Hooked was initially requested by friends who liked reading my Facebook fishing updates. “I think Tele should write a blog about her adventures at sea,” one declared, and others agreed. The idea intrigued me. I love sharing stories from a lifestyle so foreign to most people, Facebook’s 420 character limit is frustrating for someone of my written verbosity (definitely not a Tweeter, here), and, without a readership to be accountable to, I’m prone to lapsing into literary laziness.
In its development, the vision behind Hooked evolved. It became evident that these stories wanted to fly further, beyond the reaches of familiar friends and loved ones. As cultural values shift toward a deeper understanding of our food – where it comes from, how it reaches our tables – consumers are more interested in knowing their harvester. From our perspective as independent marketers of our salmon, it’s increasingly important for us to build a closer relationship with the public, to educate about the sustainability of wild Alaskan seafood and forge partnerships to manage and protect this stunning resource.
For land-locked friends who aren’t able to stroll down a dock to meet your local fishermen, it’s my hope that Hooked can facilitate that connection, the opportunity to build a relationship – even if only virtually – beyond boundaries of soil and sea. And you, friend? Please share what brought you here, what you’re seeking, what Hooked can offer that’s meaningful to your life.
So here we are:
I’m Tele (pronounced Tell-ah). I went to sea at 7, when my veterinarian parents launched the sailboat they’d been building in our Wasilla backyard. Since then, I’ve spent 22 seasons commercial fishing in Southeast Alaska (salmon, black cod, halibut, shrimp), interrupted only by a tremendously privileged 7 years as a social worker with Seattle’s homeless youth and young adults. Some personal details… I habitually call people “sweetie” and will almost certainly end up peppering Hooked with that endearment. I’m fascinated by people’s stories, obsessed with ravens and other corvids, and am a sucker for delicious baked treats. When not mucking about in boats, I write, quilt, travel, overfeed our yard squirrels, and write old-school, drop-in-the-mail cards as often as possible.
Joel got his sea legs at 2 weeks old. He grew up on the Nerka, and there was never much question about his path – this was a kid obsessed. Soon as the boat came to town, he’d hit the dock, fishin’ pole in hand, and jig for hours. Midway through the 2004 season, his dad turned to him and said, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore… How about you take over next year?” In a hair-raising trial by (almost-everything-but) fire, Joel became Cap’n J at the age of 22. In the off-season, Joel chases adventure with the same fervor he chases king salmon with. He seeks the less-peopled path, surrounding himself in natural beauty and wild places. An aspiring photographer, you can view his work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelbp/ (He also makes a mean pesto salmon.)
Our family isn’t complete without Bear the Boat Cat. After several months in the care of the Sitka Animal Shelter, she joined us in July 2006. Of moss green eyes and a generous waddle, she’s an unlikely fisherman, no interest in fish hearts or the happenings on deck. Instead, she does an excellent job as the Nerka‘s Chief Morale Officer, from the comfort of the bunk.