Archive for Dungeness Crab

“Rigging Gear…or Drinking Beer?” (via Highliners and Homecomings)

a dungeness crab

Image via Wikipedia

This is a post I wrote almost three years ago when I first started this blog.

I was reminded of it recently after my friend, Beth, mentioned that she’d mistakenly lost some of her blog posts. I wrote and told her that I, too, had lost a post before and this was the one. I’d spent all of one night three years ago grieving its loss and trying to re-write it when I discovered the Internet and taken a snapshot of the post and saved it.

Hence, I was able to retrieve and re-post it.

Beth and I each got a chuckle out of this post the third time around, so I’m posting it again for those of you that weren’t with me from the very beginning. :-)

(From November 15, 2007) George is working down at the harbor with Brett and my dad each day, overhauling crab pots and getting the boat ready for the Dungeness crab season, which is set to start in December. He leaves the house each morning at 7 a.m. and returns each evening at 6:30 p.m. I spent yesterday working on this blog, emptying the dishwasher, getting a crockpot meal going for dinner, moving Vince from baby swing to bouncy seat and back … Read More

via Highliners and Homecomings

Business As Usual, Part Two

About a year ago I wrote a post called “Business as Usual” that focused on all the “craziness” that accompanies the beginning of the coastal Dungeness crab season each year. We aren’t even to Halloween yet, but rumors and anxiety are already in full force.

I was walking down the hallway in my house a few weeks ago when I heard George talking on his cell phone in the living room.

“No,” he was saying. “I wouldn’t worry about that. I wouldn’t spend one more second worrying about that.”

“Worrying about what?” I asked when George hung up the phone. “Who was that?” I continued, never one to mind my own business.

“It was B.W.,” George answered.  (note: I’m using initials to protect identity!)

“What did he want?” I inquired, just a little nervous.

“He heard they weren’t buying crab this year,” George said. “But that can’t possibly be true. It’s nothing to worry about. Besides, whatever is going on now is bound to change when our season starts in two months, anyway.”

George placed a call to K. next. “Are you buying?” he asked. “Uh huh. Yeah. Okay. Thanks.”

“Is he  buying?” I asked George after he hung up. “Of course he is,” George replied.

But, B.B. told B.W. that nobody was buying crab.

K. said they were buying crab.

B.B. told George what he really told B.W. was that T. said K. wasn’t buying crab on the weekend, not that he wasn’t buying crab at all, and that B.W. misunderstood.

“I never believe T. anyway,” said George. “T. twists things around to suit T.”

Today, I asked C.W. if K. was buying crab on the weekend.

C.W. “texted” K. and passed along my inquiry.

K. replied that he didn’t know if they were buying on the weekend or not, but in any event, the Dungeness crab live market was in the ditch because the Asian market was buying some “other” kind of crab.

“That doesn’t sound good,” I said to C.W.

“Well, never mind that,” C.W. said. “It’s all bound to change in two months, anyway.”

It’s so hard to keep up…and the season hasn’t even started!

Note on Comments Regarding Sarah Palin & Commercial Fishing

The past month’s discussion regarding Alaska Governor (and current Republican V.P. candidate) Sarah Palin has made for a very interesting blog experience here at Highliners and Homecomings.

I’ve just published a comment from an Alaska fisherman regarding Palin.  I chose to publish this comment in a post in its entirety because it was a direct reponse to Kodiak Fishing Wife’s comment, which I also published in a post.

If anyone has comments to add, I may publish them in the comments section if they are respectful and considerate. I’ll consider most seriously those comments that have something to do with the candidates and commercial fishing.

In spite of all the fun, Palin’s connection to commercial fishing is the only reason I introduced national politics to this blog. (Doesn’t anyone want to hear about how George has resumed painting the boat, or how he drove the kids and me to my Jazzercise District Meeting last weekend? LOL.)

As my dad said last night (regarding the U.S. Presidential Race):  “Don’t worry, there are only two more months to go.”

While we’re counting down—I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that there is now only one month to go before the crew arrives and pre-season Dungeness crab gear work begins.

Summer, Next Time You Should Come Sooner and Stay Longer.

