Archive for Southeast Alaska Salmon Seining

Welcome Home!!

Here is a small sampling of pictures from the Welcome Home party for the 2009 SE Alaska seine crew. Katie and I had a blast cleaning, preparing desserts, getting flowers and balloons, and putting together gift bags for Dad, George, Bryan, Brett, and Johnny.

It was no easy task while juggling five young children, but we did it.

One thing I appreciate about our crew is that we are like family. We can tease, bicker, laugh, love, forgive, and otherwise operate like any other family. I feel lucky every day that I am a part of such a first-class operation. 

I hope we all enjoy a nice break after an entire year of grinding away at three different seasons. Thanks to all the guys for working so hard to provide for their families. Your work is valued and appreciated by all.

 

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The Fishing Families Getaway Has Arrived

The good news is that my laptop is back at home where it belongs.

Last weekend, the hard drive suddenly crashed. I took my two-year old laptop to the computer doctor, who informed me that the hard drive was disintegrating faster than anything could be saved. I had a few things backed up on a jump drive, but only a few. I said goodbye to many documents, stories, pictures, and 400 songs from my Jazzercise iTunes library (which I did manage to bring back, thank goodness!).

After I dropped the laptop off at the shop, I called to find out the status on my extended warranty. On August 4th, I was informed that the warranty had expired on July 14. Not only did I miss saving $340 by just two weeks, the warranty people said there was not a thing they could or would do for me. Nice!

Oh well. The good thing is the laptop is back in my walk-in closet at long last and works better than ever.

I’ve spent the last two days getting the little ones and me ready for our first annual Commercial Fishermens’ Wives and Childrens Getaway. It’s a trial run. Wish us luck! We’ll need it with a beach house-full of 2 and 3-year olds!

In other exciting news, the website/blog is now up for the new anthology, P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to our Female Friends, in which I have a personal essay. The book is set for release this fall, with a bookstore tour of readings to follow. I haven’t been on a bookstore tour in five seven years, so I’m excited to get out there again.

I’m still thrilled that my “Letter”, which is about the kindness my best college friend showed me after I was unceremoniously dumped by my boyfriend, was accepted along with the Letters of 35 other professional writers and editors.

You can check out the list of contributors and bios here. The anthology is the work of its esteemed editor, sassy gal Megan McMorris (Self, Fitness, Glamour, Parents, Shape), who has authored and edited several other books. I’ve enjoyed the enthusiasm, professionalism, and organization she’s put towards her contributors and the whole project.

See you all after the fishing families break! And good luck to our fishermen as they head into the peak of the salmon season. Can’t wait to see you guys also in a few weeks!!

That Alarming Phone Call…

My phone rang at 7:00 this morning (Sunday). I thought it was one of the children of a good friend playing with her cell phone, so I let the call go. At 8:00 a.m., my phone rang again.

This time, I answered it.

I can’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say, it was the wife of one of George’s crewmembers calling to inform me that another wife had been in  serious accident the night before, and everyone was trying to reach our boat out on the fishing grounds of SE Alaska.

The Coast Guard had been called, text messages were typed, voice mails were left, e-mails were written, the satellite phone was dialed.

Regardless, we could reach absolutely nobody. As my oldest sister, Cassandra, pointed out, “Isn’t it amazing that with all of this modern technology, when there is an emergency, nobody can reach ANYONE?”

This is the scary thing about commercial fishing. You pray for the men on deck, but at the same time, those of us at home need prayers, too. This is not an easy way to live and although it definitely has its rewards, days like these are what keep commercial fishing families bonded and united….and on edge. 

My best to our good friends, and of course, we are all here to help any way that we can. Love to you all!

No Salmon Updates Yet!

It’s been over a week since George and everyone left for the SE Alaska salmon seine season, and a couple of days since they went out on the first opening. I’ve received a few calls from people wondering how the first opener went, but I haven’t heard anything official yet. I assume they fished Sunday and Monday and unloaded the catch early this morning, and expect to receive a call later this afternoon.  I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Wow, and wasn’t that some announcement from Sarah Palin last Friday afternoon? I’ve been enjoying reading all of the articles and Twitter tweets about it, as well as watching the cable news political panels discuss the latest developments.

Now, I will concede that it seems a bit peculiar to leave a Governor’s term just halfway into it, and it was an incredibly risky gamble. Yikes!

However, I’ve always admired Sarah Palin’s spunk and ability to withstand the vicious criticism, appaling personal attacks, and extreme sexism that has been thrown at her since she stepped onto the National political stage. I think she has demonstrated a lot of personal strength in the face of being constantly ridiculed and written negatively about.  It never fails to astound and amaze me what a threat she appears to be to so many!

So, although I’m as confused as anyone else about her latest move, I’m rooting Palin on. I don’t know which direction she plans to take at this point, but I’m waiting and watching with definite interest. No matter what she does–write a book, get a TV show, or increase her presence in National politics–it will be exciting, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds over the next couple of years.

We Miss You Already. You’ve Got It!

