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The Fleet is in the Harbor, for now.

February 12, 2010

Oregon coast has one of the most unusual ports in the world.  The port is one of about 8 in the world which does not have harbor.  A series of cranes lift the boats out of the water, and place them on rolling carts, where they are parked in rows.  The majority of these boats are local Dungarees crab fisherman.  The local crab season starts on Dec 1st, after the fall molt season happens.  The current crab season is one of the best in decades, as the ocean has gone through a cycle of bad years lately.  What ever the real cause is, locals dont mind.  We have world class sea food available year around.  Salmon, Steelhead, Cod, Snapper, Crabs, Abalone and Albacore tuna to name just a few of the seasonal catches.

Each year, as Winter changes into Spring, the wild coast of Oregon continues to show why its one of the most beautiful but dangerous coasts in the World.  The wind blows in off of the Pacific ocean, waves which have not ran into anything since Japan thousand miles away, start to batter the local coast line with a force few people realize.  Wind gusts of 75mph are common, with storms that regularly have gusts that are over 100 mph.  In the picture below, the wreckage of the cottoneva.  A steam schooner, which ran ashore at Port Orford in 1937 during a wind storm with 75 mph gusts.  All that remains now of the wreckage is the propeller. The coast line between Port Orford and Bandon has had hundreds of wrecks in the last few hundred years.

One of the interesting features about Port Orford, besides that there is no Harbor, is that you can drive out onto the docks, and purchase live crab just off the boats for almost nothing.  We regularly have Surf & Turf BBQ’s, with live crab tossed into the boiler, and Beef Ribs slow cooked all day.

Port Orford is the location where SF gets its crabs for fisherman’s wharf.  The crabs are caught, processed, and shipped out of here alive, in 18 wheelers during season.  Its the type of place where you don’t realize just how special it is, until you sit down and try to figure out another location with as many unique features to enjoy.

If you are an outdoors type person, you might want to consider some of the camping, stream fly fishing, river boat fishing, ocean bottom fishing that is available, and we haven’t even started in on the game available hunt locally, like Bear, Cougar, Elk, Deer, Turkey, to name a few.

So the next time you feel like the city life is impacting your experience with mother nature, consider visiting the Oregon Wild Coast, where nature is on display every day, and you have no idea what tomorrow holds for weather.

The Gear Is Here!!! let the weather improve.

February 11, 2010

“Well all the major and minor gear I ordered for this season’s version of camping with city rednecks in the woods has arrived: I realize now that as soon as we leave for camp I will be screaming at myself for all of the shit I managed to leave behind. I have no doubt my iPhone — while not able to access service at camp — will in fact be recording all of my failed attempts to remember the necessary.”

The new Nikon camera and VHF radios have arrived, and I had a friend make a run to pick up a spotting scope and tripod from a store with a lost leader sale, so I can switch over the new camera and record some family fishing memories in HD.  This is going to be fun.  We have a lot of new equipment, and a desire to use it.

The girls have been testing out our new tents and sleeping bags, via indoor camping in our basement last weekend.  If chase was not sick, I am pretty sure that her and Sasha would be living in the tent, in front of the game TV.

I need to update the list of products we ware reviewing, however I have been waiting until the new Nikon had arrived, and it could be used to document the new equipment.  So, my posting should increasing going forward, as I update the inventory of new hardware toys.

I am so salivating at the chance to move into the tents, and fire up the camp stove, and cook up some trout the girls caught before breakfast…yes, I said cook up some trout.  I never said I would eat it… Shesh…

Let there be LED vs Xeon LIGHT…

February 6, 2010

Its been years since I bought a new flashlight.  During this time, there has been a revolution in flash light technology.  So, with that as the mandate, I have started to order a series of different lights, to start a long term review on.  I picked up a fair number of the small cheap multi LED to test.

These are all cheap to inexpensive.  Once I have a base line for this level of quality, I will purchase some of the new technology high end combat flashlights. So for now, the new flashlights are as follows

1)  9 led mini flashlight powered by 3xAAA

2) 8 LED + 1 Laser mini flashlight powered by 3xAAA

3) 95 LED metal full size Flashlight powered by 3xD

4) 10 Million candle Kawasaki mega flashlight

The Kawasaki 10 million candle power flashlight is a bit of over kill, however, it was reasonably priced, so it will provide a great base line of dollars for brightness, when I get around to comparing the top of the line flashlights later.

I was experimenting last night with the flashlights.  The 95 LED provides a great spot light anywhere in the backyard, from my bedroom deck area.  However, its nothing compared to the 10MM light, which was basically “Noon” anywhere it was aimed.  It is a truly amazing amount of light being projected in one place.  I would have to say, that its a real weapon, at night, if used unexpectedly. It is using an 80 watt halogen bulb.

Endless Rain

February 5, 2010

Well the biblical rains are here.  Yes I realize that the Oregon Coast gets 80+inches of rain per year, and that you basically have to live in places like Hawaii to get more rain then that in the US.  Yes I am sure there are a few locations that manage to be drowned in more natural sky falling, but at 80+ inches average per year, this area is honestly wet.

Normally I don’t mind, as we get bursts of amazing sunny weather in the middle of winter periods.  Last year had a couple of weeks of a weather inversion where it was in the 70’s while 50 miles away it was below freezing for a couple of weeks.  Not happening this year.

I say this as we had measurable rain in 27 out of 31 days in January, and so far all of February, at least at my place. I say this, the largest El Nino in 12 years or so has its way with the near term weather patterns.

Our winter temps allow year around camping if you don’t count wind or rain storms.  We don’t get snow storms here.  Its more like Miami then most other places in that regard.  We have snow in the hills above harbor, but in town at sea level, snow is a frozen mist that melts.