On my way to teach Jazzercise this morning, I was surprised to see that leaves from the trees lining the Boulevard had already turned orange and fallen. I was dismayed to observe the thick bunches in which they’d gathered alongside of the road. I don’t get out much and haven’t driven around a lot lately, so I’m not sure when this happened!

Fall has traditionally been my favorite season. I love to fill out my new calendar, pack away my capris in favor of jeans, and otherwise get ready to bunker in for the long winter. I love a wild storm and wait eagerly for the wind to pick up and the rain to pour. As we get closer to December I cross my fingers for snow and get agitated if it’s been in the forecast but doesn’t happen. I love the Arctic blasts that come through, especially the one from two years ago that lasted weeks and weeks. I will never forget that icy season as long as I live!

I also look forward to the start of Dungeness crab season gear work during the fall. I enjoy the energy surrounding the start of the season and the humor and stories the crew brings with them after they arrive to help paint buoys and rig pots for the upcoming season.

This year, though, I’m not quite as eager for it all to begin. I feel a little more tired, a little less energetic, and could use a few more weeks of sunshine. 

This pre-season apprehension could be due in part to the fact that it’s been a long week; both little ones have been sick for the second time in less than a month. When one-year-old Vincent’s cold started to take a nervewracking and all-too-familar turn, we brought out his tiny breathing mask and two different types of inhaler medicines to help ensure that the cold didn’t turn into a total disaster. So far, we’ve managed to hold it off.

It will all settle out, just as it always does. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures from the last little bit of summer fun that we had!


They’re only this little once.

Uncle Kyle grilling salmon at the neighborhood barbecue.

Nobody puts more flair into babysitting than a Daddy.

Eva ate snacks, drank milk, dozed off, and sat happily buckled into the seat of this tractor for two whole days watching Daddy work. She came inside at night only to sleep.

Is it August…or November?

Well, I’d never believe it was August 24 if I didn’t have my Mom’s Plan It engagement calendar right here next to me for proof. I spoke with my own mother via telephone today and we agreed that today’s weather–along with that of most the summer–has been rather pitiful.

To be perfectly clear: It feels like fall!

The rain never quit today. The sky’s gray without the barest hint of light, and there’s even a little wind. To top it off, I seem to have caught the rather fall-like virus that a good percentage of people I know have been getting. Hello cough, sore throat, and earache.

Seriously! It’s still August. Not November!

We had a dinner party here Saturday night.  Our honored guests were Brett, Danielle, and their sweet baby, Mila. Even the party was somewhat fall-like, as the arrival of our guests almost had me thinking we were already up against the start of the Dungeness crab season.

I half expect that upon waking tomorrow, George will head immediately down to the harbor and start painting crab buoys with Brett!

The calendar says we have at least two months before all of that starts…but at this point, I’m not entirely sure.

I’m posting a few pictures of our evening. Danielle is the most trim and beautiful new mother I’ve seen–almost serene. She does not appear to be the new mother of a four-month old. I felt like I was the postpartum mother, and Vincent just turned one!

In any event, we had a perfect evening and shared many laughs. Even my sister and brother-in-law came by for dinner and ended up tucking my daughter, Eva, into her toddler bed.

Dinner 1

Steph, Danielle, Brett, and George. (A copper Dungeness crab sculpture on the wall, of course!)

Dinner 2 

Mila 1

The second and sixth generations of commercial fishermen?

Back from the Beach

“Husbands, wives, and children experience a variety of thoughts and feelings regarding family life as a result of the comings and goings of fishermen.”

Understanding the Ebb and Flow of Fishing Families

Adapting to Change /Oregon Sea Grant


The only thing that’s for sure in this business of commercial fishing is that nothing is for sure.

The uncertainty starts in November with Dungeness crab season gear work. Who on the crew will be back? Will there be a spot that needs to be filled? When will the crab season actually start? Will there be a strike, will the crab be ready, will the weather cooperate?

After that, it’s on to the Alaska halibut and blackcod longline season. When will the boat depart? When will it come back home? Will the quota be caught quickly, or will there be mechanical trouble, whale trouble, or weather trouble?

