So I went through Chicago…

The photo below was taken in Chicago…

IMG_6849 I had to leave the fishing grounds early to go to a teacher conference in Nashville, TN.  It was tough leaving the grounds because we were making pretty decent money and the weather was still calm.  I hope that’s a harbinger of things to come.

I was really tired during the entire trip because I slept only three hours on Sunday and four hours on Monday.  It took three hours to get from the fishing grounds just off Mab Island to the slip where I tied up my boat in Auke Bay. 

The next day, I woke up at four and went to take a shower.  Note to self: bring quarters to the harbor next time I want to take a shower.  I got to the shower so early there was nowhere to get any change, so I started preparing for the shower without a towel from the sink routine, but then I discovered that my taxi arrived 15 minutes early and so I went outside and got some quarters from him.  They really do have some nice facilities there at Auke Bay (Juneau’s northern small boat harbor) and it was rally nice to get cleaned up.

On the way to Nashville, we went through SeaTac Chicago.  I love both those airports.  The hallways are so big and dramatic.  Above is a shot of one of the concourses.  What I really like is the curved glass windows

IMG_6837In Seattle, I ate a HUGE burrito at the Qdoba Mexican Grill at the food court Pavilion that overlooks the tarmac.  It was delicious, but ungainly.  Instead of making a tubular shape out of the burrito, they folded it into a square.  Bummer.

In general, I dislike traveling, but I do like seeing the airports and going into the bookstores to look at the new titles.

A Sailing We Will Go!

Bob called early this morning and asked if we wanted to go sailing!  The plan was to take the boys in the morning, so we settled on gathering at the boat at 10 AM sharp.  IMG_5444

The Greta is a 35′ fiberglass sailboat that Bob & Margaret (My In-Laws) have owned for as long as I’ve known them.  The came to Alaska aboard her and toured SE Alaska until the decided to settle at the Senior Village in Haines. IMG_5462 Back before we had the boys, when bob was trying to go sailing once a month, he’d often bring me along to help man the lines or to steer while he set the sails.

The Greta (short for Margaret) is in immaculate condition, as Bob is quite faithful about polishing the hull each year and also varnishing the teak when it’s time.

Boats are great places to learn tons about the weather, physics, water, wind, and life in general.  IMG_5469Plus they’re great places crawl around and explore.  Margaret fed the boys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches down in the galley while Bob set the main sail to the second reef as we headed out of the harbor.   There were quite a few whitecaps on the water just out past the protection of Port Seward.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons the Pluckers decided to stay in Haines when they were casting about for a home all those years ago, is that a decent sail is to be had just minutes out of the small boat harbor.

In the picture below, it looks like Bob was doing all the work.  But in reality, it was Bob at the wheel, me taking pictures, and Margaret on kid duty.  You do the math.

IMG_5508 Both Luke and Mark got a brief chance at the wheel before it got a little to windy for fun and we headed back in to the harbor.  Basically we made a straight shot for Skagway, then came about into the wind and headed back home the way we came.  Distance one equals distance two.

It was slightly overcast/scattered clouds when he called this morning, and we had three adults for three kids.

The underside is now ready to go.

Well, a bit more boat maintenance is done now.

After the closure on Tuesday at noon, I put the boat on the grid at 10 pm with the help of Orion Falvey and my new greenhorn deckhand, Matt Wagner.  At 2 am, I got up and changed the zincs.  At three AM, I went to Orion’s house to get the boys, because they wanted to help and use the power washer.  At six AM, the boat was clean, so I took them home and crashed on the Windbreaker at 6:30.  At 7: 15, Holly showed up at the boat with a cheerful grin and two very cute boys.  I regret to say that I didn’t receive them with open arms, but sent them away in a gruff manner. 

But of course I couldn’t sleep after that and had to get up and go find them.  They were a the harbor bathroom, of all places.  Mark was in the bathroom doing #2, as Luke rode around on Holly’s back in the backpack. 

We made up.

The first tide didn’t lift me off, as it may have.  It was touch and go for a while, but for another shift on the grid, so it was back to work.

At precisely high tide, and with only four feet of water over the lowest section of the grid, John White pulled up in the Glacier Point behind me ready to put one last coat of bottom paint on her before she left town with her knew owner from Tenake Springs (price for the Glacier point and five nets: $25,000.  Wow.  That was a deal.  That’s what I paid for the Windbreaker with no nets, and no nice looking boat).  Note to self: don’t buy a gillnetter on spec (speculating to sell it later at a profit).

Starting at 1 pm, I re-power washed the boat, then worked for a few more hours.Working by myself on the grid this second time was not too smart.  All the climbing up and down, all that bending and leaning under the hull kinda left me itired.

But…  Now…

The Windbreaker has a new coat of black Bottomkote @ $119 for the single gallon, plus new zincs, plus another go ’round at stopping that infernal leak in the lazzarette.  This time to stop the water from spoiling the 4200’s seal, I created a negative air pressure space in the lazzarette.

I used duct tape to seal off the two vents into the lazzarette which are near the fuel fill pipes, then removed the hatch cover astern of the reel and covered it with cardboard taped to the deck all around to seal in the air; through the cardboard I cut a hole the size of my shop vac hose, then stuck the vac on suck duty for three hours whilst I removed the rudder nut and repacked the surfaces with fresh sealant and let it set up.  I let the vacuum run for three hours like that, constantly removing the possibility of any water leaking by force of gravity out of the lazzarette. 

I will be interested to see if this solves the problem.  I’m going to tighten down the rudder stuffing box tomorrow until there is no drip. 

Then we’ll see who’s boss.

The first Mab Island Opener is now in the bag

It was a good week (it’s strange that the week is over and it’s only Tuesday afternoon but I go up on the grid tonight at nine, which makes it an all-nighter for me).  We got more fish than we expected and are hoping to get more money for them than we need.  I’m not sure what the price is going to be, but all the rumors are that the price will be better than last year, which is fine by me.

Matt Wagner is my deckhand and he learns fast, is strong, cheerful, and wakes up really quickly.  He’s getting his sea legs pretty fast too, and is toughening up well too.  There is a lot to learn for him, but there’s a lot to learn for me as well, and I’ve been doing this for five years.

I’ll try to come up with a good story in the next few days.  Stay tuned.

One Week Down…

Saturday, June 03, 2006: 

So, I’m done with my first week of gillnetting now. The plan is to go fishing every week this summer, so I generally will not be able to update this page on Sunday through Wednesday or so, but that will vary.

Mark just climbed back into bed, stepping over my head.

The fishing was good, the Kings were there for us, but it’s good to be home.  Yesterday was our FIVE year anniversary, so we celbrated by eating out at the Fireweed: half canadian bacon and half veggy.

Luke just woke up. Have a good day!