Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sorry it's been awhile....

Happy Sunday Everyone-

We have been busy catching lots of Salmon up here. We have been allowed to fish almost every tide and we have been catching a lot more Salmon on the afternoon tides then on the morning ones. We have harvested about 30,000lbs currently. I will give you a more exact amount as time goes on. We have to add up our fish tickets and put them in a spreadsheet in the next couple of days. The new crew has been able to get a lot of practice in, and hopefully now they are ready for the run to hit. The big plug of Salmon should be here any day now. Some years they come early and some they arrive later in July. It always keeps us on our toes.
I’ll keep you up to date.

-Sarah & the crew

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! Have a great day!

Liz's Birthday

Howdy Everyone-

We finished up the day on the 19th with a trip into town to the Red Dog bar. We went there to see some local singers, Wendy & Todd, who play all sorts of local favorites. I went up to request a song and one of the crew pointed out that it was a few minutes after midnight, that means it was the 20th, Liz’s Birthday! I asked Wendy if they could sing Liz Happy Birthday. A few minutes later Wendy yelled out to Liz “HEY LIZ, HAPPY BIRTHDAY” and the whole bar began to sing. After that song they sang the one I had requested “What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor” (which is requested four times a night, every weekend) and we all got up and danced! We had a great time there dancing and singing to all their songs. It was a lot of fun. Then back to camp we went for the night.

Yesterday, the 20th, we spent hanging around the cabin playing games. Liz and David’s cousin Mackenzie made tacos and some yummy dessert. We ate and then headed into town to run some errands and to bring Liz to the airport; she will be out of town on business for a couple of days. Then we headed back to the cabin for some more game playing and then sleep.

Today was also a pretty lazy day. We have been just hanging out working on a couple of projects, reading, playing games, writing letters and such. Tomorrow will be a lot busier. We will be putting in the nets and hopefully catching some fish! I’ll let you know how it goes.

-Sarah & the crew

Friday, June 19, 2009

This was written yesterday on the 18th (our internet was down).

Hello from Alaska-

The crew finished up the night tide on the 16th with something like 5 fish and decided to pull the nets (pull them out of the water) and try fishing another day.

We haven’t put the nets back in the water yet; we are waiting to hear more on how the fishermen are doing elsewhere in the bay.

Yesterday the 17th we cleaned up around the cabins, put up some solar panels (still waiting on a battery from town) and got our cell phones hooked up (we have limited service up here) they are great to use for local calls and emergencies (like the day the fire happened). We decided to bring the crane truck down to the beach to get it ready for the season but on the way the rear differential fell off. Great! I can’t believe the luck we are having. So back into town we went to get the mechanic to fix it. The truck wasn’t checked over very well by the guys who did some work on it this winter, we found the bolds that were holding the rear differential in place were so rusted they snapped in half. Well now we have nice new shiny bolts on the truck and it made its way down to the beach today. Last night we finish up the day with some yummy Salmon chowder and a game of Catch Phrase! Then it was off to bed at about 1am.

Today we have been doing more work around the cabins which included repairing the walk ways to the different cabins and to the beach. Some of the boards are rotten and weak and the others were burned up in the fire. We picked up a few pallets at the cannery and rummaged through some scrapes. Now we have a pretty nice path! We also got the kitchen in the crew cabin in full working order, the sink is now ready to be used and we have already started to use the stove to make coffee and tea. Right now the guys are working on patching up a few holes in the crew cabin and putting in a new piece of plexi-glass to repair an old broken window. We will probably be waiting till Monday to put the nets back in the water; there just aren't many fish out there right now.

Hope all is well where you all are and that you are enjoying your summer!

-Sarah & the crew

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our first week in Alaska 2009

I woke up this morning and realized I didn’t know what day it was. Actually I’m not even sure how long we’ve been here in Alaska so far. That’s what happens when the days and most of the night are filled with light. The sun goes down here at 2am these days, but will never set when we get to the day of the summer solstice. I had to turn on my computer to find out the day, wow, it’s the 16th already! Many things have happened in the last few days. I’ll start with the day we left Seattle.

We had a flight out of Seatac at 1pm on the 13th. My mom drove David and me to the airport in the truck so we could get all the luggage and the two dog kennels in one trip. We each had 2 check bags filled with last minute supplies such as waders, wader boots, power bars, battery chargers, tortillas, canned anchovies, frozen food, cables for our generators, cookbooks, and a few other odds and ends that didn’t make it on the barge north in March. We got on the plane and were off to Anchorage where we jumped on another plane to King Salmon Airport. We collected our luggage and waited for a ride to the cabins 25 miles away in Naknek. We met up with the crew, had dinner, and talked about past years of fishing. We have two new crew members this year who I think will be a great addition to the team. We are excited to have them and to show them how set-netting works!