You’d hope the uncertainty would end at last with the homecoming of the boat and the start of summer, but no. And it seems like this year, there are more questions than usual.

Will the price of fuel come down enough to make a summer fishery worth doing? Will George have the boat hauled out (at a cost equivalent to one very nice new car) and have the bottom painted?

I have my own questions, too. Should I plan to go to the writer’s conference this year? Will George be home or willing to babysit? Should I have Steph get me a ticket to the Toby Keith concert? Will George be home for Vincent’s first birthday? Can I teach that Jazzercise class that doesn’t have childcare if he isn’t home?

There are so many unknowns in this lifestyle that one never knows from one day to the next what the latest will be.

For example, I was under the impression that George’s final decision was to forego a summer fishery and spend the rest of the summer on boat maintenance, and that he was still undecided regarding hauling the boat out.

So, imagine my surprise when, after exiting a bookstore with Vincent on our recent vacation, I found George sitting on top of a picnic table with Eva by his side, talking on his cell to Brett about not only the schedule to haul the boat out, but about how the price of marine diesel has come down enough to make a summer fishery a good possibility!

I can’t help it; I’m laughing to myself even as I write this.

I’m including a picture of our dog, Toby, that was taken on our vacation. I’m hoping it isn’t the case, but he does seem to be slowing down a bit due to his cancer. His “tired” seems a little more tired, his rest a bit deeper. He didn’t seem as excited as usual to be at the beach, which broke our hearts. He is eating well and his weight is still up, however, and he’s even gained another pound. Still, we’re all a bit worried, so keep sending your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy over to a good, good boy.



The Best Search Term EVER!

One of the things I’ve found most interesting since starting this blog is studying the statistics for Highliners and Homecomings. These statistics include a daily record that tells me how many people have found their way to this blog and what they were looking for when they found it.

When I log on to my “dashboard,” I can read an anonymous list of the specific things that people were searching for when they purposely, or inadvertently, stumbled upon this blog. (Again–just in case you’re wondering—no, I don’t know where or from whom the searches originate. They remain a mystery.)

For example. The following is a list that I copied directly from yesterday’s statistics page and pasted here. It shows specific items of interest that people were looking for just before they were directed to Highliners and Homecomings:


“dungeness crab fishing stories”

work on commercial fishing longliner

what is family life like to a commercial

dungeness crab season

pictures of f/v halibut longliners

spike walker

most deadly job and stats

halibut long line equipment


After I put Eva to bed tonight, I logged on and checked my stats. To my surprise and delight, I enjoyed a good laugh when I read the latest search term that lead someone to this blog. Here it is:


how to deal with a commercial fisherman


Oh, how I wish I knew the answer.

Does anyone?!  Let us know! 


Recent Stats on West Coast Commercial Fishing Fatalities

I read an extremely interesting AP article tonight on regarding the latest statistics on the dangers and fatalities of commercial fishing; specifically, commercial fishing on the West Coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) and Alaska. The full article can be accessed by clicking on the above link.

In a nutshell, the new report from the federal government states that West Coast fishing has one of the highest death rates in commercial fishing, higher even than in Alaska.

The report states that although Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishery has been described as the most dangerous fishery, the Northwest Dungeness crab fleet had a greater number of fatalities and a higher fatality rate during 2000-2006.

Very interesting article, especially if you have ties to both Alaska and West Coast fisheries (including NW Dungeness crab), which we and so many others do.

In my prowl of the Internet this evening, I also stumbled upon a blog that features some interesting photos from the commercial fishing section of Squalicum Harbor.

The first photo shows the town’s original fisherman’s memorial, the Anchor Memorial, that bears the names of several Whatcom County lost at sea fishermen (including that of my brother-in-law, Danny, who was lost in 1997 while fishing for Snow crab in Alaska). There is a new fisherman’s memorial at the harbor now, but the statue looks more like a recreational than a commercial fisherman. Anyway, the fifth picture down shows commercial boats tied up in the harbor, including our very own F/V Vis.

(If you are looking for additional statistics on commercial fishing fatalities, please see the post Commercial Fishing Job Risks: Stats and a Story, from February 17, 2008 in the Highliners and Homecomings archives)