Alaska Stories

Find What You Love and Let It Kill You

The season is over and I’m home now… or what passes for home when what you have left of physical possessions is in boxes under a carport at your parents’ place, next to the half-finished shell of what will eventually be your tiny house.  I’m overwhelmed with an exhaustion borne of 71 days of work… Continue reading Find What You Love and Let It Kill You

Alaska Stories

Bristol Bay pre-season, in pictures

It has been a slow start again to the season.  2013 the fish came early and in abundance and the last two seasons we've geared up early, just in case... all for naught.  It's nice for us in the office.  We get a slower start and more time to acclimate and get things ready.  The forecast… Continue reading Bristol Bay pre-season, in pictures

Alaska Stories

Back in Bristol Bay

It’s mid-afternoon Mug-Up* on the 6th day of my tenth salmon season in Bristol Bay, Alaska. This morning we had partial blue skies and the cold sunny light of early June, but now the grey shrouded sky blends into the floodtide waters of the Naknek River and rain streams down the windows of the office.… Continue reading Back in Bristol Bay

Alaska Stories

Even Glaciers Get Boring

It is dusk in Stephen's Passage, and I am on wheelwatch as the boat travels north from Petersburg, back to the fishing grounds near Juneau.  We are into fall weather now... the sky is a leaden grey and the sea is choppy, breaking into white topped curls, the wind blowing the spray off the waves… Continue reading Even Glaciers Get Boring

Alaska Stories

The Rainbow

Anchored in Slocum Inlet.  Nasty weather today- rain, heavy wind.  We are spinning in fairly rapid circles around the anchor.  The gillnetters in their tiny boats are being thrown all about in the chop - makes me nervous for fall fishing in Puget Sound.  Peaceful day - we left Gastineau at 3:30 a.m. and went… Continue reading The Rainbow

Alaska Stories


Last week, everyone was all aflutter that Fish and Game was going to open up the back end of Port Snettisham.  A hatchery sits back there and the biologists believed half a million pounds of salmon were there in the water, waiting to go up the rivers to spawn.  ADFG announced Friday that they would open the… Continue reading Snettisham

Alaska Stories

The First Two Weeks

From the bow of the boat, I can see the lights of Petersburg sparkling red and yellow in the distance. We slide by Sukoi Island, a black silouette in the middle of Frederick Sound. My cell phone lights up- reception. Contact. I stand at the bow and check text messages as the cold wind slides… Continue reading The First Two Weeks

Alaska Stories

Adventures on the Carole B

I'm writing this from the wheelhouse of the F/V Carole B. We're running north up Chatham Straight - Baranof Island is 2 miles off the port side and Kuiu Island maybe 8 miles off starboard. On both islands the mountains are dark silhouettes, mist-wreathed and disappearing into low clouds. I see an occasional ship but… Continue reading Adventures on the Carole B

Alaska Stories

So Go Ahead, Wait On the Scent of Salt, Call This Our Life

The season is over. The boats are up on blocks, the dock is empty, the cannery is silent. My bedroom borders on the boatyard, and through the open window I hear the sound of rain outside, dripping and plinking on the back decks of boats scrubbed clean of fish slime and saltwater. They are silent… Continue reading So Go Ahead, Wait On the Scent of Salt, Call This Our Life

Alaska Stories, Uncategorized

Salmon Wakes

Today, I am tired. It is our third week of 16-hour days. 7 days a week. Of ringing phones and constant emergencies, questions, endless paperwork, a crush of pressure to get it all done NOW. And you know what? Compared to everyone else around here, I have it easy. The cannery workers have been working… Continue reading Salmon Wakes