Matt Marinkovich’s weekly At Sea Diary entry is a popular feature of the National Fisherman Web site, and now you can post your own reflections on Matt’s experiences fishing in the Pacific Northwest and North Pacific.
April 27-May 3, 2008 — We had never been so happy to see Cape Spencer than on Sunday, April 27, after surviving the beating we endured on the second day of crossing the Gulf of Alaska. We were done with fishing, the last load of halibut were in the hatch, and we were steaming for Bellingham to deliver.
The whole rest of the trip was beautiful. We had a bit of weather in a couple spots, but it was nothing compared to what we went through in the gulf, so we really didn't even notice.
Queen Charlotte Sound was so calm it was like we never left the inside channels. And we seemed to have the current in our favor all the way home, which seems impossible, but nobody recalls ever going slower than 8 knots. We hit the tide at Seymour Narrows perfectly, and flew through at 17.5 knots!
We arrived in Bellingham at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 1. My first order of business was to drive down to Seattle to pick up my totes so I could transport the Fish for Teeth fish back to San Juan Island.
Since I was heading south and everybody else either needed to grab their cars or wanted to see their wives, I was the southbound transit vehicle for the Discovery crew. I dropped Brett, George, and Roald off at three different spots along I-5, then proceeded to Seattle Marine & Fishing Supply where my totes were waiting for me.
I met with Fawn John in West Seattle and we did some Bristol Bay planning (a.k.a., bull session) for this upcoming season, and I was back in Bellingham, sacked out on the Discovery by 2 a.m.
I was up at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, ready for the delivery-day scramble. I was in the hold pitching off halibut until the last fish was off, which was around 10 a.m. It didn't take long to finish up the paperwork, and the Discovery left the dock around noon. It was the fastest delivery we had ever done. I'm not sure of the exact price, but we got around $4.75 per pound for the load.
Now the plan was to meet in Port Townsend to off-load all the gear off the Discovery. I still had to load up the Fish for Teeth fish into the totes, get dry ice to keep them frozen until I get home, then grab a few items to ship north on the final barge to Naknek. I buzzed all over Bellingham doing my errands, then realized time was getting late, so I zipped down to the Keystone ferry terminal on Whidbey Island, and caught the 4:30 p.m. ferry to Port Townsend.
I arrived just after 5 p.m., which was a few minutes after the boat reached the dock, but it wasn't so late as to catch hell from the rest of the crew. We had the gear off the boat and stored away in record time, and everybody had vacated the boat and was on their way by 8:30 p.m. It was the only time ever we had delivered and taken the gear off in the same day.
I remained on the Discovery until 11:30 p.m., cleaning out the refrigerator and removing any old groceries or produce, and removing all my stuff from every crevice on the boat, which it somehow seems to make its way during the season. I loaded up three garbage bags full of trash and a big box of extra groceries for the workers at the fish plant at the top of the dock. I loaded up the truck, and I was outta there!
I drove around down to the Kingston ferry, crossed over to Edmonds, then headed up to Anacortes to wait in line for the first ferry to San Juan Island. After a restless sleep in the cab of my truck, boarded the 6:10 a.m. ferry on Saturday, May 3, and by 7:30 a.m. I was home at last!
TO BE CONTINUED...
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