Monday, July 12, 2010

Blue Marbles and San Fran

One of my most favorite places in the world - Australia. And I was there on Daydream Island in the Whitsundays with my two favorite peoples, my two kiddos! Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp

Those two topics have nothing to do with one another, but they're the two topics I'm writing about today! So I've slowed down on photo taking in the Bering Sea, but also I haven't uploaded my recent photos yet, so it's the perfect opp to share the photos of San Fran I haven't yet.

We will arrive at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island tomorrow around 4pm Alaska time - a day earlier than expected. And by the way tomorrow happens to be my...Gulp, 40th birthday. Yuk. It's been depressing me this whole trip, and I have to own up to it. I. Am. An. Old. Lady. No getting around it. Sigh. So I guess instead of sitting on the boat, we get to go on land. Woohoo. I get to have an Alaskan White beer at the Unisea. I don't drink much, but there's no alcohol on the boat, and the Alaskan White was pretty good when I had one the last time I was in Dutch at the beginning of this trip, so I definitely think I'll have one. So there ya go.

I have 3 and a half days in Dutch Harbor, so this is the dealio. I plan to go on a tour of a fish processing plant. I plan to go on a 4-hour tour of the island. I want to try to visit the museums there, which are supposed to be pretty good. And I plan to take loads of photos. The fireweed should be blooming, and the salmon run in the creeks that go right through town. How cool will that be? There are also wild horses on the island. They're actually trying to get rid of them because they don't belong, so they have them sterilized so they don't breed and make more baby horses.

The last few days, I've been cloistered away writing and researching various stories. Three days after I get home, I have to pick up and go again! I am going on the Great Gulf Coast Oil Spill Road Trip Adventure with a fellow writer and my boyfriend/videographer Doug! Melissa got a bunch of recycled blue glass marbles. Our friend J Nichols (who I wrote this story on nearly 15 years ago - "It Takes a Village") a sea turtle biologist extraordinaire and a personal conservation hero to me, came up with the idea of giving people these blue marbles and with this gift, you can ask them if they would do a Random Act of Ocean Kindness, tell you a story about what they love about the ocean, or just whatever is inspired by the act of giving and receiving. The marbles are supposed to be passed along. Check out the website/blog and all the stories told. It was originally started in honor of what would have been Jacques Cousteau's 100th birthday, and they had a special event - Ocean Voices - at the California Academy of Sciences that day. I blogged about it for Animal Planet - Celebrate Earth's Marble-ous Oceans This Week (Earth Week). So we are going to give them out, videorecord stories, and have a blast.

I am so looking forward to: sunshine, hugs, my kids in the house, my wonderful boyfriend, land beneath my feet, people that love me, running, spinning, my awesome friends, joy, laughter, inspiration, love, hugs. Did I mention hugs? I love hugs!!

I want to do cartwheels on the sand, oil or not. I want to listen to stories of fishermen and people along the coast. I want to help inspire people to love the ocean and our fragile blue planet. I want to bring some hope to those who don't feel it. I want to see what scientists are studying in this first round of researchon the oil spill, just funded by National Science Foundation, get out in boats and see the barrier islands, see the birds, pray for the ocean and wildlife and people...

I am posting photos from San Francisco, which I visited on the way up to Anchorage/Dutch Harbor on a long layover. My dear friend Zofia (mom of my niece, Kira) lives in Sonoma and came to spend the day with me! She is such a beautiful soul and I adore her! I hadn't seen her in two years so it was so wonderful to spend time with her. Here are some photos of the day. It was a blessing to look through these photos and remember that day - the happiest day of the last month, for sure. I'll be honest - this has been a difficult and not-so-fun trip for me. It has had its coolness about it, but it's been far harder than it was good. So there ya go. But I'm ready to get back to my blessed life with friends and beautiful kids and love and joy!! Finally I can feel the caged bird singing again inside my soul.

Zofia and I!
After Zofia picked me up from the San Fran airport, we drove to Oakland, where she used to live, and where I had been dying to get back to the amazingly awesomely stupendous Bittersweet Cafe. But first we ate a yummy breakfast, with mimosas, at Crepevine!!This place has the BEST spicy hot chocolate in the universe. I kid you not. If you are in Oakland (or even San Fran) and fail to go here, you are seriously missing out. They use a a homemade-in-the-store buttery solid chocolate mix that includes some sort of chile, and... rosewater. It's freaking amazing. And I also had a second cup of...salted hot caramel hot chocolate!! It is also to die for. In fact I think I almost liked it better, if that is possible. It was like a liquid truffle, and about 10 billion times better than the Starbuck's version which I used to love. Divine inspiration!
Another shot of Bittersweet Cafe. Oh -notice the "Socialism" poster on the window? Ha - funny! Scary socialists hang out inside - ooooh beware! Californians!! Hahaha. (I was born in Cali).
This pic is totally unfocused but it captures Zofia's beautiful laughter which I would die to hear right now!
After visiting Oakland, we drove to Fisherman's Wharf in San Fran because I wanted to check out the Pier 39 sea lions. The famous Pier 39 sea lions! I had written about their mysterious disappearance, and subsequent reappearance on my Animal Planet blog, so it was kind of cool to see them, although I had seen them before on a separate trip to SF & Yosemite with my kiddos and Zofia and my brother in 2007.
Lots of tourists watching the sea lions!
Zofia looking at the sea lions. Such a lovely soul!


Melissa Gaskill said...

Yay for blue marbles! Can't wait.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Wendee, good to see you're on your way back. As it turns out, I've been in the Galapagos. I'm actually a poor traveler and very timid when it comes to trying new things, so the whole experience (wonderful as it was) makes me appreciate people as adventurous as you, even more.

And don't worry about being 40...I'm about to turn 48! Have a great summer!