Category Archives: travel

Biking Portland’s bridges

My friend Karen and I rode our bikes down to the Broadway Bridge to see the rest of the Bridge for Blankets panels. In the process, I found a path along the west side of the river that was new to me. We picked it up at the Portland Police Department’s horse stables, and rode south, oohing and aahing over the four knit panels on the bridge. (Click any of the pictures for a larger view.)

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Portland is such a beautiful city, and the bridges over the Willamette River help make it so. My favorite? The Fremont Bridge. It’s a tied arch bridge, and I love its modern look. It’s the next bridge north of the Broadway.

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Our ride took us along Waterfront Park, back over the river on the Hawthorne Bridge (vertical lift), along the Eastside Esplanade, crossing the river again over the Steel Bridge (vertical lift) because I’d never crossed it on the bike/pedestrian path next to the train deck, and then back towards home over the Broadway (bascule). The sun came out and it was glorious.

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Steel Bridge (black, train deck lowered), Broadway (red), Fremont (green).

One more look at the lovely knitting:

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If you’re local to Portland, don’t forget the Block Party on Saturday, August 10, noon to 7 p.m. at NW Broadway and Hoyt. You can still buy raffle tickets for the Raffghan there; the drawing will be around 2 p.m. Proceeds go towards defraying costs for the Bridge for Blankets Project. Music, dancing, bridge tours, food, arts, crafts…what’s not to like?

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(Photo: Sharon Mackie)

And if you want to get your whole bike geek chic on, the Providence Bridge Pedal ride is on Sunday, August 11. The ride offers routes of 3 to 36 miles, and crosses up to 10 bridges, depending on route. This is the yearly opportunity to ride your bike on the top decks of the two freeway bridges, the Fremont and Marquam. The views are spectacular. Here’s an ancient picture of the family on the Fremont Bridge from 1997, the second Bridge Pedal. Yes, I hauled 4 year old kiddo on a Burley Piccolo trailer bike. The year before he had a toddler seat on my bike rack. We’ve grown up some since then…

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Have a great weekend!

ETA: Here’s a in-depth feature on Tyler Mackie and the Bridge for Blankets project.

Garland, Garland, Garland…waterfall!

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I bound off Saturday night. Blocking to follow. (And I wish I could capture the awesome super-saturated bright blue-undertoned green of this, but I’ve tried, and apparently I can’t.)

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Cathy sent me this picture Saturday night. She’s on her last repeat. This color is called Madge. Love it!

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I saw Claudia at church yesterday. She bound off Saturday, too. I offered to block for her. Pictures soon!

You may think that I’m just sitting at home knitting, cooking and jamming, but it’s not so. We went for a family hike in the Columbia River Gorge on Saturday. The weather was spectacular, and so were the views. I think that’s the peak of Mt. Adams across the river in Washington.

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The destination Saturday was Upper McCord Creek Falls. These are twin waterfalls, but the one on the left is just a trickle at this time of summer.

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I saw a picture from early June, when both were full, on this hiker’s site. Maybe next year.

Nearby is Elowah Falls.

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How long until this rock is eroded away?

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A pipe that used to carry water down to a sawmill, long ago.

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We stood looking out over this ravine, watching hawks ride the thermals. They spiraled upward without flapping their wings. We also saw swallows? swifts? flitting about. Much more work for them. So cool to be above, looking down on the hawks. And I love how you can see that the gorge is laid down in strata over time.

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I’m not sure what the function of this is. A pipe goes in from the back, and it’s overflowing at the top and leaking at the side. But it’s cool looking. It’s right at the trailhead.

It’s hard to believe that this is just 45 minutes from home. If you’re local, you might find this gorge hike guide useful. I always pick the easy ones!

It was a beautiful day! I hope you’re enjoying your summer, too.

monogamous knitting

I’m back! I was traveling last week. I took two knitting projects with me. One was my Garland shawl, and the other was the beginning of a Filigree shawl.

