A Word After Kings: Wrapping Up the July Opening

16 07 2011

I’m cheating with this one, sweeties.  After our 12 day king salmon opening, my written voice is as stiff as my hands, and our imminent return to sea has no leeway for an awkward post that can’t hit its stride in a timely manner.

The short update is this. Yes, we were briefly back in Sitka. Yes, we got lucky. After a steady string of dismal July king openings, it’s a welcome change to wrap up with gratitude instead of despair. In spite of some challenging weather, we enjoyed ourselves, the beautifully-behaving boat, and even some decent numbers of fish. Neither of us were really ready to quit when it closed on Tuesday night – pretty much the opposite of our standard scene, where we struggle to hold everything together to the end and are desperate to slam the door on this high-stakes opportunity.

Yesterday was a blur of delivering fish, fueling up and changing oil on both engines, cleaning the fish hold, doing laundry and getting 16-day past due showers, and catching up with friends. Today offered more frenzy: groceries, refilling the water tank, getting rid of our recycling, sticking a pile of bills in the mail. Folks often think that our time on the water must be such hard work, but I’ve come to realize that being in town and preparing to go fishing is far more exhausting that the fishing itself.

I’d intended to trade the narrative storytelling for the photographic, this time around. Got some fantastic photos of the Nerka in action from one of our partners, and had hoped to share a little slideshow in place of the words. But uploading even one picture is too much for the meager internet connection I’ve managed to find here. “Here” is a glossy-veneered blond picnic table incongruously plopped down on the edge of the harbor parking lot. It’s quarter after 11, and the sky has finally passed through indigo to deepen into Southeast Alaska’s mid-July not-quite-dark. It’s a still, overcast evening, with the smell of a light sprinkle just on the other side of the clouds, perhaps. I’m looking out at the harbor that’s still heavily steepled with trolling poles, knowing that the exodus will begin tomorrow.

It’ll begin with us. The clock is already set for 5 a.m., when we’ll untie and start the search for coho that will dictate most of our next 8 weeks. Cap’n J and I are pretty fired up this year – driven – so we’re eager to get a jump on this first coho trip. They’re small this early in the season, and it will take a lot of them to fill even the Nerka’s modest fish hold. If we get lucky and land on ‘em, we could be back to the dock in 10 days or so. Hopefully we’ll have a better report for you with that turn-around. Until then, calm seas and clear skies to you. Be well, all.


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