Late night, August 8-9, 2006 — When I brought the boat back to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Wash., I was on a tight schedule. An opening was announced for the next day, and if I wanted to make it I would have pull an all-nighter and leave with hopefully enough time to take a nap in Griffin Bay.
I worked in family time during the day, and decided to leave the majority of the boat chores to the evening and late night. I decided when I bought the Satisfaction that it wasn't going to take priority over my wife and kids. Even so, part of the family time was having my pre-teen girls help me load my net. In addition, I had to take ice that afternoon, and get groceries before the store closed at 6 p.m. (things close early on San Juan Island).
With the family winding down for the evening, I headed down to the boat with a truck full of gear — jacklights, buoys, ice chests, clothes, mattresses, etc. But before I could even start loading the gear, I had a list of small boat projects I needed to complete in order to keep things operating smoothly on the Satisfaction. Those small projects always take longer than one can imagine, and by the time I was done it was after 2 a.m.
With the projects complete, it was time to load the gear and supplies onto the boat, which was tied near the bottom of the main ramp at the Port of Friday Harbor. I parked my truck at the top of the ramp on the main pier and proceeded to make about 20 trips up and down the dock loading stuff onto the boat. As I put it all away, I discovered more projects to complete in order to start with a trouble-free, ship-shape fishing vessel. Again, time slipped away as I organized my boat, and by the time I was finished, it was near 3:30 a.m.
With everything all loaded and my boat ship-shape for the opener, I was ready to go fishing. I ran double-checks through my frazzled brain as I paced back and forth on the float next to my boat; the only thing remaining for me to do was leave. So at just before 4 a.m., I let loose the lines and headed out for fishing.
I managed to grab a couple hours' sleep in Griffin Bay, then tooled around Goose Island in Cattle Pass, around Cattle Point, and I was on the fishing grounds. I set about a mile off the southern shore of San Juan Island between The Trap and Eagle Point, and breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long journey getting this net set out into the water.
As I sat contemplating my toil, my cell phone rang. It was my wife, Maureen. She was asking me an interesting assortment of questions, prodding at my late night preparations in getting ready to go. I couldn't figure out what she was after, until she asked, "Are you sure you didn't forget anything... like your truck?"
My truck? How could I for get my truck? "Whad'ya mean, my truck?" I asked.
"You forgot to park your truck. You left it at the end of the dock with the door wide open and your keys in the ignition. Patrick [our neighbor] saw it there at 6 this morning and parked it for you up by the courthouse."
I had done something like this once before when I was fishing in Everett. I left my old fishmobile car in the fire lane, and there was nobody there that knew me, so nobody noticed it and parked it for me. It got towed away. The tow truck driver said he was so embarrassed towing my Sockeye Special car that he took side streets all the way to his yard.
I guess in both instances I was so focused on preparing my boat and going fishing, I forgot I had things to think about on land.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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