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I guess I really am a monogamous knitter at heart. I only worked on the Garland shawl; I never even looked at the Filigree. I had been worried about trying to knit with beads on this trip, because we were spending a week on this 65 foot catamaran.

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(The Ouvea V)

Surprisingly, bead knitting wasn’t a problem, as long as I wasn’t knitting while we were actively sailing. Which is no time to be knitting, anyway.

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(hanging out at Monkey Point, Guana Island, a great snorkeling spot)

We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s significant birthday, and it was a blast. Our family of 10 spent a week in the British Virgin Islands on a crewed charter (captain, chef, hostess). It was a blissful week of sailing, snorkeling, and beaches.

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(The Baths at Virgin Gorda)

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(Above the Bubbly Pool at Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke)

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(DH getting away from it all, Benures Bay, Norman Island)

And sunsets…

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I found a couple of these little shells on the last beach of the trip (Benures Bay, Norman Island). So cute!

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It’s a coffeebean trivia (false cowrie). They’re about a centimeter long. They look like smiles on the other side.

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I brought them home and turned them into the centerpieces of a little keepsake project. Ankle bracelets, one for me and one for sis-in-law. These remind me of sand and the color of the sea when the sun is shining on shallow waters. (I had to drill holes in them to string them; I did that with a bead reamer.)

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The instructions for these beaded bracelets (or necklace, or whatever) are in my free Victoriana Bracelet pattern. They’re made with a crochet chain with a few beads worked in. Pick some beads and make one for yourself, and one for a friend!

Back to my Garland, and real life…

Same song, second verse…

I was hanging out with Lorajean the other day, labeling Knitted Wit yarn and fiber, because that’s how we roll. She was looking for something to feature at TNNA’s Sample It in June. I offered to re-work my Filigree scarf into a shawl, using her Shine merino/tencel yarn. Game on! This is a nice way for me to be present at TNNA since I can’t go this time, and a pretty way to highlight Shine.

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I’m knitting this in Knitted Wit Shine, colorway Silver Lining, which feels very appropriate for Filigree. In this picture from yesterday I’m 2/3 done with the lacy border, but in real life I’m way past that. I’m halfway done with the short row (no wraps!) crescent shaping. I should be finished tomorrow, and then I can block and measure, and update the pattern.

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Right now the pattern for Webfoot and Filigree Scarves includes both lace edgings. It’s a little confusing for linking on Ravelry. I’m planning to separate this pattern into two patterns, one for each edging. Each pattern will have instructions for shaping a long shallow scarf and a deeper, more traditionally shaped crescent shawl. If you’ve already purchased this pattern through Ravelry by the time I issue the update next week, you’ll get both the Webfoot and Filigree pattern updates as two separate patterns.

What else? More flowers are blooming in the garden. The clematis on the trellis on the front of my house is very happy this year.

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The first iris opened two days ago. The purple ones bloom first, and the yellow ones will bloom soon after that.

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This columbine self-sowed itself into the bed of irises. I don’t mind.

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By the way, this thing?

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It’s an alligator scute.

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Scutes are bony plates (osteoderms) inside an alligator’s skin. Inside, not under. They make the skin hard to penetrate, and they may also be involved in the alligator’s temperature regulation system. All that basking in the sun to warm up…

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OK, back to knitting! I want to finish this Filigree Shawl, and I also want to swatch a couple things to take to Amy Singer’s class on Saturday. Did you know Amy Singer of Knitty fame is coming to Portland? She’s doing three classes for Twisted on Saturday: Random Cables, Making the next Monkey (what makes a great pattern), and All About Knitty. There’s still space if you’d like to come. Call Twisted to register.

Happy spring!

Kayaking with alligators…

and turtles and birds…and who knows what else was out there in the water?

