Archive for Commercial Fishing Boat – Page 2

Welcome Home!!!

Welcome Home!!

George, Bryan, Steve, Gary, and Brett!!! 

They brought the sunshine with them. The day started out dreary, dark, and rainy. It slowly began to improve. By the time I saw the boat cruising across the bay, the sun was out in force. The children and I jumped into the car, parked on the dock, and actually watched them come into the harbor.

Bryan helped the kids down to the boat and showed them giant ling cod heads. We drove around the harbor with Steve in the flatbed, following George on the forklift. We ended at the family store, Vis Seafoods, where Gary and George unloaded two totes’ worth of home-pack.

As the little ones and I drove to the harbor today, I felt like I was floating above the earth. It was a surreal and beautiful day, and the most perfect way to spend my 8th wedding anniversary.

I’ve included some videos of today; they are second-rate videos, taken with my iPhone, that only a grandmother could love. Still, here they are.

Hooray: An ETA From the Captain!

Heck, I’ve brought you all along for the ride this long, I thought I may as well keep the narrative going. I’ve shared pictures, audio posts, the good, the bad, and everything in between.

I’m sure G won’t mind if I share this one little innocent e-mail I received today; after all, it’s the only one I’ve received, and it brings good news! I’m leaving in the signature line that comes with the satellite e-mail because it always makes me roll my eyes.

Thanks for going along this latest fishing family journey with me. You are all the best!

Hi Sweetheart!

Here’s the update! First day was really good… next two were pretty average. Yesterday was bad. Today… hopefully will be decent here. Only need 7500 lbs more. Should be home by Monday.

Love you!


This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using OCENS.Mail software.

Please be kind and keep your replies short.

Icebergs in the Yakutat Bay, Alaska

Icebergs in Yakutat Bay, Alaska

Commercial Fishing Is America’s Most Deadly Job

CNN has released its list of America’s Most Deadliest Jobs and readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that commercial fishing once again ranks as our country’s top deadliest job.

Here are a few of the top most deadly jobs according to the report:

  • Commercial Fishing: 2oo deaths per 100,000
  • Logging: 61.8 deaths per 100,000
  • Airplane Pilots: 57 deaths per 100,000
  • Farmers and Ranchers: 36 deaths per 100,000

Check out the article here. It’s pretty interesting and it always astounds me how far ahead of the second most deadly job commercial fishing ranks.

I can’t even think of anything to write other than there is a reason we celebrate like crazy each time George returns from sea. There are too many fishermen who do not come back home.

Photo By David Hills

Commercial Fishing Photo Gallery is Up!! (Halibut and Blackcod Longlining Pictures)

David Hills, who takes some of the world’s best commercial fishing photos, has published a gallery of the pictures he took while on board our fishing vessel last winter during round one of the Alaska blackcod and halibut longline season.

If you want to see what it’s really like out there and see some extraordinary tough guys at work (including my dear husband, G, of whom I could not be more proud) check it out!!!

David, you ROCK!

Halibut and Blackcod Commercial Fishing Photographs

Ways to Send Your Man Off to Sea!

One of the things I love most about maintaining this blog is the awesome people I meet. I’ve forged some pretty cool friendships with some pretty neat people that have even gone over into Facebook and otherwise. I love logging into Highliners and Homecomings and seeing that I have a comment that someone was thoughtful enough to leave!

The other day, I received an inquiry through my Contact Form. Elizabeth wrote in with such an interesting question that I thought it would be fun to create an entire post out of it.

Thanks for letting me post your question here, Elizabeth. As I said before, you are one cool chick to be thinking of ways to send your man off to sea in style rather than giving him grief for leaving.

Here’s her note:

I am the girlfriend of a soon-to-be commercial fisherman. He did it in the past, left it to pursue a career on land, and I of course started dating him while he was in this on-land period. But the call of the sea is too great, I guess. He was recently offered a job on swordfish boat down here in San Diego. I don’t know how often they’ll dock or how long he’ll get to stay docked, but I do know that there won’t be any phone calls while he is out. I know I’ll miss him terribly, and I have no idea how I’ll cope with him being gone all the time but I do know that I want to send him off with something special. Since I’m a complete rookie – is there anything that the men especially enjoy having with them? Pictures, music, food? Any feedback that you have from your own experiences would be much appreciated!

