Wednesday, July 11, 2012


The real fun begins once the net hits the water.

Setting the net takes about 15-20 minutes (finding a good spot and setting the net down into the water) and then you've got about 60-90 minutes of "free time".

I spent most of my "free time" on the boat either cleaning, cooking, playing/"summer schooling" with Braeden, reading or sleeping. I tried to get as much sleep as I could (about 8 hours per day/night).

Playing Lego Ninjago with R&B

Shooting a shotgun for the first time. No holes in the boat, go me!

After the net sits for 60-90 minutes you reel it back in, and provided you've hit a good run of fish... you pick! "Picking the net" means you pull apart the net and pick out any fish that have entangled themselves. Ryan is lightning quick (20+ years of experience gives him an unfair advantage) but by the end of a few sets I had figured out how to be a help and no longer a hinderance. 

King salmon! 

B's "fishing suit" - he later purchased a water gun with his earnings, which he used to "clean the fish" on deck. Very helpful ;)

My strong Alaskan fisherboy *that's fish blood on his arm! He didn't cry or fuss about getting dirty. SO proud!

Me and the B

Net work

Net work is a necessary evil in the fishing industry.

When gillnetting for salmon, different sized mesh (net) is required - to catch different sizes of fish and by the Fish&Game to not catch certain sizes of fish.
There are various types of net work, and in order to have the correct net on the boat, repair holes/tears or to replace aged equipment a fisherman must do net work. Usually the crew helps because it is in their job description.
I help every season because I love network. Not. 

It is not fun. It is not quick. It is not painless. 

What I do like about net work is the chance to spend time with Ryan/the crew (if he has one).
We talk, listen to music, joke around, sometimes the weather cooperates and I get to work on my tan. But best of all? Ryan is always extra sweet to me when we work together (he knows I can say "F this network!" and walk away anytime I want).

While in Wrangell we had some net work to get done. Here is a photo-log to give you an idea:

The net is spread between two metal pole thingies * very technical terms in the fishing industry! Leadline (the lead-filled line that sinks the bottom of the net) on one end, and corkline (the corks are knotted to the top of the net - when in water it floats) on the other end.

Each of these corks (this repair was about 100 fathoms worth) is individually knotted onto the net. 
First step: untie every.single.cork.
That's about 600 feet of cork. 
Fun stuff!

While I untied the corkline, Ryan sewed the two pieces of net together - that white pointy thing in his hand is called a "needle", it is loaded with thin twine-like line. 

After the net is sewn together, Ryan attaches the leadline to one end and we tie the corkline back onto the net.

Once both ends are attached the whole net (about 250 fathoms) can be reeled back onto the drum (the big metal wheel on the stern of the boat). 

Lennie <3's net work! 


Some of you may not know my boyfriend is a commercial fisherman - to be more specific - a gilnetter.

Most gillnetters have a crew member to help them maximize the amount of fish caught during the "peak" of the season - more hands on deck means more fish picked out of the net - means more money. Cha ching!

Ryan usually has a crew just for the peak (July), but this season we planned to have me and B on the boat for the entire season.
Free crew for Ryan. Family time for all of us. A new adventure for me & B.
Alas, pans changed, so B and I were only on the boat for the month of June.

Ryan went to Wrangell in May to start the King Salmon season, so in order to join him, B and I had to travel. Normally I would prefer to take a flight, but Alaska Airlines smokes crack and was trying to charge us $400 for a 45 minute flight. Ha. Right.

I am not a big fan of the ferry, but because I refused to pay for AK Air was willing to compromise, we hopped on the Matanuska for a 12 hour sailing.
The last time I went on a ferry trip was 12 years ago for sports/choir.
When I travel, I mean business. I like to get to my destination as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Sitting around on a big boat, with lots of strangers and a child who doesn't handle unstructured time very well is not my "cup of travel tea".
To make things easier on all parties I booked a sailing from 7pm-8 am. AND a state room - the best $79 ever spent!

B and I slept for most of the sailing, woke up at 6 am for some cold cereal in the cafeteria and then watched the boat dock in Wrangell.

B walking down the ramp to the Matanuska

B quickly fell in love with Wrangell and even jumped on Ryan's "Lets move to Wrangell" bandwagon. 

In Wrangell, good times with friends always involves a good party :)

R was so good about showing B how to prep the boat for a week of fishing. B had his own jobs/chores on the boat. Filling our water tank was job #1.

Stay tuned and you'll see what my jobs were...

Good intentions part deux

It is 7/11/2012 @2:20 pm.
I am sitting at my MacBook, staring at the screen.
There is not an ounce of motivation in me to write. Anything.
This entry is forced and might be pointless. Bear with me, I'm trying to get the "blog juices" flowing again :)

I mentioned it before, I have the best intentions to use this blog as an outlet for 'me', but life keeps getting in they way - darn it!

School (for B)/work (for me) ended June 1st. Since then our lives have been a crazy whirlwind of travel, commercial fishing, cooking/cleaning, playing, and homework. Rinse, lather, repeat.

To be fair, I didn't plan on having much free time this summer. Ryan and I planned on me being his crew member/fishing with him all season - taking distance courses, parenting/crewing/cooking on a fishing vessel doesn't leave much "free time"!
Welp, plans changed... which totally threw me for a loop. *Why is this so hard for me? Because I have an unstoppable compulsion to control everything. Duh.*

With this change of plans came infinite possible ways to waste spend my time for 2.5 months.

Here's to hoping I will actually blog about my time well spent ;)