Vickie and I went out to Orlando to play in the sun for a few days and then come home with CollegeKiddo. Our plan was to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and to see an alligator somewhere. Mischief managed on both counts.

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I’m not much of a theme park person, but I loved how this area of the park looked like a quaint little village. Most of the shop windows were just set dressing, and they were fun to peruse. It’s been a while since I read the books, and I’ve only seen the first movie, but it was quite amusing, all the same.

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We explored the University of Central Florida Arboretum after dinner at Bubbalou’s BBQ with CollegeKiddo. (Big finals study weekend, so mostly work and no play for him.)

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The next day’s main adventure was kayaking at Wekiva Springs State Park. This is a beautiful and beautifully kept state park. You can rent kayaks or paddleboats or canoes here. There’s a swimming area with 72 degree water. Lovely! But it’s best to stay in the swimming area if you want to be *in* the water.

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Me? I like being *on* the water.

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We saw lots of yellow slider turtles

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herons, egrets, and other birds

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and small alligators (up to 4 feet long)

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There are at least five alligators in the last picture: two on the log, three in the water. Click for a larger view. Do you see them all?

This was a very serene way to get close to the wildlife! In the afternoon we went to Winter Park, even though all the museums are closed on Monday. We toured the lakes and canals via pontoon boat. It’s a beautiful area.

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Even the sidewalk utility covers are beautiful in Winter Park.

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We popped back to Winter Park the next morning for a quick visit to the Morse Museum to see the beautiful Tiffany treasures there, but not before having coffee and knitting with blog buddy Dee. Three knitters, three projects.

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In the afternoon, we took CollegeKiddo on an airboat tour of Mullet Lake (this was after his last final that morning).

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Fun, but definitely not as serene as kayaking! Alligators don’t lie around posing for you in the lake.

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We did see this one, though. And a group of manatees. They surface with just their noses, so they can take in air. You can hear them breathing; it’s very cool. (Click on this picture for a zoomable view.)

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Lots of birds, and this baby alligator, too. It’s about 10 inches long.

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Captain Bill was full of stories, and we learned about some things, too. Do you know what this is?

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We packed in a lot of activity in a few days. I’m glad to be home. But one more cool thing to show you. We flew next to a thunderstorm on the way out. How cool is that?

Back to knitting! I finished knitting my green sample that was in the picture, and I’ll have a couple design reveals for you in the next week or so. I’ve been busy!

Knitting a blanket…for a bridge

I’m knitting part of a blanket…for a bridge.

Wait, I can explain! Portland’s Broadway Bridge turns 100 this year, and Tyler Mackie wants to celebrate by installing four handknit banners on the bridge in August. Each banner will be 18 x 21 feet. When the celebration is over, the banners will be deconstructed into 6 x 6 foot blankets for Portland’s homeless. The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, a practical easy care choice.

I’m knitting several 12 inch squares for this project. Check the Facebook page if you’d like to help knit. Check out the indiegogo funding page for more information on the project. And I’m especially happy the finished project will be made into something useful. Recycling is so very Portland!

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I knit my way across the country this weekend. This is Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Daytona Beach, Florida, and my first stripey blanket square.

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203 steps to the top! I love circular staircases.

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The Fresnel lenses themselves are a thing of beauty, created to magnify the beam out to sea.

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We had a great visit with Kiddo! A little cool at the beach, but a lovely day.

Spring has sprung/Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival is coming!

Ah, the first blush of spring. It made me think of this yarn, which has been waiting ever so patiently for inspiration. I’ve known forever that I want this to be long armwarmers, with a ruffled cuff, but just couldn’t see it yet.

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I don’t remember when it came to me. It’s from the now defunct Pico Accuardi Dyeworks, Francino, which is a lusciously soft 50% merino/25% bamboo/25% nylon blend. 100 grams/459 yards. The color is nude, and it reminds me of a maiden’s blush. I think Stevanie Pico hand painted this one. I’ve started playing with ideas for it. Wish me luck! Especially knitting the second one…

This makes me think of spring, too.