Well, I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to send a guy off to sea! (Rated G, of course, this is a family-friendly blog!) :-)

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Gift pack of his favorite treats. Candy, cookies, crackers, chips, etc., to hide in his bunk.
  • A special “boat cup” (Not glass, boat-safe, can be bought at fisheries supplies or sporting goods stores).
  • A set of boat dishes. George loved the set I got for him.
  • New galley towels. They get dirty and ruined so fast, it’s nice to have something fresh and clean!
  • A photo of yourself in a frame. My friend took a nice black and white of me years ago that George loved. Unfortunately, one time we had a big fight and I threw it away, but it was nice while it existed :-)
  • Create a photo book of your best pictures together at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Costco. They are easy and fun, and you can add quotes and messages on every page if you want.
  • A photo calendar. I create them every year and send one with G to look at in the wheelhouse throughout his months away.
  • A book. A light read is usually better. For example, skip the self-help or how to improve your relationship, haha!
  • You can hide a card in his bag for him to find once he’s on the boat.
  • You can send him off with many cards labeled with dates, one to open each day or once a week.
  • Have kids? Eva just drew a picture of her and George holding hands. We picked out a frame for it, she wrapped it all by herself, and then couldn’t wait to tell him about it when he called.
  • Find out the address of the place they’ll be unloading their catches, and have something waiting for him there each time they unload. I like to send George his magazines, pictures, and the kids’ artwork. We go to the post office and select the bright,  fancy, decorative envelopes so it goes in style!
  • A new CD or a mix-CD of his favorite music.
  • Several magazines.
  • A small portable DVD player and a couple of movies.
  • A new boat blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Fresh new boat pillow case.
  • Nice new boat shower towel.
  • Have a phone that takes and sends pictures? George loves receiving new pics whenever he gets cell coverage.
  • You can also get “creative” with your cell phone pics, if you get my drift. Not for everyone, but it won’t go unappreciated! :-)

Anyone else have additional ideas? Let’s grow the list! This was fun!

A String of Crab Gear (I Think)

I was looking through the handful of videos that George took during last winter’s Dungeness crab season. There aren’t many, and the ones that exist are very short. I think that most of the time he was just practicing the video function on his iPhone.

I came across this video last night. At first I thought George had simply captured the vast winter ocean, but upon closer inspection, I noticed our signature buoys in the background. I’m no Dungeness crab expert, but I think that is what’s called a “string of gear” and the buoys are attached to crab pots that are resting at the bottom of the ocean.

I’m sure someone out there can help me out if I’m incorrect. I’d ask George, but…well, I have no idea where he is :-).

Your Daddy’s Home, Sweet Pea.

Well, my children can rest easy, for their daddy has finally arrived. I told Eva yesterday that George would be coming into the harbor in the middle of the night, and at 2:00 a.m., a sleepy Eva woke up and asked me quietly, “Did Daddy come home?”

It was so sweet. It made me remember the thrill of being a young girl myself and waking up with so much joy, knowing Dad was home. She also made me smile yesterday when I came up from downstairs and found her sitting at the dining room table. She looked up and asked, “Did you find Daddy downstairs?”

Well, we found him today at the harbor unloading halibut. We talked with two of the crew, Bryan and Cole, who were sweet and cheerful, and George surprised us all by appearing with a new beard! I didn’t even recognize him! He walked toward us and I’m not kidding, I had to peer at his approach to make sure it was him. That was funny!

Here’s a pic of George and the kids. I’m not sure what they think of his new look, but this picture gives a pretty good idea. I think it looks pretty good!

The kids don't know what to make of Daddy's new beard!

Crossing the Gulf of Alaska

A couple of weeks ago, George called to say he was on his way home with a load of halibut. And then a few days passed, and then another few. People said, “I thought G was coming home?” And I said “I know! I haven’t heard from him since he told me he was on his way.”

