The season is changing again. This morning the roofs of the houses in my neighborhood were coated in frost, I had to warm up my car before I could see out the windows and there was a fresh layer of snow on the peaks of the mountains.

An 80-foot ship called the Island C, a great captain with a vision, an exceptional young cook, a competent and upbeat skiff operator, and an engineer with a wealth of experiences and stories to complement, two crew leaders, and a group of volunteers who work hard pulling together every day, …

Kodiak is such an interesting place: If you look at a map of the United States, you are lucky if Alaska even shows up in its proper location and is not inserted somewhere off the coast of Mexico.

A good friend called me up last week to ask if I could help her with some biological samples. She needed to split her workload, because she realized that with an increased load of home schooling for her two kids, her time was going to shrink away quickly.

When it comes to talking about elections, most people would say that they want to see change.

I have recently been tasked with reviewing a paper about ecosystem dynamics in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has given me some appreciation of the difficult job of fisheries managers and the task of writing reports on the status of an ecosystem.

“May you always have sand in your shoes and a shell in your pocket” read the text on a card a friend gave me a while ago. The card featured a mermaid; I like mermaids.

When our mind seeks solutions to the problems of the day, it often takes a trip down memory lane. People remember things in different ways and often the memories are tied to certain items or images.

This time will be remembered in history. What would I give for a glimpse into one of the future recounts of the changes that our country is in the process of and preparing to undergo?

Life is different now. Everyone feels it in a different way. For some it has been nice to enjoy extra time at home getting things done or engaging in activities that we usually don’t find time for.

Imagine you were shut down in a small apartment in a high-riser in some city. You are not allowed to go outside, so to keep your sanity you begin to meditate.

There is a great white shark in the fish tank with me. Well, not really, but this is the best metaphor I could come up with trying to translate the old saying “there is an elephant in the room” into a marine theme.

Last night I went out for a drink with a couple of friends. As we arrived, the band was just leaving after playing for an empty room all evening and we had our choice of, well, all of the tables.

Today, I was woken up by the sounds of playing children. There is a lot of shouting and screaming involved, a lot of stomping of running feet, doors opening and slamming shut, and a lot of energy. As the kids were outside in the snow, I spent some time watching as they were totally engulfed …

I consider myself an environmentalist. I have heard a lot of sneers and jokes about those “tree-huggers” and “animal lovers” who would rather save a bird than eat, rather look at a bunny in the forest than have a road built there to go faster to the next place of interest, rather have a fiel…

When I was a kid there was a small convenience store located about a mile from my family home. Whenever I had gotten a hold of some money, I would walk there and spend it on candy, carefully doing the math to get the most “bang for the buck.” Sometimes my mom would send me to get an item tha…

Many of us start each new year with plans to improve something about ourselves or the way we do things. I have lately been thinking about the seemingly impossible task of living in the present while being better at planning out the future. At the same time, I want to draw from fond experienc…

Solstice and Christmas time give a chance for reflection. Around the holidays many people contemplate what the year has brought and what is coming up in the new year. Following the news stories, especially the environmental news can be daunting, sometimes make a person feel depressed, powerl…

Last spring and summer, during the northward migration of the gray whales, the news kept reporting dead whales found washed up on beaches from California to Alaska. By July NOAA reported 182 gray whales were found dead along their migration route from the warmer waters in Baha California, Me…

I was recently given a rare opportunity to see the diversity of fishes caught on last summer’s Bering Sea trawl survey. I had an unwieldy bag of frozen fish that it took me a while to sort through and two days to thaw out. I hauled two totes of these fish to Kodiak Middle School for an after…

Last week, about 50 people got together in Kodiak to think about changes to come to our town. The title of the conference was “Adapt Kodiak” and it was one of a series of such conferences held in numerous Alaskan communities to spur the process of thinking about how to take change into consi…

It is a dark and stormy morning. The wind makes noises in my chimney pipe and gusts are shaking the house. Occasional thumps from the roof tell of the spruce cones and branches that are falling onto the house. Outside, the trees are dancing wildly and the shadows of their moving branches are…

I did one 10-day Marine Debris cleanup tour to the beaches of Shuyak in June, and I just returned from a second such adventure in Izhut Bay, Afognak Island. In June, we had a group of young people on their first work experience, a beautiful setting, and a lot of very hard manual labor. This …

I hate to resolve to the shallowness of writing about the weather. By now everyone must have noticed that we are having an unusually warm, extremely dry summer. But I may be wrong: Just the other day, as I left a store the cashier told me to “enjoy the nice weather.” There is nothing nice ab…

It has been an amazing week. Actually, eight amazing days of Kodiak’s first Ocean Science Discovery and Marine Stewardship Camp. I admit it started rocky. There were troubles getting an insurance company to provide liability insurance for campers in a small island town in Alaska — one compan…

