Sunday, October 17, 2010

Return of the Itinerant

Yes, people, I am back in Bethel. Back from Goodnews Bay, GNU, Home of the Bears. With my job, time really does fly. It feels like I just got out there, and that was 3 1/2 weeks ago. Already I'm back, with much work to do, and looking forward to my next journey, a return to Newtok.

Classes went decently, despite the fact that it's "Dividend Season" right now. Local readers will know what I mean, while people from Outside may not. October 7 was the magical date when the PFD dividends came out. When that happens, any number of things start to happen. For a teacher, it means that you're bound to have people missing from class sporadically because they go travel with the new money. You also may have students who are tired and sleepless because the dividend money was being drank in their house the night before. Despite these distractions we made some positive headway in class. Here are some of my Bear students working on a class project last Saturday. We welded a railing back into place in the school which had been cut out previously to allow room to move a large object up the steps.

Of course I found time to get out and do things outside at Goodnews too. Myself and Paul made several trips out on waterfowl hunts. We never had a big day, but never came back skunked either. Here's his dog Stella, having dutifully fetched for me my first mallard, a drake.

He's thawing out downstairs along with a few other ducks. I'm going to try out a tasty recipe involving duck breasts and jalapenos tomorrow, and am looking forward to it.

Last weekend my friend Dirk came and joined us out in Goodnews as well. He's a fly fishing aficionado and had contacted Paul and came out to experience the Goodnews River. Saturday I had to sit out, since I had classes going on. Sunday however, we had a great (albeit a bit chilly) trip up river quite a ways. It was a crisp morning boat ride, with shell ice on some of the banks, ice gleaming on low hanging branches from dipping/spray in the river. We saw lots of birds zipping around, deciding if it's time to stay or go, several eagles, and a brute of a brown bear. Once we arrived at the fishing hole, we were all stoked about the great boat ride, and agreed that the trip was worthwhile even if we got skunked fishing. (Which of course we did not!) We brought back a pile of dolly varden, and a few random rainbows and arctic grayling were also caught. I caught this beauty of a "dolly" on that day as well as 11 smaller ones. Looking forward to seeing them on my plate soon too.

My departure was Friday, and I wasn't so sure I'd get to Bethel at all. Bethel was fogged in most of the day. Saturday was forecast to be super windy, which held up it's end on that deal. I was a little worried, not that I didn't want to be out there anymore, but I really wanted to make it back so I could watch the Badgers beat up on Ohio State. Luckily I made it and didn't miss a play. And in my PO box was waiting for me my very own dividend check from Governor Sean Parnell. Quyana, Sean!!

What am I going to do with it? Buy plane tickets, of course.