We left town on a Friday - which might cause some old timers to gasp. Leaving port on a Friday is one of those classic superstitions that we still think about even when we don’t follow them. There are a few more that we joke about - like no whistling in the wheelhouse, no talking about horses (or pictures of horses or really anything to do with horses) and nothing green on the boat. We do console ourselves by backing out of our slip, which supposedly alleviates the jinx...
Yes, that’s right, we realized that there was definitely an unhappy bear cub close and coming closer - the woods were so thick you could barely see 5 feet in front of you. Dave started running towards the beach, yelling at me to “MOOOOOVE” and I moved - it’s a miracle that no one broke an ankle (although my quads are still killing me 4 days later). We scrambled down to the beach, got the Johnny Cake back in the water and rowed home.
Sunday came quick and bright. The day after the longest day of the year and it was going to be a hot one! We headed to Kingsmill, got our gear in the water without a hitch and pointed south. There were a few other trollers working in front of us, groups of whales eating breakfast, and a very soft breeze that carried the sweetest scent from the mainland. It wasn’t too long before my inside line was jumping and I ran to the pit to pull it in. Dave was on the phone with Nobletech trying to deal with an issue with our auto pilot, so I enjoyed a quiet moment to myself, pulling up empty lines until I got to my last spoon.
No matter how many kings I pull up to the boat, each one makes my heart quicken. However, some make my heart pound hard - the adrenalin begins to course into my blood and my breath shallows. Sometimes I can tell the fish is going to be a struggle to get over the rail. This was one of those kings. He was big, heavy and I let him swim alongside the boat for a moment. A real slug. I wanted to call Dave in for backup but he was occupied. What a great way to start the season! I took a deep breath and calmed myself. The fish was hooked good and I was ready.
The first thing we do when a fish comes up to the boat is try and stun it as quickly and carefully as possible. A swift blow to the top of the head knocks the fish out and (at least I tell myself this) allows you to bring it on board with the least amount of suffering.
We had a couple good days at Kingsmill, then ran for town accompanied by a happy pod of white sided dolphins leaping into the air and sending sprays of rainbows up along our bow. We stopped to fish for a while at Morris Reef before heading into Peril Straits as the sun set. We anchored in Poison Cove for a nap to wait for a 5 AM slack tide to make our way though Sergius Narrows and back towards Sitka.
Once we get back to town it’s going to be a crazy few days getting squared away for the summer king opener so we're anchored up just outside of Sitka enjoying a few more hours of quiet. We’ll deliver these fish to the Seafood Producers Co-op this afternoon since we’re not freezing yet. Someone (me!) will have to shovel out the leftover ice from our hold so we can get ready to freeze and then there will be laundry, groceries, water, and more before we head back out on Saturday.
Hope you are enjoying summer as much as we are!