July 14-25, 2008 — It was quiet on the Sunlight III after Dave left for bigger and better things, and Bruce had left us a few days before. Now it was just Edward, Anthony, Madeline and me. It was kind of nice for us each to have our own bunk, but we were definitely overstaffed for the amount of fish we were catching, especially when we ground it out to the bitter end.
I finally threw in the towel when I realized I wasn't having as much fun as I should, because scratch fishing can be pretty boring, chasing an elusive few sockeye around the tide rips. Our last delivery came on Saturday, July 19, which was the remainder of the fish we high-graded from our go-out-and-catch-our-home-pack day of fishing.
We anchored in the river and gave the Sunlight III it's final scrubbing while waiting for water to get to the dock. We hauled out on Sunday, July 20, and completed the remainder of the scrubbing, which included every last bit of that boat, inside and out, before it went into the warehouse at the end of the day. After the initial scrub-down I took my time with the other aspects of winterizing the boat, which helps me unwind after living with such intensity for the past two months.
The nets were a major project, as there was a humongous tangle in the net loft, a product of two boats drawing off the same pile of gear. Organizing what needs to be hung next year, and deciphering which ripped-in-half corkline goes with which ripped-in-half leadline always takes a couple of days. This time it seemed to go on longer because as we became more organized we kept discovering more net bags that needed attention.
This slow progression at the end of the season was fine with me because my flight home wasn't until July 25, so I had time to unwind before I reentered the madness of our "normal" society.
Anthony and Edward both were set to fly out after the 25th, so when it was time for me to leave, they were still there, hanging out in the room. This was a little different for me because I usually go through this sort of meditative ending to the season as I drift around the camp like a ghost, just me and only me, doing whatever it is I do up there at the season's end.
This year I had Madeline buzzing around, so I always had to keep track of her whereabouts, and also my two crew guys, just hanging out. It distorted my accustomed ceremonial ending to the season, but I could handle it.
I misbooked my flight, so in order to travel with Madeline I had to fly stand-by. We flew out around noon, caught an afternoon flight down to Seattle, and Maureen picked her husband and daughter up at the airport that evening.
My Alaskan fishing merry-go-round had ended for the year, and now I could finally relax with my family. But I knew the relaxation would be short-lived, because right around the corner was the opportunity to catch local San Juan Island salmon and sell it to my loyal island customers.
TO BE CONTINUED...
National Fisherman Live: 7/17/14
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National Fisherman Live: 7/8/14
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