The climbfish have now evolved to cover my life in the US - including very exiting life in downtown Baltimore (aka the wire) and ocean research expeditions with NOAA. I don't promise frequent updates but I will try and cover the most and least exiting times here. Enjoy!
(c) climbfish.com, all rights reserved

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GOOD and EVIL - the dark side of town!

Angela serving soup at Bouillabaisse Cafe, best lunch place in Baltimore!
Yesterday I went for a bike ride to Patapsco state park and back. It all started well, sun was out and my first stop was to pick up lunch at my favorite restaurant in Baltimore, the Bouillabaisse Cafe. Angela who owns it together with her husband is a beacon of light!
A treasure on 316 Park Ave
She always give me way more then I ask for and charges less then her already modest prices suggest. She also serves fantastic soups (cream of crabs on Monday - highly recommended, and the bouillabaisse seafood soup on Thursdays is phenomenal), and keep her culturally mixed audience (Mormons, politicians, homeless, business people, swedes to name a few) entertained with snappy replies and a happy laughs. First time when I arrived there with Brian, she was just about to close. But instead of showing us the door she asked us: How hungry are you? When we said we were pretty hungry she opened her shop and served us delicious soup and subs 

Austin trying to spot fish for me, to no vain...
After a fun day with Austin biking and fishing our way through the Patapsco river valley I started to make my way home. I had decided to follow the bike route through Gwynns Falls Park, sort of infamous for crime but it turned out to be quite a nice bike ride most of the way between Patapsco and downtown.

Biking around I've noticed how much litter there is in some areas. Often when I have been hiking and fishing on relatively pristine places near the city I have encounter plastic and garbage laying around.

Visa större karta

It has somewhat surprised me that such a rich and developed country doesn't take better care of the local environment around here. But what I encountered along "dead run" running through the Gwynns falls park on the estate of Crimea (guess that should have given me a pointer), was really quite disgusting. There was so much plastic garbage that the whole river looked like a big dump site.
Prime recreational river running trough Baltimore city, time to start cleaning up!
The main stream "dead run" and the creeks running in to it smelled strongly of raw sewage water (I know that smell really well since a glorious summer job as waste water technician). So it seems like the properties in the area were sending sewage water directly into the streams and into the Chesapeake bay watershed.
A small pond of plastic bottles swarming the shore. Recycle?
What makes it worse is that it's a really pretty river and park with great potential of being a prime recreational (read fishing...) area for the city with beautiful historic surroundings. From what I have seen of other streams running through Baltimore and into the Chesapeake bay it's not the only one heavily polluted, dumping serious wast into the ocean (it takes something like 400 years before plastic breaks down). It makes me angry...

Pieces of plastic everywhere, much of it looks like the bags you get in the supermarket
Most of the plastic wrapping around everything we shop feels so unnecessary. Make a small contribution and bring some reusable bags and a backpack when you go (Christmas) shopping - save some plastic from getting used/produces. And give away experiences instead (theater tickets, pole dancing classes and so on). As a gear maniac I do not live like I teach, but I do try...

Heal the world..! Sorry for the ranting.

Ending on a positive note. Yesterday was Lucia day, a Swedish tradition. We eat gingerbread, drink glögg and sing/listen to Lucia chores. I found a random you tube video for you to enjoy it to! I know it looks like the kids are dressed up like Ku Klux clan, but they really are saints!

A more grown up version: http://svtplay.se/t/123386/luciafirande_i_svt

Friday, December 9, 2011

Surrounded by bears, killing time

Baltimore celebrating turning on the Christmas lights on
Georg Washington Monument, next to where we live.   
November ended nice and peacefully with Thanksgiving weekend, celebrated together with Annas professor, Bob and his family. We ate really good food and played American football - there were even talks about me and Anna qualifying to Superbowl next year. Anna got (almost) two days well needed break from her insane amount of studying before she went back to her dungeons again.
The most important part of thanksgiving, eating desert.
I think we need to import this holiday to Sweden.
Saskia and Anna were very skeptical of my excellent pathfinding skills, as
I took them to one of the parks to fill their starving gills with fresh water.
The girls enjoying a banana in our lunch cave

Thanksgiving Critical Mass Ride, gaining momentum for the Baltimore bikers! 

