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 24-27, 2006 — The challenge of this run south was trying to get to Bellingham by Thursday, so we could get a slightly better price for our halibut, which would be available for the weekend market. This added urgency brought the throttle up to 1,600 rpm from the engine and many glances at the logbook to study previous years' transits. It didn't look good for us making it by Thursday at noon, but there was a slim possibility, provided we made the tide at Seymour Narrows and weren't slowed down by weather.
Our time-sensitive transit also brought the return of The Weatherman, a personality hidden within George, who comes out when there is (or isn't) a concern for the weather. The Weatherman has been with us every season, but because they changed the reporting technique for areas in the Gulf of Alaska, he wasn't sure which weather was being reported where, so he didn't rebroadcast too much information. But as we ran our load of halibut through the inside toward Bellingham, George heard his familiar weather channels, so The Weatherman kept us abreast of the upcoming storms for which we needed to prepare.
There were storm warnings in Chatham Sound, but it was flat calm when we passed through (dodged that bullet!). There was a big blow around Bella Bella, British Columbia, but miraculously, we missed that one as well (whew!). A nasty blow was forecast for Queen Charlotte Sound, which would have left us vulnerable to open ocean for six hours of running, but we somehow escaped that torrent and sneaked through with just a 15-knot buck from the southeast.
In Johnston Strait we were bucking into 25 knots, which did slow the boat down, but the seas were insignificant. By this time we had calculated that even though we would make the tide at the narrows for certain, we would still arrive too late in the evening to make the Thursday delivery. With this knowledge, the throttle dropped down to its customary position, turning the engine at 1,400 rpm.
After we conceded to a Friday delivery, The Weatherman was not as verbose. He did hint we could be in for a miserable run down Georgia Strait, and it was quite bumpy for the first few hours. But on the last day of our transit, Thursday, April 27, the seas were flat calm, like glass. We arrived in Bellingham at 8:30 p.m. We had survived the storm.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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