I’ve got a wee window in between fishing trips here in Alaska so figured it might be nice to give a report, if only to myself, on the state of my disunion.
So sublet the spot in Oakland, drove through the night up to Portland. Then up to Bellingham, where I lucked into a housesitting gig on Lummi Bay. Within hours he was tromping in the muskegs, happy as a clam.
Right on the water, Cal was very happy with the beach walks and long sunsets. The tug was all rented so Rick and Darcie let me stay in their wee cabin, so sweet – some day I hope to build something similar for a writing studio.
I had good time to dive into the rewrite and consider the main character’s interiority – this doesn’t come naturally – and also rewrite some sex scenes, which were too male-centric, surprise surprise. Maybe it was the knowledge that soon enough I’d not have any time. The idyll ended and then it was to the airport with Dog, where he behaved so well. We had a couple days to acclimate, and visit the tug, which Jackie has transformed into an absolute wonder with her garden. During the days getting the boat ready for the opener.
Fueled by triple espressos from my buddy Kyle’s Spartan Espresso coffee stand – yum. From my seat on the plane I could see him being loaded up, all shivering. Chaos in town – this was the largest king opener since the Pacific Salmon Treaty in 1985, so permit holders were in from all over, eager to get in on the action.
Then down to Seattle for another housesitting gig in Capitol Hill. We anchored up June 30th by Biorka, woke with the sun around 3 and the race for fish was on.
Work from 3 AM until it got dark around 11 PM tidy the boat up until midnight dinner then back up at 3.
There were 171,300 king salmon up for grabs, and Karl, my skipper, is about as fishy as they come. Part of my job was iceing fish in the hold, so I got to spend a fair amount of time with the kings, watched how they dimmed as the life drained out of them.
What an honor to work with these fish, to be able to make a living this way.
As usual Karl did everything twice as well and fast as I was able to do it, but I guess that comes with your 31st season of trolling.
I did what I could to keep up, trying to run the gear smoothly, ignore the frozen fingers after working an hour in the fish hold.
The body rebelled for a couple days but then it gave up and went along with it and then things were fine even if I couldn’t close my hands in the morning.