The Fish Whisperer

The weather report predicted rain the whole time. We had only five days.  Last-minute tickets were double the price.

But we love Alaska

…we love my sister Constance…

…and we love to fish.

On his last trip Eli couldn’t drop a line without pulling out a fish.  After catching a thirty pound King, he was hooked.


Using frequent flyer miles and companion fares, we caught the tail end of the salmon season.

You can pack a lot into five days, especially in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

We set out each day by the crack of noon.

Wildlife was abundant, whether feathered…



…or finned.

And then there was the two-footed kind.

Con’s friend Barbara is famous for her gin and tonics, and now her recently remodeled garage is a neighborhood attraction that everyone calls the Garage Mahal.

At the Alaska State Museum my artist sister’s painting, belonging to its permanent collection, was on display.  She’d just had a show of paintings created during a residency in a historic lighthouse keeper’s house on an island off the rugged coast of Norway.


We were inspired to make art of our own.  At her studio Eli and Constance painted…

…and I sketched Thom, although I couldn’t get him to look up from his book.

The line at the art house cinema was tolerable.

Small town headlines were refreshing.

And the fish were biting!


Some for grilling…

…and some for smoking.


The Fish Whisperer…


…strikes again!


We’ll be back. 

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Sport.



  1. Ruth says:

    What a loving, happy and creative time together. Well worth whatever it cost.
    Beautiful trip! (And delish fish)

    1. Hi Ruth,
      You’re right–you can’t put a price on family time. Thanks so much for the visit! I hope you and your wonderful family are having a good summer and lots of time together.

      1. Ruth says:

        Thanks Naomi. Family time is wonderful.

      2. It’s the best! Now that the kids are older and mostly buzzing in for a week or two between their own adventures, it is a top priority. Truly, it has always been.

      3. Ruth says:

        The absolute best, as you say. Totally agree!

  2. Carol says:

    Wow! Your family is so talented!

    1. Thank you, Carol. My sister Constance is the white sheep of the family!

  3. Prior-2001 says:

    Looks like a cool studio with those windows and light! Nice sketch u made too – and very cool trip – family time on top of all this fun- win win for sure.
    Oh and those red pillows on the hard theatre chairs are a good idea! I watehxed my niece perform and sat on similar chairs (are those from the 50s) and well wish we had pillows –

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I love my sister’s studio. I break out the sketchbook every few years–drawing is very relaxing, like doing a jigsaw puzzle. The theater is sweet and funky, with pillows, obscure movies, and they let you put your own butter on your popcorn, so you get it just the way you want it.

      1. Prior-2001 says:

        oh that sounds like my kind of theatre!
        and your sketching is so good – especially for a hobby !

      2. Thank you! It is something that I do so rarely, but so time-consuming. It is an activity I shared with the kids, and still do every now and then, when we are all together. Thanks for the kind words! I hope your summer is going well!

      3. Prior-2001 says:

        Good summer here – and actually centered around the kids a lot – but very chill and peaceful

      4. It sure did fly by. My summer was centered around the kids too, even though they are both college grads!

      5. Prior-2001 says:

        having college grads must feel so darn good! congrats!!!
        and let’s make the most of what is left in August…. ☀️☀️☀️☀️ I don’t have very many herbs this year, but my basil is just taking off and have some tomato dishes ready to go- mmm
        have a nice day

      6. Oooh, basil is my favorite!

      7. Prior-2001 says:

        my favorite thing to grow is banana peppers – and cherry tomatoes – but basil is that staple … 🌱🌱🌱🌱

  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    What a wonderful trip. You are all so creative, and what fantastic fishing, I almost feel sorry for the salmon having to hide from your son(?)

    1. Hi Gilly,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. It was a very fun trip. We go fishing only when we are visiting my sister in Alaska, and can feed the whole family with what we catch. For some reason, Eli always seems to have better luck than the rest of us.

  5. socialbridge says:

    Sounds and looks like a

  6. socialbridge says:

    ( I continue) brilliant trip.

  7. Wow! What a great trip. Your photos are amazing, Naomi. And your sister…so cute and talented!

    1. Hi Jill,
      Thanks so much for the kind words. My sister is one of the most remarkable and talented people I know–definitely the white sheep of the family! So good to hear from you–I hope you are well!

  8. Kathy B. says:

    Looks like a wonderful five days! You have way too much fun!

    1. Hi Kathy,
      It is amazing how much you can pack into a day there–the sun didn’t go down until much later than in Seattle. The weather turned out to great, but we would have had just as much fun in the rain. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your kind response!

  9. scillagrace says:

    You had me at smoked salmon! How I remember my son noshing away at salmon jerky on our trip to Seattle! And I sent a whole one to my parents via next day post. Mmmm…mem’ries! 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh, Priscilla, the smoked salmon was so good! Constance sprinkled it with salt and brown sugar and let it sit in a bowl for a couple hours, then smoked it in her backyard. It was delicious! I bet your folks loved the salmon you sent. When were you in Seattle? What did you see while you were here?

