I missed it the last two years. We HAD Whalefest for the last two years, but it was virtual, on zoom. We got great lectures at the science symposium that is always the center of Whalefest, but we missed the … Continue reading Sitka Whalefest. It’s Back!
An Arctic air mass sits over Southeast Alaska. It is cold, colder than usual in November. It is acting like late December or January. If I lived on the inside, closer to the mainland, I could have horrific winds as … Continue reading Whalefest Cruise, 2022.
The fall colors in a hardwood forest take me back decades. While we were primarily in New Jersey to enjoy being with family I took some time to explore places of memory. We started our drive on Paramus Road going … Continue reading Hardwood Fall
October 18, Alaska Day, marks the anniversary of the transfer of Alaska’s sovereignty from Russia to America. The problem is that sovereignty was not Russia’s to transfer. The land was owned for thousands of years by indigenous people ranging from … Continue reading Reconciliation Day 2022
The joke in Sitka is that the Russians did not want to spend another rainy October in Sitka so sold it to the Americans and pulled out on October 18, 1867. That’s why we celebrate Alaska Day. Of course, the … Continue reading Alaska Day Parade 2022 (more pics)
Halloween comes twice for kids in Sitka. The preview is on Alaska Day. Kids line the parade route with their sacks open, ready to catch candy thrown by the different marching groups. Sometimes the candy catch can seem a bit … Continue reading Halloween in Disguise (Alaska Day, 2022)
Does anyone know how bagpipes became an integral part of Sitka’s Alaska Day celebration? I don’t, but my first Alaska Day in Sitka featured bagpipes from firefighters somewhere in Washington State. Currently it is the Seattle Firefighters who come to … Continue reading Bagpipes and Cool Patches
October is a good month to leave Southeast Alaska. It rains all the time, at least it used to. The last couple of years we have had some surprisingly good weather in October, like this year. But the joke is … Continue reading Waiting For Alaska Day
I have never had a vacation where I could look out from my cabin and see my house across the bay. But that’s what happened this weekend. Living at my house is already kind of like being on vacation. My … Continue reading A Vacation in Plain Sight
Last night I didn’t sleep well. I wasn’t restless, I didn’t toss and turn. I lay still in thought, contemplation, and prayer. Mikhail Gorbachev is dead. My Albanian friend Arben Kallamata posted on Facebook (Awkwardly translated from Albanian by Facebook): … Continue reading Gorbi
Yesterday I went to Silver Bay and saw some change in color of the ground cover and the fireweed in it’s final burst of rebirth. (see the post before this one.) I thought that if I went up to the … Continue reading Looking for Fall
Today Jamestown Bay was fogbound for most of the day as was most of Sitka to the seaward. I got in the car and drove into Silver Bay, a long fjord that cuts into the island’s mountains. When I got … Continue reading Fogbound Seaward but in Silver Bay…
It wasn’t raining. In mid August that’s a good thing if you are going out on a wildlife cruise. The last week has had the feeling of autumn, as the fireweed tops out and the leaves on the ground bush … Continue reading Late Summer Break
August 9, 2022 Yesterday and today are big cruise ship days in Sitka. When more than 5,000 visitors are scheduled, the city closes Lincoln St. to cars and trucks and opens it for tourists. At the beginning of the season, … Continue reading Big Ship Day!
Two hundred and forty-six ago a resolution written by Thomas Jefferson and moved by John Adams passed the Continental Congress. It read, in part: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are … Continue reading Independence Day 2022
The aurora started on April 8, a green glow behind the clouds. On April 9 we had a full blown Magnetic Storm firing solar particles into the atmosphere and creating a beautiful Aurora. Continue reading Magnetic Storm Warnings
The “Blessing of the Fleet” is one of those small town Sitka rituals that mark our seasons. It is on Palm Sunday, a time to stop and remember all of those who our community has lost during the past year, … Continue reading Blessing of the Fleet, 2022
Joy and comfort comes from small things. They can bring flashbacks, memories of a different place and time. Like the flashbacks triggered by a small luxury, a bar of soap. I lived in a shipping container when I worked in … Continue reading A Bar of Soap
There are two pages to this PDF. To see the second, which is a group of current family pictures, please move your curser over the foot of the letter and you can navigate to the second page. Since the collage … Continue reading 2021 McClear Family Christmas Letter
When we lived in Central Europe and the Balkans, we were Christmas Market regulars. We have a collection of Gluhwein (glow wine) mugs to prove it. These gatherings featured hand-made crafts, often the craftsmen and women were on site, glass … Continue reading A Virtual Tour of Europe’s Christmas Markets.
This is one of those “milestone” birthdays. 75. And I’m happy to still be here during this second year of the pandemic. Breakthrough COVID caught me. It landed me in the hospital but couldn’t hold me. I’m still hare and … Continue reading 3 Memorable Birthdays, Thoughts on Turning 75
An easy day trip from Baku takes you to the Absheron Peninsula. Here you will see the shrine of Mir Movsum Aga, a mausoleum for a holy man and a favorite burial ground for Baku’s elite. You will also find … Continue reading The Absheron Peninsula.
Soviet Town is one of the four cities in Baku, the others are Boomtown, the fantasy Art Nouveau town of the oil barons built between 1880 and the Soviet Revolution, Old Town, the traditional Silk Road caravan transshipment city, (It … Continue reading Baku’s Soviet Town
Baku’s Boomtown was built by the oil barons when the 19th century turned to the 20th. It is a fantasy land of Art Nouveau with Arab, and Persian touches. To read my 2004 letter from Baku, which has more information, … Continue reading Boomtown Baku