On our most recent trip to Orcas, we had an unusual experience during the ferry crossing to the islands. The crew announced that there would be a rescue boat drill and that we weren’t to worry or do anything. The ferry came to a halt in the open water and the crew manned up the RIB. Fortunately, the RIB they were using was the one mounted on the side of the ferry we were parked on so I was able to lean out through the opening of the car deck and watch the launch.
Two crew members got in the boat and then the davit was swung out and the boat lowered to the surface. They got the motor going, let out the lines and zipped off in to the distance. I figured they would shortly be back but they seemed to go quite a way off and then disappear from view. Instead, the ferry powered up and continued on its way.
As we got closer to our first stop at Lopez, we caught up with the RIB and, after bringing the ferry to a stop again, the process was reversed and the boat was brought back on board before we resumed our normal crossing. Reading the Washington State Ferries news emails, it appears that rescues are a pretty regular feature with the ferries picking up various water users that have got themselves in to trouble. Good that they keep well practiced!
In this previous post about the hangars at Moffett Field, I mentioned that I was there to cover an exercise. The MC-130s were a big part of the exercise. They were loading up and launching down to remote landing strips on the California coast. The holds were full of equipment including off road vehicles. Loading these up was a tight fit. While the crews spent time getting everything ready to go, I was reasonably free to wander around the airframe and get some shots.
Here are some that I got that day. These were some of the oldest Combat Shadow (and maybe Hercules) airframes around at the time and I suspect that they have been replaced by now, I think by Combat King J models.
A slightly sad tale for this post. We get plenty of wildlife in our backyard including loads of rabbits. They come in to much the grass all the time. They are a combination of cute and inconvenient since they tend to spread a lot of seeds for things we don’t want in our grass. Such is the way of nature of course. Most days we will see one or more of them out there but they disappear quickly if we go outside.
One weekend morning Nancy looked out and saw one on the grass but not looking normal. We went out to check what was going on and the rabbit seemed to have some injury which was preventing it from moving properly. Without the ability to examine it, I thought its leg was hurt. We pondered what to do. Meanwhile, a bunch of crows started gathering on the fence sensing a meal. They flew off when we went outside but the rabbit had moved itself somehow behind the aircon unit. We know that nature has a course in these things but figured, if there was something we could do for the little thing, we should at least make an effort. If it wasn’t going to make it, so be it.
A call to a rescue service told us that we should bring it to them and they would assess it. Despite its injuries, the flight mentality was strong and it was not easy to scoop up. However, I managed to get it wrapped up in a towel and into a box on another towel and off to PAWS in Lynnwood. They did an evaluation and confirmed that this was definitely a fixable issue but not by them. Off to Sarvey in Granite Falls. This bun was getting quite a road trip. We dropped it off with them which is when I took the picture above. I hadn’t wanted to photograph it if it wasn’t going to make it since that seemed wrong somehow but, with someone taking care of it, I decided a photo was okay.
All this effort for one rabbit might seem strange when so many must die every day but it seemed like the right thing to do and it introduced us to two good organizations that deserve support.
This hydroplane was due to compete at Oak Harbor. They pulled off the jetty and headed towards the track but, for some reason, they broke down. They were left drifting just outside the jetty for a while. The driver climbed out of the cockpit and was left to wait for a tow to come along. It took a while for a boat to come to their aid. They weren’t drifting fast but they were slowly heading away from the shore and towards the course. They were taken care of long before they got anywhere risky, though.
There are going to be some lifeboat posts coming up in the coming weeks.We ended up seeing quite a bit of the RNLI’s work while we were there.I shall have more detailed posts but these shots are just a warm up act for the posts to come.I do like the RNLI and they certainly entertained me on this trip!
Nancy came across a place recently called the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. Located near Terre Haute in Indiana, this is a facility that takes care of large cats that have been mistreated or are no longer able to be looked after where they are. They have over 300 large cats, a large proportion of which are tigers but also with many cougars, some lions and a smaller number of a variety of other cat. They do not breed the animals, nor do they trade in them. Instead, they are available to provide a home to cats that need it to allow them to live out their lives in comfort.
We arranged a trip for a few days to include a visit to the Center. They provide tours to visitors. The tour covers one part of the Center and will get you close to approximately 100 of the resident cats. This is not a zoo. The tour is escorted and you are very close to the enclosures. However, if you touch the enclosures, your visit will be over. The cats are the other side of the fencing and any bits of you going through the fence are easily chomped! You get a great close experience but you mustn’t abuse the opportunity.
Being close means the animals really do react to you. The lions will roar if they hear Harleys revving up, keep an eye out if a tiger turns away from you because it is probably about to spray you and, while the fences are there, they can get a little excitable. I was squatting down taking a picture of one of the tigers when it decided to charge towards me and jump up at the fence. It certainly got my attention!
The tour we took was led by the guy who started the whole place. He was very friendly and keen to explain how it worked and how they kept everything running. On our tour were a few people who have been there several times. if we were closer, I would certainly visit frequently. The pace was such that it was easy to take pictures as we went around so these shots will give you a good feel for what we saw there.
The place was great. The work they do is very important and the tales they tell of how some of the animals came to be there are quite appalling. They are always in need of donations so, if you are looking for something to support, you could certainly do worse than these folks. Well done for all they have done and good luck in keeping it all going.