Of course, it occurred to me later that he had go catch the halibut and then cross the Gulf of Alaska, all of which takes quite a few days. I finally heard from him a couple of nights ago and he was in Ketchikan. He should finally be home late tomorrow night!

I hope G doesn’t get too involved with boat work while he is home so we can have more than a day together during his few weeks off. The kids are so excited to see him. Sometimes they get confused and think he is home but just downstairs. They’ll call for him from the top of the stairs, “Dada!” and I laugh quietly and tell them Daddy is still fishing.

This morning, my four-year old Eva brought out a little green shirt and said, “I’m going to wear this shirt from Alaska that Daddy got me. My favorite Daddy. Named George.”

I’m glad he is coming home soon because he’s definitely got two tiny little kids champing at the bit to see him.

I woke up this morning and turned on the news just in time to hear an interview with one of the surviving crewmembers from the 75-foot fishing vessel, the Northern Belle, that sank crossing the Gulf of Alaska yesterday. His story is heartbreaking, and his voice was so full of sorrow and pain it brought me to tears. He spoke about getting everyone off the boat and of their captain, who didn’t make it. The boat sank in three to five minutes. The interview will be up on the King 5 news website later today.

My family knows what it is to lose a man to the sea, as do so many of us in the commercial fishing industry. God Bless that captain, the crew, and the boat, as well as every other boat and fisherman currently at sea. It’s no joke out there.

No Rest For the Weary

I never get bored of seeing this flatbed Ford and the trailer stacked so perfectly with Dungeness crab pots. It’s such nice gear, bright and beautiful, and each time George shows up with a load like this it’s like I’ve never seen it before.

And I tell you what; our Dungeness crab season may have drawn to a close but these guys never stop working. They are currently busy with forklifts and hydraulics, pots, line, and buoys, running back and forth between boat and web locker.

And when this is all done, they’ll move directly into the pre-season longline work which is a huge event. I watched them work the other day and I commented to Bryan,

“It just has no end, does it?”

“No,” he replied. “It doesn’t.”

Little Victories

It occurred to me that I should acknowledge the first official day of George’s Dungeness crab season. They call it “Dump Day” because the crab boats have the green light to set all of their pots. They aren’t allowed to bring the pots back on board, though, for one or two more days. I can’t remember all of  the rules or reason to it all, but as of 3:00 a.m. yesterday, the Vis was heading out to set the first Dungeness crab pots of the season.

I hope George’s return to fishing has gone smoother than my return to solo parenting. Admittedly, this has not been the most seamless transition. Both little ones are sick with terrible coughs, so we have been staying at home and taking a break from participating in our regular activities, like teaching Jazzercise. Add their sickness to the over-the-top excitement and sleeplessness from Christmas and the confusion over George’s departure, and I have a rather trying situation on my hands.

Thank goodness for my friends, who help me out with the dogs and kids by showing up offering assistance and sending e-mails of encouragement.

Most commercial fishing wives and mothers will tell you one of the things they’re most proud of when their husbands are gone is how self-sufficient they become. Along those lines, I have to share the two things I’ve managed to accomplish in the two days George has been away.

First, I discovered what a “cross dowel bolt” and a “cross dowel nut” were (not to mention an allen wrench) when I set about the adventure of setting up Eva’s new artist’s easel. Setting up her easel was a big deal, for I am a girl who cannot follow a map and possesses no spacial reasoning skills. Surprisingly, when I discovered I’d asssembled half of her new easel backwards, I was able to undo all of my work, start again, and complete the job correctly.

The other accomplishment revolved around Eva’s dresser. I was not happy when I looked into her room and discovered that Eva (or was it Vincent?) had removed all of the dresser drawers and took the whole thing apart. After experiencing a moment of panic and locating the phone to call my dad to come help me, I halted. I took a deep breath, re-assessed the situation, and finally managed to put it all back together.

The dresser, that is.

Whew. Two days down, months and months to go…