      1. scillagrace says:

        I have (had?) in-laws that live in Bellingham. Been there a couple of times, but not since 2003.

      2. Bellingham is a pretty city. I would think they are still in-laws, the grandparents of your children. Hope you are well, and staying cool, Priscilla. It is supposed to go up to 94 today–which was unheard of when I first moved to Seattle.

      3. scillagrace says:

        Well, the step-grandmother of my children and their aunt live there. 94 seems inconceivable for Seattle!

      4. Plants in the back that I have never watered in twenty years are withering–might have to cave and water them today. I try to spend water mostly on the vegetables and the kitchen garden on the deck. Thom is refereeing four games in this heat today, and I will be relieved when he is done and I know he hasn’t suffered from heat exhaustion. I think of the poor kids out on the field in this heat. And I know it’s worse everywhere else in the country–one of the reasons I moved to Seattle (just one of many) is its mild summers. How can anyone deny climate change?

  10. I can’t wait to go, at this point it is the last state. Well, the last state in that it is the one I haven’t been to, yet. Being as I am in England now, it is on hold, but I am totally going to go!

    1. That is so interesting! I went to the forty-nine states you could drive to when traveling as a child with my mother. Hawaii was the last one, and I went there as an adult. It was great to be able to cross that last state off my list! I’d love to hear how you managed to get to so many states–were you camping, was it business, were you methodical about it, or did it just happen? It is a rare thing to see so many states; now I can hardly wait until you make it to Alaska! You will find so many great photo ops there!

      1. It’s a bit of mix of things. We did a lot of camping while I was growing up, so I started there. As an adult, I set up a list, just to see what was left, and I still camp a lot, so that got a lot of the others. Also, it helps that work has caused us to move around a lot. Work took me to Hawaii, which was great because that would have been expensive! So, now it’s down to Alaska, which we have an idea of what we want to do, but will wait until we are living in the States again to do it.

  11. bikerchick57 says:

    That’s beautiful country. Alaska is on my bucket list…hope to make it there one day.

    1. I hope you make it too!

  12. What fun! I’m glad you went, and glad you shared it. ❤

    1. Thank you, Mary. It was a good reminder to be open to the possibilities. If the weather had been terrible, as predicted, we would have had a different, but equally good time in the studio, and still done some fishing in the rain. Thanks so much for the visit! I hope you are well!

  13. Your sister’s painting is gorgeous! You two look so alike. What a great vacation you had. I lived in the Yukon for nearly 10 years so know the landscape well. Beautiful country.

    1. Hi Alison, she was experimenting with depicting scientific processes, such as photosynthesis, on canvas. I’d love to know more about your Yukon adventures!

      1. Hmmmm perhaps I’ll write about them one day 🙂

      2. You definitely should!

  14. Looks like a blast and my idea of fun. I’m smiling, Naomi.


    1. Thank you, Janet. We had so much fun, and the time flew. I appreciate your visit and your taking the time to share your thoughts.

  15. I’ve never been to Alaska- hope to one day. Lucky you to have a sister there! Looks like a great trip.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Having a sister there is a great motivation to visit. She has a unique lifestyle, and I’ve been visiting there for thirty years, so I know many of her friends, which makes it even more fun. Hope your summer is going well!

  16. Alaska in the summer! Terrific. So much to see and do. Thanks for the reminder! –Curt

    1. The summer in Juneau starts winding down on the Fourth of July, I was told, and there were signs of approaching autumn, but we never ran out of things to do. Thanks for the visit, Curt!

      1. July and August were when I usually took off for the backcountry in Alaska. It was the best time of the year for backpacking— not nearly as buggy and with delicious wild blueberries for picking. Of course we had to share them with the grizzlies. (grin) –Curt

      2. We grazed on blueberries at the side of the trail, but were very happy not to run into any bears. On our last trip we saw a couple of black bears sauntering through town.

      3. Bears are best seen at a distance. 🙂

  17. Elyse says:

    Looks like a blast!

    1. Hi Elyse! It was refreshing, and we did enjoy it. It’s scary how easily I could fall into permanent vacation mode! Thanks for the visit.

  18. You are such a talented and creative family. And now Eli is the greatest fisherman, too!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you Sarah. We just know how to have fun together. So good to hear from you. Hope all is well!

  19. Judith Black says:

    Naomi, What stunning visual images. To know that this level of beauty and pure expression of nature is still there for the appreciation… Thank-you.
    You know that you do the traveling for a lot of us!

    1. Hi Judith, Thanks so much! It was a sweet trip. I hope your summer was a gooder!

  20. pattisj says:

    Taking Eli along assures you’ll have plenty to eat! A residency in a lighthouse–that must have been an experience!

  21. Maureen Kay says:

    Congratulations to your sister on success as a visual artist. Such a rare thing. I love the newspaper headline!

    1. Thank you! My sister is an incredible artist. The newspaper headline is the kind I would love to be reading–unfortunately we often seem to get the other kind.

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