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It’s my March CSY yarn from Knitted Wit. It’s Bling, in Fuchsia Basket. I was at her house the other day to help her label yarn, and I named this one. There are four shades in this month’s CSY, all different percentages of the same dye, so they’re gradations of the same color. Sakura, Plum Blossom, Carnation Nation, and Fuchsia Basket, in order of intensity. Is one coming to you? I love the bling in Bling; it’s hard to see it in this size picture, but it sparkles in the full size pic on my iPad. You need to get some and see for yourself!

These colors also remind me that cherry blossom time is coming, along with the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in Hood River, April 19-21. It’s the third year for this festival, organized by Yvonne Ellsworth of Lavender Sheep. There is an enticing market which is open to the public, and admission is free. There are also great classes. I learned to steek last year in Mary Scott Huff’s class. Now I’m scheduled to teach two classes there, an expanded version of Tink Drop Frog (fixing mistakes, and more tips and tricks), and the Thrill of the Thrum, which will be a guided tour through my Thrumbelina slipper pattern, as well as a history of thrumming, practice thrumming, and lots of ideas on how else to use it.

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I hope you can come to the festival! Please sign up for workshops; they can’t happen unless we have a minimum number of students for each one.

But now, just a little more winter before we get into full on spring. I went cross country skiing with friends on Sunday at Teacup Lake on Mt. Hood. It rained at the end, but it was a fun outing.

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My 30 year old skis still work fine. They don’t get out much. Yes, those are old school 3 pin trap bindings. Relics!

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There are even more ancient ones on display in the little lodge.

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And this gray jay/camp robber/whiskey jack was happy to share our lunch. It came with a bunch of friends!

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What are you knitting for spring?

Git ‘er done

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Crafty Moms Weekend was great; it’s always nice to hang out with friends. Our kids have grown up so we’re no longer hanging out at soccer games and school concerts together. That means we were overdue to have the chance to catch up with each other. And I got a lot of knitting done, even if I had to rip out 7452 stitches. That project is finished and blocked, and the pattern is nearly done. But it won’t be a self-published pattern, so it will be a while before I can show it to you. I loved knitting it, and hope you will too, eventually. It was great Downton Abbey knitting! Fairly simple, with just enough going on to keep it interesting.

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I started a sweater for me. This is the beginning of the Honey cardigan by Veera Välimäki. The pattern is pretty straightforward and nicely written. I just haven’t decided if I like the yarn yet. It’s 45⁰ North Worsted in Pinot Noir, 100% Superwash Merino specially dyed for Twisted, but discontinued. I bought it on sale last week, knowing that I wanted a worsted weight cardigan. The yarn is nice, but different. It’s a tightly twisted 3-ply, and it almost feels like knitting with cotton rather than wool. I will knit a little further and see what I think. I am happily cabling along without a cable needle. Do you use a cable needle? For these 2×2 cables, I don’t really need one. Check out the tutorials on the sidebar if you want to know how you can ditch your cable needle, too.

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One more sunset!

Life’s A(nother) Beach

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Not Hawaii; this time I’m at the Oregon Coast for our annual Crafty Moms Weekend. This is the 10th annual gathering. There are 12 of us this year; some of us are knitting, others are sewing, beading, making cocktails. It was glorious yesterday when we arrived, 60 and sunny.

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The sunset was gorgeous.

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And this morning’s view was equally lovely, through the window as I knit. I love the reflection of clouds on the wet sand.

I just got to the finishing on half a scarf, and figured out I should have cast on 2 more stitches than I did. I had 2 prototypes but I knit from the graph and didn’t check which one, because i thought they were the same width. Oops. 7452 stitches, to the frog pond…

But first! The winners of the Lantern Moon silk needle cases are…Sheila and Stephanie! I’ll email you to get your snail mail addys. I also want to give a shout out to Sheila for her beautiful Mergoum shawl design. So lovely!

