Thursday, July 30, 2009

We are home!!!

Hello Everyone-

We are back, it’s been a long season and we are glad to be home. We have been busy over the last couple of days working on getting our delicious sockeye salmon here for everyone to enjoy. It will be a couple more days before it is here but we will let you know. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. Hope you all have been staying cool this summer, we are trying too as well.

-Sarah & David

Friday, July 24, 2009


(This was written last night)

Hello All-

So… we were just on our way over to the crew cabin from Liz’s cabin after dinner and there on our walkway was… TWO BEARS!!! Yippes! We grabbed some pots and pans from inside Liz’s cabin and began to bang them together. The bears got the idea and went on their way, back out into the tundra flats. There will be a lot more singing and clapping of the hands around here from now on (that’s to warn the bears to stay away because there are people around).
Today we did a lot of cleanup work. Some more nets got stripped at the net locker (we take the webbing off so we can hang new web for next year), gear was put away into their designated places, we had the cannery take one dump run for us (there will be another tomorrow), and we cleaned up the camp of old wood and had a big bonfire.
The list of things to be done before we go is getting smaller and smaller.

-Sarah & the crew

It’s all coming to an end soon…

(This was written yesterday on July 21)

Hello Everybody-

During last night’s tide the crew brought in 9 fish which works out to about 60 pounds. The run has come and gone for sure. During the tide they decided to stop fishing; they pulled in the nets and brought the boats to the cannery to be lifted out of the water. Wow… it’s over. There is still a lot to do to get everything ready for the winter around here. I think we have fixed all the leaks in the cabins the rain has helped make sure we did it right. Two of the boats have been cleaned and most of the nets have been stripped. I have been collecting garbage and junk at the bottom of the cliff to go to the dump; most of it is rubble from the fire and insulation from the crew cabin. One of the cannery’s has offered one of their trucks and a driver to take the garbage to the dump for us (they had told us this at the beginning of the season after the cabin fire happened), which will be nice.
We have had some crazy winds around here; yesterday the wind got up to 60 mph and is picking up again today. The rain hasn’t been able to make up its mind either. I have just been making a habit of carrying my rain coat with me where ever I go, just in case. I know I was complaining about the hot weather before but I’ll take it back now, I want some sun! The fish have gone now so the warm temperature won’t hurt anything, with a little wind to keep the bugs away.
Today we heard from our neighbor that there was a bear around camp last night. They saw it up by their cabins as it left down the cliff. The dogs were acting kind of weird when they went out this morning; they begin sniffing everything very carefully. Some of the tall grass around our cabins was flattened… Yippes! It was just outside our door; thank goodness I didn’t have to get up to use the outhouse last night! We cleaned up any food garbage hanging around outside the cabins in hopes that he will stay away. I love to see the wildlife around here but I like for them to keep their distance, especially the bears.
Well, time to go eat, enchiladas for lunch/dinner. Yummy! I will write again soon!

-Sarah & the crew

Sunday, July 19, 2009

So you're probably wondering what we have been up to…

Hey Everybody-

We’ve been scratch fishing away up here over the last week and managed to bring in more than 10,000 pounds! We have a goal right now of 180,000 and we are at 179,450… so close. We will get it by next tide for sure.
Right now we have one boat crew working on fishing every tide and the other boat crew (minus one guy) is working on land. We have been doing a lot of repairs around camp this season. In the last two days the second boat crew and I have emptied out the whole crew cabin, put protective plastic up, pulled out all the insulation, repaired a bunch of leaks on the roof, scraped paint off of the outside in preparation for painting, and a few other minor projects around here. We’ve been busy!
During all the busy work David and I walked over to one of our storage cabins to grab some supplies and on the way David was swarmed by hornets that had been nesting under one of the boardwalk planks, and was stung 4 times. I’m not quite sure why they didn’t get me; I think I might have stirred them up just before he walked by… sorry David. We ended up spraying the nest the next day; hopefully they won’t nest there again.
The other day I took Jake, one of our crew members to the airport who had to leave a little early due to a family emergency. We miss him already, but have heard that he plans to come back up next year. Great!
This year the crew has come to Alaska from: Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, Ohio, North Dakota, Arizona, and other parts of Alaska. We all come from so many different places and have different backgrounds yet when we all get together up here we get along really well. I think it’s because we all have some common goals, which are: feeding people delicious Wild Salmon, looking for adventure, and making some money. We all come together like a big family up here; it’s so sad at the end of the season when people start going home. We know we won’t be seeing some of them for a whole year and others for a couple of years due to school, work, etc. This year’s crew was great! I hope they all come back next year!
Well, things are winding down here but there is a little more work to do before we all go home. I will let you know what we are up to as we get closer to the end of the season. We will be out of here at the end of the month.

