Sunday, July 30, 2017

Halibut Fishing -8

"The Aleutians are the world's longest Archipelago of small islands. The western most island,Attu, though part of the North American continental shelf, was the only inhabited American in the Eastern hemisphere. From here it is five times zones back to the Alaskan capital, Juneau (about the same distance as that between Atlanta and San Diego). 
At the Bering Straits, Alaska and Siberia by a scant 57 miles of ocean. From Anchorage to the far end of the chain is almost 2000 miles. There are more than one hundred islands.
The Tropical Japanese current merges from the south with the cold dry Siberian air mass over the Aleutian Chain. Although the warm current kept the ocean ice free the year round, the clashes of forces creates the world's worse weather. It is perhaps the only place on earth where high winds and thick fog attack simultaneously- round -the clock. Aleutian gales sometimes reached 140 mph; yet most of the island has no more than eight or ten clear days a year. There is no calm or dry season." 
Adapted from " The thousand Mile War" by Brian Garfield.

The Second Round (From my Journal)

With a load of Humpies(Salmon heads for baits?) off the FV Sparrow Castle, we left Sandpoint - loaded too with ice and rations- our destination was Dutch Harbor. It was a grueling 30 hours of tossing and rolling through gale conditions and somewhere along the Unimak Pass I realized that being at the bridge in a tossing sea can be a harrowing experience, especially find in the nick of time that a huge ship is hardly a few hundred yards away from you - and is headed in your direction....What do I do?! Wake up the skipper!...
This was one of my worse nightmares while awake and somewhere in my Blog I had written a detail description of what really happened that miserable night and i think I titled the post as "The Ghost Ship of Unimak Pass," If you click on the search button you might be able to read about it as i am not about to rewrite the whole experience again.
I was never a fisherman and i found it out in th worse possible ways as i was seasick almost the entire trip. The ceaseless motion of the boat being thrown about by gale winds kept me throwing up and confined to my bunk. There times when I felt that there was nothing left in my stomach but yellow bile, bitter to the taste and that my head was about to split in two. As Phil Roe my fellow crew member remarked, I could not made up my mind which way to let it all out in the outhouse! I was so close to loosing my sanity as i was totally out of it with pain and agony, it was worse than being sick with Malaria which I experienced when I was a teenager; maybe not, Malaria was bad. However with Malaria you at least have bed to crawl to but not on a fishing boat that was being constantly battered by huge waves.
Having survived the fishing trip in the Bering sea was something I could never forget and would never want to repeat again. I fulfilled my wish to experience a life out in the open seas and my trip to Alaska was like a buoy tossing around in my lifetime of experiences. It is sad that most of my drawings and pictures taken of my trip have been missing or misplace over the years, but in mind's eye the experiences lives like they had happened yesterday. Painful as it was there times that i enjoyed being in the moment in time watching a Bald Eagle snatch a huge salmon out of the water or a walrus rising out of the blue almost knocking me overboard form being surprised, or a small  puffin diving back and forth underneath the belly of the Iceland and all thes happened while everyone else was in their bunks sleeping. These were moments when I felt my Lord watching over me, that despite the suffering there were gifts that words could never do justice to.
I was never paid a single cent of the catch but for me it was a free  rough ride with food and lodging paid for. For me it was the experience itself that was worth the whole trip, That i was there and did that.


1 comment:

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