Friday, September 29, 2006

Counting fish

英吾だけ‐すみません。昨日National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration(米国海洋大気庁)に対して河でボランティアとして鱒を数えた。

A friend told me of an interesting opportunity for yesterday. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration was doing their annual survey of fish in a stream at the Soquel Demonstration Forest, an area I ride at from time to time, and they were looking for volunteers to help. It would require walking around in the stream and catching all the fish there, which reminded me of my childhood when we lived next to a pond and I spent much time catching fish, frogs, snakes, and generally getting as dirty as possible. I didn't have anything planned yesterday, so decided to join in.

It was interesting. The stream has steelhead trout in it, which are a type of trout that live in the ocean, but come back to the stream to breed (much like salmon). There are often also some other fish, such as lamprey eels, sculpin, suckers, etc., but all we caught were trout. 304 of them in a 100 yard stretch, to be exact.

I think this is done because of the steelhead. They are a threatened species. I think the streams in this area of California used to all carry trout and salmon, but now only a few do. There has been too much development and habitat destruction.

The catching method was interesting. We placed nets above and below the area to be measured, then worked our way up from bottom to top. The leader used a machine that looked like a metal detector. It used electricity to stun the fish for a few seconds, while the rest of us quickly netted the stunned fish.

Most of the fish were small, between 50 and 125 mm long (2 to 5 inches). We did catch one very large guy who seems to have decided to reside in this stream rather than migrate to the ocean.

The fish were all recorded, the larger ones tagged, and then released.

Definitely a fun and educational way to spend a day.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wildlife / 野生生物

Yesterday, I went for a kayak trip with some friends to Drake's Estero on Point Reyes. I had heard about this area how much wildlife there is there, but had not had a chance to paddle there yet.
昨日友達とポイント・レイエスのDrake's Esteroへカヤックに乗りに行った。その所は野生生物がいるそうだ、けど行ったことがない。

And now that I have been there, I am glad that I did go. We saw a lot of wildlife, including some that I normally only see in zoos or aquariums. Can you name what is in the pictures below:

Click on the picture to see picture in full size.

We loaded up my car a lot to get there. It wad good to see that I can fit 3 boats on the roof of the car.

Oh, what are the pictures of? The first picture is of a Leopard Shark. We saw quite a few of these in the shallow water. They looked to be about 3 feet long.

The second is of a Harbor Seal looking at us. These guys are very curious, and are always checking to see what we are doing.

The third picture is of a Ray. They were in the shallow water in the same area as the leopard sharks.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

San Francisco Sightseeing Advice - Lombard Street

Lombard Street (#1 on the map below) in San Francisco is a must visit for anyone. It is claimed to be the twistiest street in San Francisco.

But, because it is so popular, it is also often very crowded. If you do drive the road, I have some advice on how to get there without getting stuck in traffic jams.

The obvious route is to come straight up Lombard Street from Van Ness (#2 on map). But this route gets backed up, due to the stop signs at each intersection, so can be very slow.
Van Ness StreetからLombard Street(#2)に上るのは当り前だ。でも止まれのサインがあるので、とても遅い。

Many people try to come up Hyde Street from Fisherman's Wharf (#3 on the map). But you are not allowed to make a left onto Lombard, so this route does not work.

The best solution is to come from the other direction (#4 on the map). If you are coming from the direction of the Golden Gate Bridge, take Lombard to Van Ness, and make a right on Van Ness. Go two blocks and make a left on Filbert Street. Take this 3 blocks to Hyde, where you will make a left. Then 2 blocks and a right onto Lombard. This route usually gets you around all the traffic.
一番いい道はHyde Streetの他の針路だ。ゴールデンゲート海峡から来れば、Lombard Streetに行って、Van Nessで右へ曲がって。2番目の信号のFilbert Streetで左へ曲がって、3番の信号へ行って。Hyde Streetで左へ曲がって、2番の角(右)はLombard Streetだ。この道は雑沓がないんだよ。

Truthfully, while you are driving, you should also try driving down Filbert Street from Hyde to Leavansworth (#5 on the map). Lombard covers this steep hill by putting in switchbacks. Filbert does it by going straight down the hill.
実はFilbert Streetの岡も行ったほうがいいよ。Hyde StreetからLeavansworth Streetまでだ。Lombard Streetはアピンカーブがある、けどFilbertは真っすぐ急な坂を下る。


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tipping / チップ

Japanese is written after the English. 英語の後に少し日本語がある。

There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tipping. It talks about how some are trying to get restaurants to automatically add a 20% tip on to bills. I think this if going too far.

Actually I don't like tipping at all. Back when tipping was more of something you do to show appreciation for excellent service, it probably did a lot to motive the staff. But now that tips are something that is expected, it does nothing to motive workers to provide better service. So what are we paying a tip for?

Instead, it just hides the price of what you are buying. If you order $100 worth of food and drink, it actually costs about $130 after tax and tip are added.

I like Asia better, where tipping is not the norm. You know the price you will have to pay right up front without having to calculate anything. And the service provided is always very high anyway.

I did give a tip to a taxi driver in Korea once. It was a nominal amount, as compared to the States - maybe a dollar or two. This taxi driver was working on a national holiday, so I wanted to show my appreciation. I used my rudimentary Korean language skills to explain this.




Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How much stuff fits in a kayak?

We went kayak camping again last weekend. This time, we went to Spicer Reservoir, near Bear Valley.
先週末Bear Valleyという町の近くにSpicer Reservoirでカヤックキャンピングした。

After we arrived at our campground, I decided to lay out everything that I had carried in my boat to see how much stuff it was. As you can see in the picture, the boats can carry a decent amount of stuff. But the shape of the storage are is a bit weird - as it is the ends of the boats. It is more like a cone in shape than a box. So smaller items which you can fill the little gaps with are much easier to carry.

We were able to camp right on the reservoir, which was nice. It was on a bay off the main reservoir, so was protected from wind.

We did see a large bird of prey. I showed the picture to a friend, and they said it is likely an osprey. The reservoir has had its surface level raised at some point in the past few years, and now there are a lot of trees that are partially submerged. These trees died, but many are still standing. This bird had set up a nest in one of these trees in the middle of the reservoir.
猛禽を見た。友達を聞いて、「ミサゴだろう」と言った。鳥之巣 にある木は湖の中心にあった。沢山部分的に浸水している木があった。湖水位は上げただろう。