-Sarah & the crew

P.S. More pictures coming soon... the internet is so slow up here.

Update on fishing in Alaska...

(This was written on July 13, sorry for the late posting)

HI Everyone-

Well surprisingly enough I think the season is winding down… way too early! We never really had what we would call “the big push of fish” up here. On the windy days we had more fish but not a lot more; we never had one of our famous 24,000 pound tides. The most salmon we ever had in one tide this year was 13,000 pounds. It has been a really slow season but we have managed to pull in about 170,000 pounds so far which isn’t that bad. We were really hoping for over 230,000, we are close. Maybe by the end of the season we will have 180,000, we will see. Other than that things have just been going steady. We are harvesting about 2,000 pounds per tide and we still have a week or so to go. I let you know how it goes.

-Sarah & the crew

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An update on our poundage…

Hey All-

Everything has been going well around here. It’s been really hot actually (for Alaska), which I think is keeping the fish away from the beach. We had a good plug of them the other day and thought it was the beginning of a big push of fish, but then it slowed down again. The winds today made the hot weather bearable and brought in quite a few fish during the flood of the afternoon tide but slow down considerably for the ebb. We are at about 120,000 pounds after the end of the afternoon tide, so we are doing well. We still have about two weeks left of fishing even if it’s just scratch fishing we will make it to our goal. We are hoping to beat last year’s total of 230,000 pounds, but we’ll see.

Have you checked out our Flickr Photostream recently?

Click here:

-Sarah & the crew

Yet another FIRE…

(This was written on July 6th)

In the neighborhood; this time the only thing that was lost was an outhouse and a lot of tundra. This happened yesterday at about 5pm. We think our neighbor, two cabins away, threw a cigarette in their outhouse which started the fire. Our neighbor was able to put the fire out on the outhouse but it had already spread to the tundra and due to the winds, was heading toward the west and our cabins. Thankfully the fire department showed up (again) and did everything they could to put it out and they were successful. The fire spread about one and a half miles before it was extinguished.
When I first saw the fire I drove down the beach to the fire chief who was at the bottom of the cliff to ask if we needed to evacuate. He said we should collect up our belongings and to know where they were in case we needed to leave right away but for now our cabins were safe. He also said there would be a helicopter coming any minute to dump water on the fire. He said if that didn’t take care of it they were going to send in a bomber to put retardant on it and if that didn’t work there last resort was to send in some smoke jumpers. I was glad to hear that they had a plan and drove back to camp to let the crew know. Within a few minutes (just enough time to grab the camera and run just beyond the edge of camp) the chopper had arrived with its bucket hanging below and began scooping water from a nearby lake (300 feet away) and dumping it on the fire. This seemed to do very little to the growing flames. The bucket he was using could probably only hold 200-300 gallons, we needed more firefighting power. After about half an hour a couple of firemen came out and told us to go back to our camp and that they were sending in the bomber. They explained that if we were in the way when the bomber dropped the retardant and if any part of it hit us we would be flattened like a pancake and killed instantly. We agreed and went back to camp to watch, hopping that they didn’t miss and destroy our remaining cabins. Within a few minutes the helicopter flew away and a couple of planes came by; one of them was a scout plane and the other was the bomber the fire chief had talked about. The bomber did three passes dropping fire retardant over the course of an hour and a half which made a pretty good impact on the flames. We watched all of the action from near the bunkhouse and a couple of the crew climbed up on the roof. After that we all needed some sleep so we went to our bunks to get some rest. Over the course of the next three hours we heard that there were about 8 smoke jumpers who came in and started paddling the ground with some sort of paddle/fan shaped tool. This morning we heard that they had successfully put the fire out and later in the evening we walked out to the burn site and took some pictures to show just how close it had come to our cabins. Thankfully there wasn’t too much damage and no one got hurt. We have been saved again by the local firefighters and we thank them for watching out for us. We are going to have to bake them some cakes and cookies.

