Archive for blackcod/halibut season

After Five Months, Just Four More Days.

We went another couple of weeks without hearing from George. I knew I would hear from him eventually, and I did today.

After three months alone with the kids, and only one week spent as a family since January, George called bearing good news—he is on his way home.

We have only spent one week together since January. That’s five months ago!

And, that is without Skype, FaceTime, or any other “fancy” means of communication….including a cell phone most of the time. George fishes in remote areas and we do not have access to those means of communication.

And when he does come into port, he and the crew are busy unloading and getting ready to head out to sea again, and there just is never any—or enough—time.

George sounded really good when I talked to him briefly today, and I was thrilled to tell the kids that their dad will be home in about four days.

I have been telling Eva and Vincent for the past five months that Daddy would be home “in the summer.” Ironically, it now seems as though George will be home, literally, on the first day of summer.

I don’t normally toot my own horn, but I am proud. We did it. The children and I made it through. We made it through gymnastics and ballet and homework and shopping and meals and baths.

We got back to Jazzercise and learned how to cook and finished kindergarten projects. We brushed teeth and said prayers and went to sleep and woke up the next morning.

We even integrated a brand-new baby into the family.

Now, it will be time to acclimate as a whole family. Not as one mother with three children, but one mother and a father with three children.

I do look forward to a wonderful summer together as a whole and complete family of five. I can’t wait for George to get home and for the family and summer fun to begin. George has not been home for an entire summer in probably ten years.

I am excited for Vincent to get to do “boy things” with his dad, and Eva to be able to shower another someone with her hugs and kisses, and for Valerie to get to know her dad.

Whew, that’s a lot. I do believe we will take it moment by moment.

A Sunny Departure to Longline Season 2012

Well, Siri is going to help me out again with composing a blog post. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to sit down and type, but it isn’t going to happen. So, here I am again, holding baby Valerie, talking at my iPhone!

George and the crew got underway to Alaska last Saturday evening. They steamed out of the harbor underneath a beautiful spring evening sun.


They have a lot of halibut and blackcod to catch, so I hope they get on the fish quickly and get it caught before too long into summer. I am so looking forward to summertime and George being here for most of it!

George had one week off in between fishing seasons, but that one week occurred at the same time as the kids’ spring break, so that worked out well. I was able to get in a much–needed hair appointment while he was here, and I even got a pedicure. There was not any time for a massage, but that will leave me something to look forward to when he comes back!

Eva and Vincent have done very well regarding their dad’s departure. I think watching Daddy leave in the sun helped. It’s not as dreary or depressing as watching him depart underneath dark clouds and pouring rain, like during crab season.


We had a little Easter celebration the morning George left. The Fisherman Bunny came early and the kids had a great time searching for eggs, not to mention the fun they had coloring them the day before. They decorated eggs with our friend and babysitter, Hailey, and they also decorated some with me. The eggs they colored with Hailey were a lot cuter than mine!


Each day for the kids and me is incredibly full. We move from one task to the next until about 8 o’clock at night, at which point all books are put away, teeth are brushed, everything stops, and we all go to bed. Even Mom!

Eva is a great little helper and she gives me a small break each evening when she holds Valerie so I can get up and do a couple of things like empty the dishwasher or put laundry away.

I think we have a pretty good system going for now. If we can just keep it up for the next three months and nothing throws a wrench into our routine, we will be good to go.



The May Issue of National Fisherman: Recognize That Guy On The Cover?

There was plenty of excitement around here for a commercial fishing mommy and her ducklings when the May issue of National Fisherman magazine showed up in the mail yesterday. Hey, that’s Daddy on the cover!

This was a photo of George taken by David Hills in the Gulf of Alaska during the blackcod/halibut season a couple of years ago. David has gone out a couple of times with the boat; once to take pictures during the longline season and once during Dungeneness crab season. I’m excited that his shot made the cover!

Ironically, if you look on page four of the magazine underneath the section “10 Years Ago,” you’ll see a cover shot and profile that I wrote a decade ago on my old stomping grounds of Ketchikan, Alaska. It boggles my mind that I am seeing my cover shots and stories in that section more and more. Ten years ago…before homes, dogs, children, boats…when I traveled up and down the West Coast and Alaska taking pictures and writing stories.

