so we could put our hands and feet through them if we wanted too. I kept my appendages in the cage since I like having hands and feet. We were able to spend about 30 minutes in the cage, watching the sharks.

We were told that the sharks have become conditioned to show up when they hear the sound of a diesel engine. They weren't kidding. We had barely come to a stop before the sharks showed up. They would bump up against the boat, exploring it. They did not bump up against the cage while we were in there, thank goodness. That would have freaked me out! And no I haven't seen the movie 47 Meters Down, even though many of my "friends" told me I should watch it before going shark diving (what is wrong with you people??). 

I have to admit that ever since we booked this tour, I have doubted my sanity. I came close to cancelling more than once. Even as I was descending into the cage, I thought, "What in the world am I doing? I must be crazy!" But I knew if I didn't do it, I would regret it. It also helped that a family was in the boat with us and they had a 5 year old that went in the cage. I thought, "If he can do it, so can I." You'll be happy to hear we all survived. There was one mishap, however. For some unknown reason when we transferred the pictures from the memory card to the computer, the pictures that Husband took of me were nowhere to be found. We don't know if it was equipment error or user error--Husband isn't certain he ever actually captured a picture of me, so we have no idea what happened. Despite the lack of photo proof, trust me when I say I was definitely in the cage. After all, who do you think took the pictures of Husband?

Again, this was an amazing experience. It was worth every penny we paid. We would do it again in a heartbeat, which says a lot because we don't like repeating activities (why do the same thing twice if you can experience something new instead?). If you find yourself on Oahu, you should add this to your to-do list. We booked through Hawaii Shark Encounters. They were courteous, professional, and very knowledgeable about sharks and the ocean in general. They were also a nice, calming influence to have around right before we stepped off the boat to our almost certain death. #thisishowidieinhawaii

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Game, set, match

The story for this post has its beginnings in December 2014. Those of you who have been long time readers may recall the time we stole an inflatable Christmas hippo from our Virginia neighbours' yard and put it in our yard. Those of you who are new to this blog can read all about it here. The neighbours retaliated by placing a garden gnome army on our doorstep. A few days later, the neighbours took it one step further and left an inflatable Santa on Fire on our lawn. And this is where the story ends...or so we all thought. Fast forward to this past October (2017). We are living in Alaska. Said neighbours still live in Virginia. Husband and I were able to take a trip to Virginia at the beginning of October. As we were packing, Husband suggested we take Santa on Fire to Virginia and set it up on the neighbours' lawn, just for old times sake. That's exactly what we did. We all had a good laugh over it, and Husband and I were pretty much declared geniuses for coming up with such a great plan. I must admit, we were extremely proud of ourselves. We thought we were so clever. Well folks, I have to tell you, we have been bested by our Virginia neighbours. Last night as I went to make sure the front door was locked before going to bed, guess what I noticed sitting on our snow covered front lawn?

I have no idea how it ended up back in Alaska. The only logical explanation is our Virginia neighbours somehow got in touch with friends here in Alaska. Promises were made; backroom deals were brokered; alliances were formed; and Santa on Fire ended up in front of our house. The Virginia neighbours have refused to names their co-conspirators thus far, most likely to protect the guilty.

To the person or persons who set this up, I commend you. It was -20*F/-29*C out last night. That is pretty cold to be outside helping a stranger try to win a battle that started almost 3 years ago.

To our Virginia neighbours: You have definitely won this round, but the battle still RAGES on. Although to be honest, I am not sure how we are going to top this but you can bet we will definitely try.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Our first visitor

We finally had our first visitor from the Lower 48 when our friend Lauren came for a visit. We were so excited to show her a bit of Alaska. The main thing I wanted to show her was the northern lights, but sadly it was cloudy every single night she was here. That just reinforced to me how lucky we are to live here, where we have multiple opportunities to experience the typical Alaska things.

Lauren and I visited the ice museum downtown (Poor Husband had to work). It is small, but definitely worth the stop. The carvings were amazing. It was about 20*F in there so it gave Lauren a small taste of what we experience in the winter. I was freezing, which tells me I am not ready for winter.

We rented a cabin for a night just outside of Denali National Park. This was the view from behind our cabin. It was very beautiful. The pictures don't do the beauty justice. The fall colours on the trees in and outside of the park were amazing.

We drove as far as we could in the park, to mile 15 (Personal vehicles are allowed only that far, and after that point you must take a bus tour. If you are lucky, you can apply for and win a Denali Road Lottery ticket to get to drive the entire park one day in September). During our time in the park, the weather was less than cooperative so we did not get to see Denali, nor did we see any wildlife on our drive. Despite that, the drive was still breathtakingly beautiful.

We decided to hike Horseshoe Lake, just inside the park. We saw an otter eating his lunch on the banks of the lake. On the way back, we heard a beaver fell a tree. Sadly we did not see the beaver but we did come across some trees that beavers had been snacking on. 

After our time in the park, we headed down to Anchorage. We took Lauren to the Wildlife Conservation Centre, where we saw bears, moose, bison, elk, muskox, and other animals commonly found in Alaska. 

For the first time ever, we did not see Denali on our drive back from Anchorage. The fall colours made up for the fact that the mountain was not visible. I think that autumn in the best time to be in Alaska. Alaska is beautiful anytime of year, but there is something about the yellows and oranges dotting the mountains that makes it especially beautiful.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Migration Time

Fall is in full swing here in Interior Alaska. The leaves are turning, the air is cooler, the fireweed has gone to seed, and the birds have stopped for a break on their way south. We headed to Creamer's Field to check out the sandhill cranes and the geese as they made their biannual stop here. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Riverboat Discovery Tour

This weekend Husband and I took a 3 hour riverboat tour down the Chena River. We watched a bush plane flying demonstration. We saw a sled dog team pull an ATV (the motor had been removed). We visited a replica of an Athabascan Native village, where we learned about their way of life. It was great way to spend an afternoon. 

 Bush plane demonstration

 Trailbreaker kennels

Summer dog sledding 

Dogs cooling off after their run 

 It was a gorgeous day to be out on the river

Where the Chena River meets the Tanana River. You can actually see the difference in the water colour between the two rivers

Close up of the two rivers meeting

Husband with some fox furs 


Giant cabbage 

Sod roof 

In front of the riverboat 

Fish wheel 

Drying salmon (it smelled awful!)