July In Bloom

More photos of Alaska to cool you off on the dog days of summer. 
Note to anyone who wants to pass on the fishing photos: They’re at the bottom of the post and I’ll give you plenty of warning.We arrived on a clear, sunny day with a high of 70, the warmest weather this town sees all year. I just stepped off a plane from Swamplandia and it felt like winter in the best way.This parade is everything a Fourth of July parade should be: Smoky the Bear, firetrucks, a marching band, boat floats, and free beer. We followed the signs for fry bread and it turned out to be a funnel cake situation which the locals smother in margarine, then honey, then powdered sugar. When in Rome. The next day was one of the most thrilling parts of the trip, a seaplane ride over Baranof Island, cruising in between snow-capped mountains and rugged fjords, flying low over alpine lakes and forests of Sitka spruce. At the very end of the island we splash down in the harbor of Port Alexander. We hop from plane to dock and walk along the boardwalk to Laughing Raven Lodge.Molly, Maria, and Sue take turns in the kitchen churning out breakfast, packing our boat lunches, and the incredible dinners we sit down to every night.
I learned this recipe last year. There’s a different cookie and a different type of bread every. single. day.
And there is always dessert.View from our room. Salmonberries. I ate a thousand. They come in several colors. You know they’re ripe when they fit on your fingers like this:Beach asparagus, edible and delicious.And so is the thick, ropy bullwhip kelp, which Molly adds to salsa. 

****************Now let’s go fishing! **********************First, the bad news: the king (chinook) salmon bite wasn’t on this year. Such a bummer because it’s the best salmon ever, but coho (silver) is a close second and we did catch a few of those. The good news is that the halibut bite was on. My mom caught a 90-pounder right off the bat. She has a reputation for catching the best fish of the trip on her first cast, then kicking her feet up and watching us work.Our friends were catching plenty, too.We also caught lots of yellow eye rockfish and lingcod. You can only keep one each per person, per year. These are some freaky looking fish but they’re delicious.Last year when I hooked my first big halibut it took me by surprise. It felt like it was going to yank me over the gunwales and I passed the rod to Toby. The shame! 

On our third day I felt the most powerful strike ever. This time I was determined. I braced myself and held on for dear life while I got it in the fighting belt. Any time I felt the chance, I reeled with all my might. Eventually we were at a standstill. Then that fish decided to take off for a long swim to Japan. I watched all my hard work unspool. My arms quivered. I wouldn’t even let anyone adjust the drag for me because I’ll be damned if I didn’t catch this fish by myself. 

It was at least 30 minutes before I got my first glimpse of the fish.
Ooops, wrong photo.Ta da! A 130-pound halibut. Biggest fish I ever caught.You made it to the end! Thanks for letting me detour from my usual Florida ramblings to share this dream trip. I’ll post more dispatches from the Sunshine State soon.

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16 Comments July In Bloom

  1. Dorothy July 27, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Another unbelievable trip to Port Alexander! That halibut was huge! I don’t know how you did that!

    Reply
    1. suwanneerose July 27, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      I hope we get to do it all again!

      Reply
  2. Julie July 27, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    An amazing trip with beautiful photos! I can’t believe you pulled in that huge halibut!

    Reply
    1. suwanneerose July 28, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      I can’t either! Thanks, Julie.

      Reply
  3. Dorothy July 28, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Me too!

    Reply
  4. Evangelia July 28, 2018 at 8:54 am

    What an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos. The landscape from the plane…stunning. Quite a fishing experience for you congrats. While looking at your pictures, I could feel the fresh clean cool air…dreaming of fall to arrive.

    Reply
    1. suwanneerose July 28, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Evangelia! Wish I could bottle that cool fresh air. Wouldn’t that be the best thing after a workout?

      Reply
  5. DeeDee July 29, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Danielle you are a fabulous photographer!! Looks like a gorgeous vacation!!

    Reply
    1. suwanneerose July 30, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, DeeDee! We had so much fun. We’re overdue for a visit with you and Roger!

      Reply
  6. Lynne Randall July 29, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. For a few minutes I was transported from our heat and humidity to cool weather where sweaters, blankets and jackets are needed. A vicarious thrill!

    Reply
    1. suwanneerose July 30, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Thanks, Lynne! A nice little break from the heat for sure, but they don’t have mangos so I had to come back. Let’s get in touch soon. I loved the Carries you shared with us and the Ice Cream mangos, especially once extra ripe, were outrageous! So excited about that variety.

      Reply
  7. bt July 30, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    What an amazing trip! I love the pics and can’t wait to go next year!

    Reply
  8. bt July 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Wow! Beautiful pictures. I can’t wait to see it myself next year!

    Reply
  9. Misti July 30, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    What an amazing trip! I’m going to have to get up to AK at some point. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  10. Janet Loveland August 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Your photos are stunning!!! You have outdone yourself with your July blog! Mark came in from the 90+ degree heat and I told him to sit down, cool off and look at your photos. So thank you for cooling us both off! You are an amazing photographer, writer AND fisherwoman extraordinaire!!!

    Reply
    1. suwanneerose August 5, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      Oh my goodness, that is so kind of you, Jan! Thank you so much. It was an incredible trip. Just getting out of the heat was a treat and everything else was a bonus. We’re hoping to get to Big Pine at the end of the month. Looking forward to seeing you and Mark then.

      Reply

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