Fortunately, even if I’m currently unable to travel, the Internet has made it possible for me to keep writing and to expand into my current niche as a writer about commercial fishing families. You’ve got to be able to transition and grow and expand as a writer!

Also included in the May issue of National Fisherman are two shots taken by Zed Blue, the husband of my friend and fellow writer, Robin, who blogs about her fishing family at The Fishing Blues.  Zed took the photo on pages 18-19 of the Bering Sea crabbers, and the photo on page 20 of longlining for blackcod.

It was perfect timing that this issue, with a picture of G on the cover during the blackcod/halibut season, arrived just yesterday, because he is heading north in two days to do the same exact thing. Cool send-off for the boat—and maybe, a sign of good luck and a great season ahead.

G gaffing a blackcod during the Alaska blackcod and halibut season. Photo by David Hills (

I Love My Crew of Three

Bye bye, Dungeness crab pots. See you in another seven months!

Our Dungeness crab season 2012 has come to an end. The season picked up midway through, so G and the crew ended up fishing longer than we all expected.  Upon their return, the sun came out for a couple of days which was perfect for all the gear work they do to wrap up the crab season and get ready for the halibut and blackcod longline season.

The kids love nothing more than to go visit with Daddy and the gang down at the harbor, so we spent some time down there and G let the kids ride along with him on the forklift, putting the crab pots away and bringing out the longlining tubs.

The switch into the next commercial fishing season is going to be quick; G will have one week at home before leaving for Alaska. Once he goes, we won’t see him again until summer. That’s over three months that I will have alone as a mother of two young children and one infant.

Pizza with the crew.

Crab pots put away, longline tubs come out.

I am a little nervous about the months ahead of me, but I managed to make it through the crab season pretty much the same way (solo) so I’ll just take it one day at a time like I always do and not look too far ahead. I’m hoping the sun will come out and that it won’t rain for the next three months, because that would really help things.

The kids and I have settled into a pretty good routine that works well if nothing else is added to it, like an outside obligation or a sickness. Being the only parent on hand and in charge of all medications, laundry, meals, clean up, activities, and school stuff  for three children 24/7  is doable, but only if I pace myself. For the next three months, I will attempt to not take on other obligations other than the most important one right in front of me; being a strong and happy mother of three children while Daddy is gone. We’ve done well so far and I’m proud of all of us, so I know we will do just fine in the weeks and months ahead.

I actually love having three children! I laugh to myself quite often, especially in the car, when I have all three of them with me. It feels surreal; like I’m driving a small bus full of little people, and it cracks me up. And at home, there is always somebody doing something, or saying something, or drawing something, that either warms my heart or makes me laugh. There’s a warm little baby for me to hold, three little ones around for me to hug and smother with kisses, and say “I love you!” to.

So, we will enjoy this last week with G, and then it’s onward and upward. The children and I will get by with a little help from our friends…and my parents…and my sisters…and my blog friends…and my Facebook friends…and sunshine…and…knowing we’ll have the summer ahead to spend with Dad!

Happy Two Months, Valerie!

Good Luck. Catch the Quota Quick and Come Back Home!

G and the gang made it out of the harbor around 8 p.m. on Thursday, bound for areas all over Alaska to catch our halibut and blackcod quota. It was a sadder send off for me than usual; I think it’s because G wasn’t home long before leaving again, and the house is especially quiet without both George and our Toby. Poor Vincent is the only guy in the house now! :)

Ah, we’ll survive, though! We always do. These are not the most exciting pictures, but I tried to get a shot of each of the guys so their wives, children, and girlfriends could see them as they left the harbor.

Falling asleep on Daddy the night before.

Johnny, George, Brett, Bryan, Oscar...and future crew, Eva and Vincent.

Bryan on the shack.

Johnny on the bow.

So long...

Happy travels to you all. Hugs and kisses!

Traditional blast of the foghorn and around the breakwater they go.