-Sarah & the crew

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We have reached 100,000 pounds!

It took awhile but we are finally there. There is a lot more fishing to be done but we are glad to reach one of our goals. Our next goal is 150,000 pounds which I don't think will be too hard sense the fishing has picked up and it's the beginning of July. I will have an update soon.

-Sarah & the crew

Happy 4th of July (a day late)

Howdy Everyone-

Things are picking up around here but not without some problems. The Ambi-Fisher lost its steering the other day due to the steering column breaking. We got the boat to the dock and had it taken out of the water for a quick fix, it was back in the water 2 tides later, and running great. The fishing has defiantly picked up around here. We started off the season with 3,000-5,000 pound tides and went down to about 400 pound tides; we are now at about 8,000 pound tides and growing. The last tide was a night tide (in the dark mostly) and we ended up with about 6,000 pounds, which is pretty good for a night tide. The fish are going to hit Naknek any day now and we are waiting for them.
We spent the 4th out in the bay fishing, and sleeping in the cabins. I walked over to our neighbor’s house where they had a bonfire and a fireworks show. I chatted with them about the season and talked to some of their green crew about how much work is in store for them in the next couple of weeks. I just got back to the cabins a few minutes ago and am about to head off to bed (its 5 am on the 5th). Have a good night.

-Sarah & the crew

Friday, July 3, 2009

What day is it again? Yawn...

This was written on July 1st.

Hello All-

I thought I would sit down and write a bit to tell you what’s been going on around here. The fish have been coming into Naknek fairly slowly lately but for some reason the processors have decided to put us on limit anyway. This means we are only allowed to deliver a certain amount of fish per tide to them. In this case it was two thousand pounds per permit (we have 4) per tide. This can be very hard to work with because we don’t know how much we are going to harvest in a tide. We found out yesterday it was because Egegik (another fishing area in Bristol Bay) is getting hit hard with Salmon and the processors can’t keep up. Those fish will be heading our way soon, and we are ready for them.
David’s Aunt Jane and Cousin Hannah (Harry’s wife and other daughter) flew in from Anchorage on the 27th. They are here to cook and run errands in town for the crew for the season. It will be really nice to have them here.
A couple of days ago we had quite a wind storm which made it quite a bit harder to go through the nets and deliver. One of our boats had some trouble getting off of the beach after a delivery to the truck. The boat and the crew were beat up pretty badly by the surf and then the boat began to swamp (fill with water). We pulled the boat up on shore and bailed out the water to get it ready to be pushed back in the water for another try. After trying out the mechanical equipment the crew pushed the boat out into the water successfully. There are some good pictures of this going up on our Flickr Photostream.
During the night we ran into another sticky situation. The guys had finished up checking the nets during the night tide and were bringing in the remaining fish from the boats with our ranger (a tractor with tank treads) when they ran into some really thick, goopy mud on the flats. The ranger had about 400 pounds of fish in it and it was singing in the mud. The crew moved quickly to get a tote to put half of the fish in and some rope to pull the ranger out. We hooked up 200 feet of rope to the ranger and the truck and with a good pull freed the ranger from the hole it was sunk in. Some of the crew walked into the hole that remained and found that the mud came up to mid thigh. The fish were then delivered and the ranger was taken to get washed off.
Nothing else really exciting has been happening; just waiting for the Salmon to come. We have harvested about 60,000 lbs to date. We are doing better this year to date then last year, so it’s going well. The run hasn’t even come yet, we are going to get really busy soon!

-Sarah & the crew