Life’s a Beach…

Well, perhaps not, but I did have a stellar beach getaway last week. I went to Hawaii, the Big Island, with a group of friends to help celebrate a birthday. No people pix, since I don’t have permission to share them. What happens in Hawaii stays in Hawaii! But I did take my knitting. Gotta work, you know!

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It’s a shawl; can’t you tell? I love all the blues in the water and the white sand at Manini’owali Beach at Kua Bay. This is a good beach for wave jumping.

Snorkeling was great (and easy) at Kahalu’u Beach, and rock hopping was even better for pictures.

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This guy was there all three days; sea turtles come up to bask in the sun on the rocks.

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My favorite fish, the Moorish Idol. They’re quick; it’s hard to get a decent picture from above. My second favorite fish? The humuhumunukunukuapua’a, or triggerfish, which is the state fish of Hawaii. I just like being able to say it, but it’s good looking, too.

We went to Buddha’s Cup to see how Kona coffee is grown, and had a very informative tasting session there. The grounds (ha!) are beautiful, as is Milo, the resident parrot.

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This is a jade vine. It comes in this unusual blue-green, and also fire-engine red.

Lots of different birds to spot here!

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These are my favorite birds, the saffron finches.

We saw many beautiful sunsets.

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And howled at the full moon.

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I happened to wake up early the next morning (6:30) and saw the full moon setting over the water. It was magical. I was so pleased to get this picture, a 7 second exposure. Who knew my little point and shoot could do that? It was left on the “night portrait” setting for the birthday candles from the night before. When I realized it could do a long exposure, I set the timer for a 2 second delay so I didn’t have to touch the camera to push the shutter button.

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The view from our lanai looked out over the water, with crashing waves on the lava rock below. It’s high whale season. We saw whales every day, sometimes heads, sometimes backs, and my favorite, the tail flip. It’s hard to catch a picture, though. Can you see the whale spouting in this picture?

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And here’s a whale of a tale for you. It happened on our last day in Hawaii. That afternoon, we were on the lanai, watching whales a half mile offshore: flukes, breeching, turning…thrilling. We saw a kayaker getting closer and closer to the whales. We weren’t sure it was a good idea to be that close. And then…

A whale swamped the kayak! The kayaker disappeared for a bit. We waited for him to surface, unsure of what to do. Eventually his head popped up, a tiny speck in the sea. We could tell with our binoculars that he didn’t have a life jacket, just his floating paddle. He didn’t return to his kayak, though. We knew that he couldn’t swim to shore where we were, because it was all rocks and crashing waves. He was trying to swim back to the marina, which is maybe a mile or more  away. We called 911, and they asked us to keep an eye on him while they sent a boat and had 2 helicopters on standby.

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Before 911 arrived, a small tour boat (zodiac) happened by and he waved them down. Can you see him in the picture above? His head is a tiny black speck in the big ocean, on  the same level as the boat, but 1/3 from the right edge of the picture. Zoom in! They picked him up and transferred him to the rescue skiff that showed up a few moments later. He looked happy to be rescued. The skiff took him back to get his kayak, because he wanted to bring it in, so apparently he was ok.

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Tour boat on left, rescue skiff at center, and kayak is just to the right of the skiff.

We ran into some firefighters at the grocery store later and got the scoop from them. The kayak was broken. The kayaker had some minor scrapes on his arm from the broken kayak, but nothing too serious. He probably could have made it back swimming, eventually, but it was good that we called. It’s a good idea to stay away from the whales, and maybe smarter to stay with the kayak to avoid SHARKS! (We hadn’t even thought about sharks. Yikes.) And apparently no one wears life vests here (except me).

We were glad to see the kayaker live to see another adventure. 60 years old; I wonder how many of his nine lives he’s used so far? We think we should go back every year to monitor the whales and the kayakers!