KODIAK — Some topics are easy to write about. It is easy to look up the life cycle of an animal and describe its animal superpowers. I love doing that because I am always amazed by how nature solves the multitude of challenges life offers in so many different ways. Other topics are more diff…

KODIAK — Kodiak is in summer mode; salmon fishing is at its height, tourists are swarming town, there is a constant background sound track of lawn mowers, outboards and children playing, and the roads are dusty. Some people love and enjoy every moment of it while others complain about too mu…

KODIAK — Everybody eats. I thought writing about nutrition would be easy, especially since I have lately spent quite some effort learning more about what foods energize and what foods actually zap us of energy. Hours later, I found myself still staring at a blank page after going down severa…

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KODIAK — Sunshine, hot summer temperatures, blue skies, calm water-these are not usually terms to describe our Kodiak Archipel! Yet, the ten days I spent on tour with the Island C to clean up beaches on Shuyak Island, I was consistently surprised with these attributes, even though the weathe…

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KODIAK — At this time of the year, Kodiak always seems to be buzzing. Everyone is busy rushing around and getting ready for something. It’s a different kind of busy than the business around Christmas time; this is more existential rather than social. Outdoor activities have sprung into full …

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KODIAK — It was Easter Sunday in Kodiak and we had snow on the ground. Actually, that is not so unusual; I remember several Easter when my now-grown son was little, where I hid eggs in the snow. This does not change the fact that the winter was extremely warm for our latitude and the Bering …

I went down to the harbor the other day to enjoy a cup of coffee on one of those sunny April days before it started raining and sleeting, again. Thinking about the upcoming summer, with its increased number of cruise ships, I had wildlife viewing on my mind. 

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KODIAK — I am stuck in Anchorage at the airport. My mind is a little fuzzy; I left my father’s house in Germany at 7 a.m. Tuesday — now, it is 7 a.m. Wednesday, but there is also a 10-hour time difference. So my travel time amounts to 34 hours, and I will not get home for another 9.5 hours. …

The last column was about nudibranchs, the amazing sea slugs with their colorful mantles and frilly gills. As I was out tide pooling during one of the very low tides this February, looking for sea stars for our education program, I saw several of the local nudibranchs; one dirty yellow sea l…

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KODIAK — My most recent articles have been more about human interactions with the ocean and how human actions affect the ocean; I was told that I have been moving away from captivating people with the amazing beauty of the world underwater. As my birthday was earlier this month, and I live b…

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KODIAK — A December day in Kodiak can feel a bit heavy and today is such a day. The typical gray of winter lies over the trees and shores and it is hard to decide if there is actually a horizon or if the ocean and the sky are just one continuous wet world. The gray heaviness reflects my mood…

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KODIAK — Recently, I wrote a column about the growing problem of marine debris, specifically plastic that has somehow entered the ocean environment. In response to my article, I had two readers contact me and comment on how the article affected them. Thank you, for nothing is more rewarding …

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KODIAK — On Tuesday evening, it felt like it had been a long week, even though the week was only a couple of days old. December 17 and 18 were the dates of the first Kodiak Island Environmental Monitoring workshop. The participants hailed from places around the island including Ouzinkie, Por…

Christmas time again, and the stores are loaded with goods and sweets and baking supplies and decorations, wrapping paper and bows. Outside, the temperatures have dropped below freezing and while working outside last week I got so cold, I now have the sniffles. 

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KODIAK — I took a walk today along Kodiaks’ beautiful coastline and saw some harlequin ducks bobbing on the waves. As ice forms on the puddles, tufted puffins have left for the winter and also their clown-faced horned puffin relatives have disappeared from the near shore waters. Safe journey…

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When you start reading this it will be a different kind of day then when I am writing it, I hope. As I am sitting here gazing out of the window, there is absolutely nothing to see, at least not in the distance. On one side of the house, I can’t see the ocean or even the more distant parts of…

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I was recently given two rockfish one a quillback and the other a black rockfish. Both had been frozen whole, and I wanted to make sure to eat them before they sat in the freezer too long. When I was ready to fillet them, they were still too frozen, so I put them into my kitchen sink while I…

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Two weeks ago, it was cold. Freezing temperatures and the strong winds cut my usual walks along the coast a little shorter. Checking the tide pools, there was not very much to find except for those hardy sessile animals that have no choice but to hang on to life in the very spot where they o…

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Nobody can escape the passing of time. Every year, we remind ourselves of it by celebrating the anniversary of our entry to life and put another light on the birthday cake. Years ago, I made a birthday cake for a family member and lit 50 candles on it. The cake was not very large, because th…