Then there was the glorious world movie premier! I had finally "finished" (it's never really finished) the movie I have been working on for the last few (many) months about the Jan Mayen ski and sail trip that we did this spring. I filled my audience with champaign and Swedish chocolate balls so that they would like it, and I think it worked. Now I just have to figure out what I should do with the film, after all the time spend it would be fun to find a bigger audience somehow and I put some (a lot of) effort in and made sure that the music was royalty free too. At some point I will post it online here so you can see it. 
World premiere, Jan Mayen Ski&Sail Movie!
Now, after all this I was exited to start working again. But if there is one thing you learn in the States, it is that administration here takes time, and that patient is the word of the day. It turned out that the security process to get me into the NOAA building takes longer then they anticipated and the new prognosis was that I will be able to start working in 3-30 days... So back to killing time again, without being able to make any substantial plans (yes, I have been obsessively rooming the web for cheep flight to go skiing in the snow filled rockies, but that will have to wait). Fortunately I am pretty good at killing time, and in addition everybody seems to be doing what is in their power to make the process as quick as possible. I did kind of panic though and got a very strong urge to leave the city for a while to make something useful of my days. It ended up with me renting a car and driving 3 hours south west of Baltimore to Shenandoah National park to go hiking by myself for a few days. In between the big cities on the east coast there are actually some pretty great nature around, though somewhat patchy. As soon as I got home me and Bob and a friend of his went surfing for a day too. A lot of driving but it's amazing how a bit of outdoor activity can help you set your spirit straight again. 
Arrived pretty late, but the winter sun was still shining nicely on the mountain range.
I hiked until it got dark along Big Run river valley where a local had pointed me to an area with plenty of wildlife and good fishing for brook trout. I found a little patch for myself along the creek, made some tasty food and watched the rising moon. I starting to think about the large black bear population in the park, and as I just finished a book about the Native Americans, it felt like somebody was watching over my shoulder from the old days too.
Hiking alone in Shenandoah National Park. Was there something
observing me from outside the glow of the fire and headlamp?
I soon adjusted and the darkness started to feel comforting instead. The next day I woke up with frost on my tent to a beautiful day. It is great how small things like sleeping, eating and walking can be so satisfying when you are out in the wild.
Crisp and frosty morning
Same fire, different day, this time no old ghosts around. 
Bear country.. I doubt this set up would have
stopped a hungry climbing black bear, but
at least it kept the food away from my tent

Tree and rock growing old together!
No fish creek in the background. Damn it!
Surfing again, its actually still pretty nice and warm (no not in the water) around here.  
Gummibears doing what they do, studying and studying and studying 
As always I feel like I stumble headfirst into December, I can't believe it is already the 10th. Next time I write it will probably be Christmas. Back to training, yoga, studying (I try to imitate Anna by doing some reading too) and... waiting. Hopefully they will let the Swede through in time.

As you can see I now got the domain www.climfish.com! I got into a buying streak this week and as well as caving in and buying a black friday deal projector to watch movies on I got myself my first own web address, well worth the 10$ a year it cost me to try and impress you all :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Climbfish at work

It may seem to you who have followed this blog, that the life of a climbfish is relatively easy and joyful. Although there might be some truth in this assumption I also found this educational video that shows that it isn't always so easy to be a climbing fish. 

Times are a-changin'. On Monday I will start working for NOAA again. This time for the Biogeography Branch. Most of the work will be based out of the NOAA office in Silver Springs but there will also be field projects later on - mainly in areas with coral reefs within the US territory. It is very exiting and I will tell you more in time. This also means that my roaming around will come to an end as I will join the commuters to DC. To celebrate and make the most out of the time left I went with some friends to The Island.

Me, Kurt, Andy and Kate on-route The Island
The Island is a place where no rules of society exists. It is a land without consequences. I cannot tell you where it is, but I do have some pictures for you.

The way to The Island is filled with unseen dangers
We packed only the mere essentials, like two guitars and a ukulele 
...and bongo drums and lots of bananas
Other essentials: two big axes, a shovel. a machete and a pellet gun.
Drift wood was a commodity but still heavy work
Drying up from the rapids
The simple joy of a roaring fire and friends
Other joys on the island...
Kurt showing off on the slack line, it looks so easy damn it!

Time to float back to civilization
 Now there are still a few days left of the week, on Thursday I look forward to celebrating my very first American Thanksgiving. And as soon as the rain pass I hope to make it out for some more outside activities.

Six days left and counting...

Friday, November 11, 2011


Damn it! I couldn't resist the temptation 1111111111111111111111111111111111111

Ikea robot Anna with her Hopkins friends and 1% husband...
Why sleep in tent when you can pay the rent?

