On December 16 a few years back, I traveled to Reedsport, Oregon to pay a visit to Fred Wahl Marine Construction. I was sent by Michael Crowley, the Boats and Gear Editor at National Fisherman magazine, to take pictures and conduct interviews for a feature story on a brand new, $2.5 million longline fishing vessel (Shemya).
Now, looking back, I’d guess that Fred Wahl and Mike Lee were not too pleased to have a young gal sporting lip gloss and long hair walk through their gates to write such an important boat building story! I will always be grateful to them for showing kindness and patience as I did my best to ask the right questions (coached the night before over the telephone by my dad).
I am also grateful to Fred and Mike for something else—just a little something—for introducing me to my husband, George. That’s right! George was the Shemya partner and captain on the yard that day, and it was he that Fred walked me across the gloriously stormy and blustery yard over to the dock to meet.
George and I look forward to seeing Fred and Mike each year at Pacific Marine Expo. After missing a couple of Expos for reasons of pregnancies, crab seasons, and newborns, we finally made it back this year. We were pushing Eva and Vincent in the double stroller when we heard our names being called. We turned around and to our wonderful surprise, there was Fred, Mike, and Fred’s beautiful wife smiling and waving us over.
Thanks, Fred and Mike: I can’t speak for George (ha ha) but that day I spent in Reedsport at Fred Wahl Marine Construction was one of the most magical of my life. I’m so glad that Jerry Fraser and Mike Crowley at National Fisherman sent me on the story with full confidence that I could pull it off.
Here are two pictures of the Fred Wahl Marine Construction booth at Pacific Marine Expo 2008 (I didn’t notice the official Expo sign prohibiting photographs until we were leaving!):