Our winter weather is amazingly calm from a temp swing point of view.  We are basically 45-55 all winter long. It is up to the storm patterns, and the cycle of rain vs storms vs sunny days…

Well, normal is out the window… The El Nino here, which means we have steady rain for weeks to months while the rest of the US is stuck in snow. I am unable to take my daughters camping when we have 65 mph gusts at our tent camp about 10 miles from home. They are still grinding up stumps and fallen logs from the last burst of 70+ mph winds that hit camp.

I guess it could be worse.  I could be stuck in DC with a blow hard in charge of my visit.

Yurts in the Woods

February 4, 2010

I am slowly growing used to the idea of Yurts.  I don’t know why I fight the concept so much, when I have no issue spending months of my life inside of a 7×7 dome tent, when I was a firefighter, but I have.  So, where we live now, Yurts are a viable way to live or even work.  My wife has a friend who works out of a personal office setup inside of a Yurt.

Locally, they are rented in the same context of cabins, or motel rooms.  In fact, one enterprising land lord, is renting Yurts to people to live in on the coast full time.  As their home.  So, I guess I will have to get used to canvas tent structures being viable solution to living in the local wilderness.

This is all prelude to a business opportunity I am researching locally.  The single best solution for the project appears to be a small camp made up of yurts.  It gives us the ability to move camp around if necessary, so while the project still has fixed costs, those costs are not fixed to one location.

What we like about the solution is that since we have access to a significant number of wilderness acres for our exclusive hunting  & fishing business, we wont always want to have camp in the same place.  A group of say 10 yurts, allows us to spread out camp in a location where there is no signs of man kind.  We can use battery power to run LED lighting, giving camp a wilderness feel, while still having modern lighting.

I like the idea, from the point of view, we can launch the project before our camp is built.  Ie we can start to market the guided services we provide, and build the basic camp this summer in a quick period of time.  A camp made up of log cabins would take a significant lead time before they are ready for living in.

So, what say ye, would you be put off by a hunting guide that used yurts in the woods for camp?

Pondering the Guided Game

February 2, 2010

I live in an area where sportsmen travel thousands of miles to visit, to fish for trophy King Salmons, or our Winter Steelhead fish.  The mighty Rogue River is world famous because it is both one of the largest and healthiest rivers in the Pacific coast.  Locally, the fish guides make as much as $500 per day, to provide fishing services to our visiting sportsmen.

In fact, during our prime season, you can fish for a trophy Chinook and find your line fouled with a Coho or early Steelhead.  If you have limited out early, and the ocean is calm enough to cross the bar, some of the best best bottom fishing is available just off shore in the Gold Beach Reef.  Linkcod, Snapper, or even Albacore Tuna at times.

After a few days of this, you would think our are had used up its list of trophy specimans to catch, but in reality, there is the rest of the land area, which happens to be over ran with herds of trophy elk.  Herds of the critters.  This last fall, a local hunter shot a black bear on the edge of town.  It was bear season he got his while leaving town.  I am not even talking about the deer, because around here, they are like flees on a dog.  Pretty common sight.

I am not being sarcastic here, for example, there is a herd that lives in town and walks back and forth cross highway 101 near the stop lights.  It appears they are going from a park in town, to an area where they can get water in a different part of town.  Locally, I have a small herd living in the trees next to my house.  There used to be a herd of elk that grazed next door, until a house was built there.

So basically, it dawns on me, that I am living in a sportsmans dream.  Hunting or Fishing available 52 weeks a year… Plus crabbing from dry land, for some of the sweetest crabs on the planet.  It almost makes you want to find a nice small niche of one of the major creeks or bends in the Rogue, and open a Hunting & Fishing Lodge.

Everyday, your doing something with mother nature, and you doing it with people who are paying you seriously good money, to join you for that day.  What they consider a highlight of their life, is just a day in our local pardise. So, is it something to do? or said another way, should the perfect location be ruined by becoming a job?

HD Movies via a Real Camera

January 31, 2010

I was once really into taking pictures.  It was an artistic outlet that went away, as I narrowed down outlets in life.  I still have my SLR 35 MM cameras from yesteryear. I have not checked lately but does anyone still sell 35 mm film? Seriously?

So, when it dawned on me that I had purchased my last 3 digital cameras saying someday I am going to man up and get a real one, it was time to do so.  I took a quick inventory of my old hardware and saw it was a bunch of old Canon and Pentex stuff from the late 80’s.

Clearly, it was time to start over and embrace this thing called the 21 st century.  Ya ya, you are laughing at me, but be honest, how much old crap do you still have in the  basement of your life, that you havent used in a decade or two?

Accepting, that it is time to buy my first actual DSLR, I started shopping online, like a virgin at the local wedding dress factory.  Its true, I have not bought a real camera in decades.  I am way over due.  I am feeling empowered here when it hits me.  I honestly dont know diddly about digital cameras of today.

Ugh, what to do… seek directions? I am obviously not well known for this trait historically speaking. So, I do some deep thinking, and remember that one of my mentors, happens to be a semi famous photographer if your into weird bugs.

End result, he talks me out of my first idea of a camera and suggests instead the Nikon D5000 with its built in HD movie mode.  Which sounds absolutely perfect for the little movies I want to record of my Daughters Killing fish… unlike their Dad has lately, ok lets be honest, since I was basically their age.  I have no idea what kind of curse I caused, but its been decades now since I was able to catch fish like the neighbors do.

Stay tuned for future HD movies of girl fisherwoman, I hope.

DAD