Sunday, September 9, 2018

Working in Alaska

A chance of a lifetime fell into my lap a few months ago when I answered a request from someone at Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp - a nonprofit based in Alaska. PWSAC works with the Salmon fisheries to operate hatcheries in Prince William Sound. They have 7 locations that needed all new computer and network setups. I jumped at the opportunity and won the job for Tech Impact. After months of planning, Omar and I headed out to Anchorage on Tuesday Sept 4th. Our trip started with a hiccup when our pilot aborted takeoff from Dallas at the very last second. The brakes locked up and we sat in the airport for 8 hours. Never arrived in Anchorage until 4 AM on Wed and had to be at the first location by 7 AM. Yuck.

Aborted Flight - Dallas
Wed was a looooong day. We worked in Anchorage for a few hours then packed up equipment and headed to our first remote location called AFK. AFK is a fish hatchery site located on Evans Island. We took a commuter flight on Alaska Air Transit. Here is the pilot and Omar.

Alaska Air Transit Flight

We had a "bluebird" day to sight-see from the plane. Its funny because both times that I've been in this area people tell me that the weather is NEVER this nice. Hmmm. Maybe its me :-) This first photo shows the Seward Highway and Cook Inlet (and the plane's tire). We drove this road on our last trip to Alaska.

Seward Highway from above
One of the other passengers pointed out the Beluga Whales in the water. You can barely see one in the bottom left of this photo.

Beluga Whale
We started over the mountains and got to see glaciers from above.

Glacier View
This is the terminus of one of the glaciers.

Glacier Terminus and Ice Bergs
Our flight landed on Evans Island in a native Alaskan village of Chenega Bay. The airstrip was literally stone.

Chenega Bay Airstrip
Our journey wasn't complete at the airstrip. We loaded the equipment into a pickup truck and headed to the dock where we loaded all of the computer equipment into a skiff. Not even kidding.


Heading to the hatchery
The PWSAC guys let me drive the boat.
Driving the skiff
By now, it's 4 PM Wed and I'm working on 1 hour sleep. We still had to unload the boat and start the actual job. However, I couldn't dive into the computer work without checking out the action at the docks. The water was filled with Pink Salmon. There were so many fish that I could have walked across the inlet on their backs. This is one photo of the fish that congregated under the dock.

Pink Salmon under the dock
More to come about the wildlife activity and working conditions at this site. We worked until 10 PM and passed out in the bunk house where we stayed for 2 nights.