Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa Claus Charged With Benefice

Is this Santa's Church in Arctic Village?
by Robert L. Gisel

 An investigative team is in Alaska trying to track down Santa Claus, to get some hard answers from the internationally renown world traveler and philanthropist, who appears to be in hot water.

 It has been determined Mr. Claus, who also uses the aliases Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas and Kris Kringle, is the single most sought individual for answers to the real concerns of peoples today. It is yet to be decided whether he has been answering the questions or causing their origination. For this reason he has been accused by overzealous Prosecuting Attorney Ebenezer Scrooge of deceitful manipulation of information to children of the world, insider trading called gifting, and discretionary favoritism.

 The Prosecutor further alleges he has evidence of a Santa's List with naughty and nice designations. Scrouge claims that on the charge of benefice alone, if found guilty, Santa could be looking at hard time for 6 billion counts of a 100 years.

 The intensity of the widespread search to find the fugitive Santa Claus is so much more than previous years there has been a record high disrespect to the pretend Santa's in the malls of the world. This has resulted in unprecedented reports and more than the usual number of complaints filed for pulled beards and exploratory punches to the stomach pillows.

 Rumor has it that a log cabin church in Arctic Village in the Brooks Range is being staked out for the possible appearance of the famed woolen-garbed jet setter. The sagging roof is believed to be the indication of repeated landing of a reindeer sleigh. Special hoards of eggnog and cookies were flown in for a sting operation to attempt to snare the suspect.

 Some of the burning questions flooding in to his usual hideout in North Pole, Alaska, which been of highest interest are these:

-- What effect will today's economy have on Santa's deliveries this year?
-- Is good will and giving as important as it used to be?
-- Has joy to the world lost its meaning?
-- Will the loss of value in the world's currencies falsely inflate the value of loving friendships?

 In spite of satellite surveillance and drone technologies Santa has miraculously managed to fly under the radar and escape detection. Numerous Elves have been pulled in for questioning as to Santa's whereabouts but no data is forthcoming.

 Mrs. Claus is quoted as saying "Santa is such a quizitive youngster, there's no telling where he and the Elves are playing today." As the Prosecutor says, "This Claus fellow has been illegally crossing borders, transporting goods with no customs checks, or any regard for hallowed authority. We have got to crack down on this beneficious giving before people start getting the idea it is possible to live free and be happy."

 The reward of great satisfaction is being offered to any verified leads on Santa's whereabouts. Just leave the data in the comments below.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Clever Whales and Clever Tour Guides

 by Robert L. Gisel

 As I mentioned in my earlier post Close Up Whale Watching, the bubble net is a trick used by groups of whales to round up their very own smorgasbord. One particular Alaskan company, Alaska Passages Adventure Cruises takes advantage of this.

 You have to come to Southeast Alaska for the event as it is one of the few locations in the world where you can see this phenomena of the humpback whale. Alaska Passages hails out of Petersburg.

 Whales work together as a team activity to create the feast. Freaking out a herring school with an encircling "curtain" of air bubbles, the humpback causes the herring to come together in a tight ball. One, or several whales, creates the bubble net, while others swim below to drive the herring up to the surface, then others yet herd the fish into the bubble net by vocalizing. All together they sweep upward through the center scooping mouthfuls of herring, thousands at a time.

 It is most usually multiple whales, but single humpbacks have been seen feeding with the bubble net technique. When you come to think about it, it is a very ingenuous method.

 In a South Pacific nation the native fishermen would float slats of wood on the surface casting shadows through the water. Creating the appearance of solid bars this way, fish were driven into the shallows where they could be netted. Perhaps they learned this from the intelligent whales.

 It is obviously a very practiced trick. In this video you can see the herring ball before the whales breach together into it. Here is another video that shows the tightening circle of the bubbles around the herring ball.

 Alaska Passages Adventure Cruises is a private yacht that is familiar with this and home in on the group breaching activity for an exciting tourist adventure. Here they have posted their explanation of how it works. They know of the trick and look for it.

 It would be bad business to promote whale watching and not see any whales, but Alaska Passages is clever about this. They utilize a radio network of fishing boats, other whale watching tours, aircraft, and their knowledgeable experience to locate whales. They have seen groups as many as 25 whales strong breaching in mass. That is really delivering the money's worth.

 It must be the massive size of these wild mammals that is such a high interest item. Alaska Passages don't only engage in whale watching, though. They are aware of the other high interest items, fishing, wildlife, glacier touring, and kayaking, or whatever else you might come up with. It is a flexible and cozy private cruise, 6 persons maximum.

 Please note, when it comes to whale watching, close to, not in the middle of, a bubble net is most recommended.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Exposure Alaska -- Active Tours

by Robert L. Gisel

Now this is what I have been talking about -- swing a paddle, left an ice pick, extreme Alaska, go anywhere the tour boat isn't. The tour guide company Exposure Alaska has a trip for everyone, and if you don't see it in their itinerary then they will help you make one up.

The owners say about the business "After living, working and traveling around the world, we've made Alaska our home because there's really no place else on earth quite like it." (Emphasis mine.) This is what prompted me to write a book about Alaska, to start the blog Once An Alaskan, and to help promote tourism for people who really want to reach out to the wilds of Alaska.

To stand and look from the deck of a cruise liner you will see memorable scenerama. When you spend some time paddling with whales in the salt water mist, tossing down the rapids, backpacking through remote woods, or mounting the glacier, this is live experience which will impact you even more with its rich experience.  "Sure you might get a little tired and wet, but the rewards will be well worth it."
You can see I am a firm believer in activities that put one hands on with the wilds of Alaska, so I can relate to the guiding services provided by Exposure Alaska.

This site came up on a Google search for a winter dog sled tour but I didn't find this on their site. The winter tours button went to a "page cannot be found", however. The principles Don and Tina document their having worked at the South Pole so this would very likely include dog sledding experience, but I'm stretching. Perhaps they will fill me in when I can get my cell phone back from where I left it.