"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Midnight Madness

I'm sure you've all heard about the far north's long daylight hours.   Those of us who live here think it's normal; tourists have trouble sleeping.   It does tend to mess with one's circadian rhythm.

But, back to normal.  Coming back from cleaning up litter late late night, I noticed all the lakes along the way were dead calm.   So was Tern Lake.

About 11 PM

I loaded the kayak in the back of the truck, grabbed my PFD, and drove back to the lake.

Sunset in full bloom.   Though the sun is actually behind a mountain, the light still hits the tallest mountain tops around.

The other direction, looking west towards Kenai and Cook Inlet.

The lake was so calm, dandelion/willow/whatever fluff floated on the surface.

I used all the zoom capability my camera had to capture the loon family and ascertain they have two chicks.   In response, the camera over-compensated the exposure, making this photo much lighter than real light.

I checked out one of the three beaver lodges in the lake and saw no sign of activity.   I think trappers have taken all the beavers because I haven't seen any signs of beavers for three summers now.   Darned shame.   Used to love watching them.   The trappers left no beavers to procreate here.

Twenty-five minutes to midnight, right.   Actually no.   It's really twenty-five minutes to ten PM.

 What's that, you ask?

Here's the story:

Once upon a time, until 1983, Alaska had five time zones.   I distinctly recall  the East Coast being six hours ahead of us in Anchorage.

Here's a quote from the Alaska State Library:

Alaska Time Zone history

On October 30, 1983, when daylight time reverted to standard time, Alaska changed from four time zones to two time zones. Before the change, Alaska's time zones were:

Pacific time (southeastern Alaska)
Yukon time (Yakutat)
Alaska time (from just east of Cold Bay and west of Yakutat northward, including Nome)
Bering time (the north coast of Alaska and the Aleutian chain)
The change was done to facilitate doing business in Alaska, improve communications and unify residents.

This change adopted the two current time zones: Alaska Time for the bulk of the state, and Hawaii/Aleutian Time for the Aleutian Island chain.

Another interesting historical note on this changeover can be found in the archives of the Alaska Science Forum for March 25, 1983, which notes that there were at one time five time zones in use in the state (including Pacific time in some areas of Southeast Alaska)...

All that bold face type is the quote.  

 Did you catch that "unify residents"?    The main driver for cutting Alaska down to two time zones--Alaska Standard Time (and Alaska Daylight Time) and Hawaii-Aleutian Time (Hawaii does not go on Daylight saving time) was political.    Never mind that Alaska is as wide as the Lower 48 contiguous states that span four time zones, we were reduced to two zones.

Where I live, which was Alaska Time (the slice that included Anchorage, Fairbanks, etc.), we were moved an hour ahead.   Daylight saving time moved us another hour ahead.

It did make conducting business easier, both with Washington DC and Juneau, the state capital.  And therein lies the "unite residents" charade.   Underneath all the other stuff about how much better it would be to have Alaska closer in time to the rest of the US were the bitterly-fought battles to move the capital from Juneau closer to the main population center--Anchorage or one of its suburbs.

Wags claimed we could keep a better  eye on our legislators, maybe keep some of them out of jail.   No, probably not.  It would just make it easier to hide their nefarious shenanigans in a larger city.

This devil took offense at me coming too close to its nest and launched an attack.   The launched material landed on the back of my hand and, not thinking to take the photo shot of the year along with a perfect launch strike, I dipped my hand in the lake to rinse it off.   Darn.

Daylight saving time knocks us an hour ahead.   So here we are,  two hours off our geological time zone.   High noon is at 2 PM and midnight arrives at 2 AM.   I would not have gone kayaking at 2 AM because it was fairly dark.   Not totally, though.   Kayaking would have been possible.

Four AM ADT was another matter.  It was daylight!

Whatever.  I'll still go kayaking at night in Alaska


  1. I don't do well with time changes due to time zones. Thus, my head is spinning after reading your post. I'm just glad you do cool things like kayaking when the conditions are perfect, no matter what time it is. It has to be very relaxing to be on the water like you were, surrounded by the awesome Alaskan scenery. What about those loons? They're an beautiful sight as well.

  2. THANK YOU FOR A FUN AND INTERESTING POST. That-being-said .. your wrote between photos 1 and 2 above .. " .. I grabbed my PFD .. " .. that confuses me .. you know that those of us living here think that the PFD is the Permanent Fund Dividend. What-is-it I am missing? Smiles from Cap ..

  3. I have NEVER heard of this acronym! I can NOT speak for your generation .. BUT .. those of my generation .. called these floatation (flotation) devices Life Jackets. Is this term .. Life Jacket .. no longer a politically-correct-term? Will my using it here cause an uproar? Smiles .. THANKS FOR ENLIGHTENING ME .. Cap ..

    1. http://www.defender.com/category.jsp?path=-1|135&id=2290066

    2. Everything has to be an acronym these days. And your'e scarcely five years older than me. ;o