Monday, June 30, 2014
Sunday, June 29, 2014
It was pure luxury to be able to sleep for 8 hours in a row! It was only slightly interrupted by what I knew to be Roger's footsteps trying not to wake me as he climbed into my loft to get out the grinder. I know that's not a normal place to keep such a thing, but that's another story for the end of the season. He gets points for three things here: 1) he was getting the grinder to work on the post that was torn off the power roller in yesterday's tide, preparing it to be welded back on; 2) he was giving up sleep to do it and we would all benefit from it; and 3) he worked hard not to wake me up. Considering how hard he was trying, I figured the least I could do was to not let on that I woke up by doing something like offering to get up and help. Really, I was trying to be thoughtful! And he fixed it. It's a bit of a mystery to me all that happened. I understand that it's important to weld out of the wind because if the wind blows away the argon shield, the weld won't work right. So Roger described the process: he took the blue tarp that he had been using to cover the welder and covered himself and his work area. He welded a little bit and checked around to see if the tarp or he was on fire and if not, weld a little bit more. He and I put it into the back of the ranger, along with the brailers that were left on the beach and slid it back into place on the Ambi (yay!! it worked!!)... and then distributed the brailers around the boats for the tide, just in advance of going out for the 1 pm set.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
We had several days of waiting to fish, and then the openings poured in. The first one was on June 24, a 7 hour, mid day opening.
Friday, June 27, 2014
This is just a place holder note to make sure friends and family all know we're all OK and doing fine. Fishing isn't heavy yet in terms of poundage, but it is in terms of time required. That's what people mean by "scratch fishing." We're fishing around the clock and between that and a surprise Seattle project... well, we always say that sleep is for sissies. I should have time to catch up tomorrow. The big news is: David brought the New Boat home today!! Photos and explanations to follow.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
ADFG told us this morning at 9 that 101,000 salmon made it up the river yesterday for a cumulative escapement of 140,000 so far, when they would typically have 26,000 by this time. We've entered the steep part of the season. We had a fishing period this morning starting at 10 am, till 5 pm (though we ran out of water about an hour earlier). At 3 pm today, just before we picked up the nets, we heard and announcement telling us that 195,000 sockeye had made it up the river so far (well ahead of the projected 42,500 typically seen by this date). So we'll go again tonight from 11 pm to 8 am, and then again from 10:30 am to 6 pm. The setnets opened ahead of the drift fleet this morning (we opened at 10; they opened at 11). We did pretty darned well for this time in the season - something over 5000 lbs, we think. I believe the fish went by before the drifters had a chance at them. I do feel for them - one of the big reasons I'm glad I setnet instead of drift is the anxiety and second guessing that I know would come from trying to figure out where to put the net. On the other hand, they are free to move with the fish. And their day will come. Time for a nap between openers.
We got news today that the escapement is building. Yesterday it was almost 13,000 up the Naknek. This morning that had increased to 48,000 and by this afternoon it has increased more to almost 75,000 sockeye. Today’s informational announcement said that if the passage rates continue to increase, we may open tomorrow at 10 AM. They’ll let us know tomorrow morning at 9. Jake sat by the bluff this evening, counting jumpers. This is the time of the season that we all wait for, me with a mixture of excitement, hope, and anxiety.
Monday, June 23, 2014
As the phone woke me up, I was thinking, "It's 4 in the morning, I don't need to answer that." And as the sleep left my head, my thinking revised to, "It's 4 in the morning, and the phone is ringing! Something is wrong and I'd better find out what." Sage apparently wanted to find out what was wrong too, because she got up with me. It looked like she just needed to go out, so I opened the cabin door and the porch door... and she shot out, surprising me and the two young bears that had settled into my garbage, about 15' from my front door. They ran off, not far, or for long. I called Sage back in. She had the element of surprise in the first charge, but I think if she got into it with the bears, she would lose. That's when I registered all the noise coming from the other cabins. The crew was out banging together pots and pans, trying (without success) to run off the bears that David first noticed on a late night trip outside. They didn't go far and I looked for something to throw and could come up with only a couple of tubs. The crew moved closer, taking advantage of the bears' temporary distance and keeping up the noise while I picked up the garbage to bring it inside. (No time for photos, dang it!) The bears had already worked their way through the garbage outside the crew cabin and AJ was picking that up. This is very early for the bears to be here. It's time to improve our garbage management strategies.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Today was mellow.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
This was my birthday! It was lovely: the second clear day in a row and we're not fishing yet so I can take my meditative time with the sink full of dishes. The day started the night before with the ongoing residue of a clear day sunset and then waiting for the tide to go down, finding ourselves surrounded by a small pod of whales swimming out with the tide. Assuming they were all beluga, we wondered about the one gray back we saw. Harry says that some beluga are gray. Mystery solved. Tom Deck, the HughesNet tech that the area is very lucky to have (Will from Fairbanks said he has retired from being ATT's main satellite man) made his way down the beach to tune up my satellite. I feel like I must have misunderstood this, but I think that whatever transmits from my little satellite dish, and whatever comes from it has to actually travel to or from the geo-stationary satellite 23,000 miles away. Was that really 23,000 miles? Tom said the target is about half the size of my cabin. That's some precise aiming. I'm hoping this will mean fewer episodes of "System degraded" where it's better for me if it says "System OK." That was yet another welcome present I know that to many people it doesn't sound like fun, but I really enjoyed preparing dinner for... there were 14 of us. There would have been 15, but Roy got caught by the tide at the end of the Beach Access Road and couldn't make it down. Though I started the preparations alone, it didn't stay that way. Jeff and Sarah were willing to help as soon as I asked, Rohan, Roger, and AJ went to town to do many things, among them: find ginger, green onions and if they can't find jicama, bring back water chestnuts. Carbon returned with the town crew and I learned that he is very capable in the kitchen. A lot of times, it's hard for a new person to step into a prep process and actually help, but Carbon's help really helped. While Sarah and Jeff were focused on the very labor intensive jicama salad (that became an apple/water chestnut salad) Carbon chopped and sauteed the vegetables for the salmon cakes (using the king that Jake had grilled to perfection the evening before) and then grilled the asparagus. Rohan and AJ put the finishing touches on the cake and the crew over at the crew cabin cleaned it up to receive guests. Together, we were almost ready by the time Harry, Ev, and Hannah arrived (Harry on his bicycle!!), followed shortly by Phil and Tom. It was such a thrill to have so much of my family with us. And when they sang Happy Birthday - that somehow surprised me - I'm pretty sure I blushed. It felt like such a nest of care.