The Sweetest and Best-Looking Crew in Southeast Alaska (Brett, George, Dad, Bryan, Johnny)

The Sweetest and Best-Looking Crew in Southeast Alaska (Brett, George, Dad, Bryan, Johnny)

The Boat is Ready to Go Seining

The Boat is Ready to Go Seining

A Final Wave Goodbye

A Final Wave Goodbye

Surely Jesus Loves Fishermen

Last spring, I attended the funeral of a lifelong fisherman and dear family friend, Joe Little. Joe’s funeral was attended by many local commercial fishing captains, crew, and industry people, along with other family and friends. The program celebrating Joe’s life included the wonderful poem “Surely Jesus Loves Fishermen”, which I’d never read before.

 

Surely Jesus Loves Fishermen

 

Surely Jesus loves fishermen

for He chose them for His own,

To be with Him and learn from Him

and someday share His home.

It must have been their trust in God

and patience He found rare,

That keeps them very near His heart

and ever in His care.

  • Anne Kujawa

 

Good luck to Dad, George, Bryan, Brett, Johnny, and to everyone else as you begin the next commercial fishing season. We will miss you and we love you!

Cheers!

Happy Father’s Day!

I keep waiting for a moment of quiet and opportunity to write a new post, but  it’s become clear that with very active almost-two-and-three-year olds in the house, that isn’t about to happen anytime soon. So, I just have to jump in here and say:

Happy Father’s Day

 and

Happy First Day of Summer!

 

For the first time ever, I was actually able to buy George gifts for Father’s Day from  my own little savings account (from teaching Jazzercise and bits of writing/editing). I wiped out half of the account on a new stainless steel dishwasher for the household, as well as his-and-her iPhones for the two of us.

Our previous dishwasher, while only three years old, turned out to be a lemon. It would half-fall out of the cabinet whenever someone pulled out the bottom rack, and the top rack (which didn’t come out at all) could barely stay on its track even just sitting in place. I put up with that thing all through longline season but decided there was no way I was going through the salmon season with it!

As for the iPhones, it was just time to get current. It occurred to me recently that I never talk on my cell phone, and the minutes were getting wasted every month. However, I do a lot with the Internet (blogs, Twitter, Facebook) and thought I should transition into the type of phone that would allow me to do those things. Then, George surprised me by suggesting one day that he was thinking of upgrading to the iPhone, so it all worked out just in time for Father’s Day.

Over the weekend, I ran into another commercial fisherman who was shopping with his small children. He told me he was getting ready to take his boat South on Monday, while our boat plans to head out next Sunday. We’ve all had a great time off, but it’s definitely that time of year when all the fishermen-Daddies go back to work.

In the meantime, Happy Father’s Day, and here’s to a great start of summer for everyone!

A Race to the Finish

This past weekend could not be beat. Our town always puts on two full days of Memorial Day weekend festivities, and this year, my family tacked on two more. As a result, we all enjoyed four full days of parades, parties, barbecues, festivals, music, family, and friends.

Two additional items made the weekend even better; the fact that the sun was out in full force the entire time, and George was home for the festivities for the first time in five years. This past Memorial Day holiday will go down as one of the best!

Here are a couple of pictures from the weekend:

Vincent at the parade

Vincent at the parade

Eva at the parade

Eva at the parade

Ryan and George. What are they doing?

Ryan and George. What are they doing?

The Fam'

The Fam'

In other news, George is hard at work on a couple of projects—getting the boat and gear ready for the upcoming seine season, and building a fence for the backyard. George and my dad have been hard at work every day on the boat, and in his free time, George works on our yard.

In the interest of saving money, George likes to do all projects himself, no matter what they are. He’s a talented and capable guy who can do most anything and because I’ve seen him build fences from scratch before, I know he can do it.

It’s the amount of time we have available that worries me, since we don’t have the luxury of a full summer available. We also want to go to my parents’ beach house for a few days, and George is flying across the country to visit his family. All in the next three weeks. I’ll keep you posted!

Good Times

This week, my dad sent around a couple of links to You Tube videos that featured salmon seining in Southeast Alaska. I enjoyed them so much that I am providing the links so that you can watch them also. Here they are:

F/V Quandary

F/V Pillar Bay

Admittedly, my family and I felt a range of emotions as we watched the videos. We felt a surge of excitement as we watched the huge bags of salmon spill over the sides of these boats, and a familiar pride as we watched the crew celebrate the reward of hard work. I’ll even admit to a little jealousy that it wasn’t us up there filling the hatches, or our own SE Alaska seine videos so beautifully assembled for viewing on You Tube.

My, how quickly time does pass.

When my sisters and I were working for my dad on the back deck of the F/V Vis during the SE Alaska salmon season, there was no You Tube. There weren’t even cell phones. Or i Pods.

We had walkmans and discmans, and one calling card to use at the pay phone at the top of the dock at Bar Harbor, primarily for trying to reach Mom.

But, as I told Dad last night, watching these videos transported me right back to my days as a 20-year-old leads-and-web gal. I was transformed from an anxious mother of two tiny children back to another time. I felt the old thrill of a fantastic set, and enjoyed a knowing chuckle as I watched the guy in the video stab at the ocean with the plunger pole from the bow of the skiff, determined to keep those salmon inside the net. 

Part of my family’s 4th of July celebration was spent talking about these videos and sharing our own memories of Southeast Alaska salmon seining. The other part was spent cheering Eva on as she danced in the living room, observing Vincent as he tried to stand on his own, and assembling on the deck for fireworks-viewing.

Good times, all.