The next day which was the 14th we got up early and started our day. David took the crew down to the cannery to prepare the boats to launch. Our skiffs are stacked up outside with the plugs pulled out for the winter and all the gear is stored in our net locker. David had the boats pulled down and the crew went to work putting all the equipment back in them; which includes the outboard, the anchor, tie off lines, extra rope, the hydraulic roller and power pack, bailers, fairleads, bailing buckets, and other equipment.

I stayed back at the cabins with Eric and David’s mother Liz. We worked on getting the cabins a little more organized and put the rest of the supplies away that had been shipped up on the barge.

David and the crew came back after 9 hours in the little skiff we call the Grayling. They had had a very difficult time getting thing ready. Nothing was working out like it was supposed to. The hydraulic engine for one of the boats burnt out, the outboard on another boat wouldn’t start, parts weren’t fitting, things were braking, and to top it off the dock crew put the Grayling in the water without the plug in so the boat began to sink. The crew came home exhausted and very frustrated that things were not moving smoothly. We all came into the crew cabin to have a meeting about the day and to talk about plans for the next day. Jake and Shannon our two new guys this year were drenched in water from the trip to the cabins in the Grayling. They went to go change and then we had our meeting. We finished up and started chatting and joking around while some of the crew enjoyed a jar of peaches. All of a sudden Eric yelled out FIRE! We all looked out the window and there was smoke coming from one of our cabins. We all ran out, I grabbed the fire extinguisher by the door and we ran towards the cabin. I pulled the pin out and ran to the side of the cabin where the smoke was. There were huge flames coming out of the loft window. I tried to spray for a few seconds and realized that it wasn’t going to put a dent in the fire at all. The other guys ran around the side of the building to see if they could get inside to save anything, Shannon tried to go inside to grab a big bottle of propane. There was too much smoke and the flames were getting bigger, someone yelled THE PROPANE! Everyone ran over to the side of the cabin to grab bottles of propane. They drug them 20 feet away and Shannon yelled “THERE’S A BIG BOTTLE OF PROPANE IN THE CABIN!” We all ran as fast as we could and ducked behind an embankment. There was still a propane tank in the cabin and one leaning up against the cabin attached through the wall to the heater. We weren’t going to be able to get to those so we needed to keep our distance because they were going to explode. We all just stopped and stared at the cabin blazing. Shannon and Jake were shocked and saddened, this was the cabin that they had been staying in and all of their stuff was gone. They had cameras, cell phone, clothes, books, and all of their gear for fishing in that cabin.

David yelled to Liz’s to call 9-1-1, she had just picked up a cell phone in town a couple of days before and was able to call and get help. It took 10 minutes for the fire trucks to come; everyone was surprised that they were able to make it one the beach to the cabins. But by the time they had gotten there both of the propane tanks had exploded, lifting the roof about a foot off the cabin and the whole cabin was crumbling. There was also another cabin that we used for storage on the other side that also caught on fire. The firemen said that the buildings were too far gone so they would just keep the fire contained and let the buildings burn down. We all stood and watched in silence as the cabins burned to the ground. There was a lot of history in those cabins. Liz’s parents built one of the cabins in the 60’s and Harry (Liz’s brother) built the other one and raised his kids there in the summers. It was sad to see them go but we were all glad that no one was inside and no one got hurt. Some of the things that were lost had sentimental value which is sad; other things can be replaced with a trip to the store. We are not sure exactly what caused the fire: a faulty heater, something falling onto the heater or it could have been some chemicals that were stored in there we just don’t know. On a funny side note all the toilet paper we had in storage went up in flames, we had to make an emergency trip to the store.

Yesterday we drove into town to do some shopping and replace some of the lost supplies. We also went by the cannery and got another boat launched and set all 4 nets and caught one fish. Liz’s brother Harry launched the drift boat too with his two kids Everest and Makenzie. We picked over the burned up pieces of the cabin and found a few things that might be salvageable. We finished up the day with a beef gravy stew and boiled salmon for dinner and collapsed into bed. Shannon and Jake are now staying with the rest of the crew in the main cabin. Some of the other crew members gave up some of their supplies to help out the two guys who now have nothing.

Today after finding out what day it was I went out to play with the dogs in the tundra and then sat down to do some work and write the blog. One group of the crew went into town to launch another boat. The other group including the two new guys went out in the boat to check the nets on the morning tide. During the whole tide they ended up with six salmon. The Run is definitely not here yet, but its coming. We need a few more days to get ready and then we will welcome the Salmon into the Bay.

Hopefully this year I can keep up the blog to let you all know how we are doing up here.

Thanks for reading.

-Sarah & the crew