Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Please excuse the interruption, but we shot a moose!!

Only in bush Alaska does a successful morning hunting equal a school wide break.  Subsistence hunting and fishing takes priority over many things including spelling tests, because it's survival.  With no secretary in the school and very limited staff, the phone usually goes unanswered and interruptions are only made if absolutely necessary.  I guess I made the right decision this morning when I decided to pull our paraprofessional out of class to take a call from her husband regarding a moose he had just killed.  I was waiting for the call for my plane's arrival when I answered the phone and found myself as excited as the man on the other line as he humbly told me the news of his early morning hunt.  Within minutes the kids were piled in the school’s F150 heading to 3-star to celebrate a feat that meant meat for the winter.

It's not a huge moose, but it's still a moose!

Shortly after the moose excitement ends, my plane arrives to take me to Chignik Bay for the week.   The weather was perfect for flying and I was reminded of how lucky I am to have this opportunity and get paid for it.  I feel like I'm  learning and experiencing more than I'm teaching.

The scenry from the plane is amazing

Natural waterfall at Chignik Bay

Chignik Bay is a small remote fishing village tucked away on the coast, it sits between layers of old Scandinavian ways and Russian Aleut traditions, which is torn up against modern glories. Chignik is located at Anchorage Bay on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula roughly 450 miles southwest of Anchorage and 250 miles southwest of Kodiak Island. Chignik has a population of less then 100 people during the winter months.
Salmon fishing is typically from June through September. The most sought after is the red salmon, (sockeye). Commercial salmon fishing is the mainstay for the village, although cod and halibut and crab are caught in the waters, it's the red salmon that most fish for.   During the summer months it doesn't get dark till around 11 p.m. Sunrise is about 4 a.m. The beach is used mainly  for subsistence. Clam digging and octopus hunting are a favorite past-time when the tide is out. Berry picking is also another favorite subsistence activity.  I took lots of pictures on my hike tonight that I'll post next week along with some stories of my week here.

A little bow and arrow practice, not that I plan on shooting anything live, but it's a good skill to learn when your living in the wilderness.  The hood is to keep the bugs out of my face.  The mosquitos in Alaska don't bite nearly as bad as back east, but calm days with no wind, they are terrible and sometimes it's necessary to wear a head net.  Lucky for us we get very few days with no wind and after the first frost they'll die.

Linda, the head teacher in Perryville, has great aim and skill.  She also has a house on the Kenai Peninsula, where I look forward to spending spring break.  I hear there's lots of good surfing in Homer, which is about an hour drive...should be exciting surfing next to floating refrigerator size ice as it breaks up from the winter freeze.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey Candice,
The sad eyed (dead) moose reminded me of the book, If you give a Moose a muffin by author Numeroff! I don't know if the kids read that since they look at moose differently.
Thank you for sharing the details of your teaching life. Also reminded me of Pat Conroy's year of teaching on Dufuskie Island - the island your dad and I visited near Hilton Head. You ought to pick up the book - The Water if Wide ---- sounds similar. Looking forward to hearing about the kids and learning..must be a challenge to excite them about regular worksheets! Love, Aunt Karen