First North for the holidays, then South to the Ice

Whales spouting in the bay in Sitka, Alaska

Hola Holiday Hopefuls,

It’s been a pleasant fall in Colorado, with plenty of sunshine for pickleball and hiking. Despite all that, Lynn was drawn back to Alaska, where she found a beautiful place to rent on the water in the town of Sitka. The morning whale spouts look like a train choo-chooing in the bay, and a curious sea lion often swims up to the deck. I paid a visit in October and have to admit it’s a pretty spell binding place. We hiked, biked and she demonstrated the awe inspiring sport of paragliding off a local ridge for me one afternoon.

I returned to Colorado, and Lynn joined me for a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend with friends in Steamboat Springs. The cross country skiing was good and the outdoor hot springs felt glorious for sore muscles afterwards.

A few weeks ago I got to celebrate Lauren’s 25th birthday in Florida,and she’s on her final semester to get her MBA in April. Her non profit Mind and Melody (www.mindandmelody.org) has thrived since getting the advice and guidance of mentors, and she scored a first place $10K prize from a Florida Shark Tank like contest, and another $10K grant from a bridge club foundation a few weeks later. She’ll soon start drawing a full time salary and continue to work with her organization after graduation to support herself which is an amazing accomplishment.

December has flown by and after one more week of work it’s on to the holidays. I’m heading up to Sitka for some celebrating with Lynn, then home for a few days to repack and head south to return to work in Antarctica. Lynn secured a contract for Ascension Island, a tropical oasis in the middle of the Atlantic for a few months, so she’ll probably have a better tan than mine when we get together again in April.

Hope your days get longer soon and you have some family time to enjoy the season.

Cheers,

Traveling Bob

Sea lions crowded on a buoy

The best whale watching is in a kayak

Whales and birds after feasting on krill

Lynn lays out her paraglider on a hillside

A good tug and the wing is airborne

A run down the hill and she’s flying!

Wishful thinking to make flying easier

Cross country skiing on Rabbit Ears Pass

Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Lauren is all smiles with a first place finish

Ice Bound Bob

Just when it looks like summer is approaching I’ve taken a job that will erase any thoughts of warm weather for a while. In mid August, I’ll fly south- as south as you can go, to be the dentist at McMurdo research station in Antarctica for six months. I’ll be taking care of the dental needs of the researchers and the support personal that number close to 1000 in the summer months when the sun never sets and the ice only melts briefly. I first learned about the job 14 years ago when I did some research about the frozen continent and briefly visited the outer edges on an eco-tour aboard an ice breaker with my buddy, Steve. I promised Pat I wouldn’t apply to work there until Lauren was in college, and the time was right so I applied and was picked! So I’ve got a little over two months to get my act together and make it all happen. The plan is to work there for the summer season and when I come out in mid February to meet Pat in New Zealand and find a warm beach for a while to thaw out. I’m hoping to set up a blog before too long and write and post pictures and would love to hear from you about news from your corner of the world.

In more local news, Pat and I have been enjoying some time together between me hanging out with her in San Francisco last weekend for one of her Bosch business meetings, and then in Colorado this weekend before she heads back to FL. I also biked with some friends on the Air Force Academy last Wednesday to see the Thunderbirds perform their air show for graduation and Obama, and we only got the attention of the secret service once when we started to hike the hill overlooking the stadium and were politely told to come back down before the snipers got itchy fingers. I camped a few days at John Martin Reservoir before Pat arrived this Memorial weekend, and had some wild windsurfing in 30-50 mph winds that blew for 48 hours while my buddies and I had a nice beach to ourselves along the shoreline. Lauren’s busy planning her first parentless European trip with her boyfriend next month and is transferring to an honors college in the fall to study neuroscience, so it’s 
          Hope your weekend was warm and relaxing.

          Cheers,

       Ice bound Bob

Pat (second from right) biking with friends in California

Thunderbirds and the AFA

Note the plane on top is upside down!