Another couple of weeks of Baltimore life has passed. Somehow I have been keeping myself pretty busy with a variety of projects, but have also been sneaking away for random excursion during sunny weekdays while Anna has been hiding in the Hopkins dungeons.

Taking a leave? Brian and me exploring alternative ways of spending a Monday
When I get sick of the city I climb trees.
Since a few days back we are house sitting George in a luxurious house by the water front in Fells point. George doesn't like me, yet, but he do very much resembles Anna. He lives in a cage, he eat seeds and drink water, and he bites me when he get the chance.

Me and George
George will love me, its just a matter of time!
Last weekend we hosted a glorious Swedish Fish Party to finally warm our apartment. We made everybody eat pickled herring, sing swedish songs and dance the little frog dance. That was fun.

Swedish Fish Party!

Having some more time at my disposal have made me open my eyes to things around me a little more. I was watching a great documentary movie, Gasland, at the Library in Baltimore the other day - it's about a relatively new way of drilling for gas which causes evil environmental problems, damn it oil and money! When I walked out of there I was really angry and wanted to change the world... haven't made much progress yet though... However I think the least we can do is to stay informed and keep an eye on other sources of news then our daily newspaper and TV.

Occupy Baltimore still going strong!

My own silent protest

Having said all that I still went with a gasoline car -94 with Bob and drove 2.5 hours to the coast to go surfing over the day. Both of us had a bad cold, but what other way is there to
get rid of all those germs then to immerse ourselves in cold salty ocean water. I finally had a chance to try out my GoPro camera on the surfboard so I put together a short film of all the crashes I made for your pleasure (to my defense the surf was clean but very dumpy as the waves hit straight onshore).

Yesterday I got inpatient with the city again and went flyfishing at Gunpowder Creek for a few hours. Of course I had to go on the only rainy day of the week, but it was actually quite cool in the foggy woods.

Sweet Gunpowder creek with clean water and native trout!
Anybody home?

Still going strong, wonder what they will be like in the snow?

Do i smell winter? And what is that tree growing from?

Counting my days of good fall weather in Baltimore with free time on my hands. I believe change is around the corner.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New York and Äppelpaj

Sunrise with a great 360 deg view over Manhattan from Alex roof.
We finally made the trip to the big Apple, 3 hours north of Baltimore. Anna has been talking about visiting New York since I first met her more then 4 years ago, so even though I was exited to see the city skyline for the first time as the bus drove in to the city, the most fun part of the visit was really to observe her!
New York New York in the bustle on Times Square
We stayed at Alex apartment in the middle of Manhattan close to Soho. Alex is Annas classmate Karens boyfriend, and a cool and generous German PhD student (apparently he will make us live 300 years longer through stem cell research, so there is no need for age paranoia anymore).
I always wanted to go to a karaoke bar with private rooms, my wishes fulfilled during
Jeongs birthday party in NY. Performances ranged from hip hop to Japanese and
Korean love songs (inte helt olikt en ångestladdad finsk balad på kryssning till Åbo )
Anna with Elin and Anna - Friends visiting from Sweden!
On our way to see statue of Liberty, check!
View of Manhattan from the Hudson river, check!
Brooklyn Bridge, check!
Ground Zero, check!
Swedish sponsor of Occupy Wall Street?! Check!
Central park, check!
Big elephant, check!
High Line park, check!
Empire state building and urban jungle, check!
Subway, check!
Wine and jazz with Karen and Alex, check!
The NY city globe by night view, check! (and no its not a falling star in the
background, there is only artificial light in NY, even the sun is fake)
Put very exhausted little girl to sleep, check!
Anna left me(!) on Monday morning to go back to school in Baltimore, while I decided to stay a few more days and hang out in NY at a little slower pace... I must admit it has been quite nice go for a morning run in central park, walk around the neighbor hoods and spend some serious time people watching while eating sugar drenched muffins and sipping on a coffee... Me and Alex also took the opportunity to watch the eminent movie "Hot Dog" well worth watching if you haven't seen it yet.

Now of course it had not deluded my sharp eyes that there where some important and serious protest going in on in the city, and with Anna out of the picture I decided to spend a little more time dwelling into the hearth of them and to show some support. To get you involved and up to date I found some reporting skills in my back pocket and inspired by an infamous BNN reporter I met I got to work, enjoy!