Sept. 24, 2015
First trip complete! We offloaded approximately 300 tons of frozen fish to another boat. Each bag weighs about 16kgs so 300 tons is a lot of fish! The boat we were offloading everything to towered over ours and I later found out that it’s contracted from an Asian country but since it’s in U.S. waters it has to employ only Dutch Harbor residents. When we first started the offload I, James, had managed to get my finger caught in a pinch point. It was my right index finger, second knuckle, an annoying little laceration it was more cumbersome than painful, except when the salt water hits it-then it just plain sucks.
I also made a note in my journal that’ll I’ll transcribe verbatim, “The previous 2 1/2 pages I wrote earlier sucked, all of the physical labor of gripping every single fish keeps you forearms sore. I could definitely tell my hand wasn’t used to writing this much anymore.”
The offload took just under 24 hours. We had a few engine problems so we had to dock and wait for CAT to send out someone to take a look. When we pulled in to the dock I, James, looked out to see if there were any markings that might indicate where exactly we were, all I saw was a sign that read, latitude 54°. Jordan had gone in to town with a few of the guys from the boat so I’m sure he’ll have stuff to fill in about it. -I wrote that part that day and he still hasn’t filled me in on it other than going to grab a beer. He’ll have to fill in the details in a later post.
I, James, stayed on the boat to talk to the deckhands about their job and if I could learn anything from them for the experience. I only learned that deckhands like to joke a lot since all the knot work I had learned before going up there in the hopes of getting a deckhand position. I later found out that you have to work your way up to being a deckhand after years of experience…….not my plan.
On the bright side of it all, with this first trip complete we know what to expect for all the others until the end of the season.
Sept. 26, 2015
We steamed back to the fishing spot. Steaming is just the term we use to say that we’re driving the boat back to where we catch the fish. Steaming is probably the best part of the trips. We just watch movies, hang out, play cards, tell jokes, pretty much anything to kill time. We started trip #2 at about 11:30 pm. It worked out perfectly for me, James, I only had about thirty of minutes to work before bed so I figured I’d take advantage of the time and write for a bit. I mostly had to fill in gaps of time remembering what I did and on which day. Trust me, it’s tough especially when your days all just kind of blur together.
Sept. 29, 2015
We’re steaming back to Dutch Harbor. Unfortunately we didn’t fill our freezers this time which means we didn’t really make any money. That’s the downside to fishing. You only make money when there are fish, otherwise you’re just sitting on a boat floating out in the Bearing Sea. We were heading back due to engine troubles again, hopefully this time we get it fixed. If it takes a day or two we’ll be missing out on some fishing, obviously. Jordan and I talked about these issues they were having and whether or not we’d sign another contract after the initial 25 day contract was complete or if we’d head off for another venture. Fellow fishermen on our boat said that this issue is uncommon and should be fixed, but if the troubles persist I, James, decided I’d head off and do something else and Jordan said he’ll be staying on the boat until the end of the season, money or not. I tried reminding him that regardless of the troubles and everything we came out here solely to make money and fast. If the boat isn’t working we don’t get paid at all. That’s the risk of contract fishing.
Oct. 1, 2015
Well we’re still at the dock to get the coolant system worked on. Nobody seems to know how long until we get this fixed. On the bright side there’s only ten days left on contract.
Working with everyone, foreman included, has become a breeze. Everyone has found their niche and gets along for the most part. Every day is just waking up, having a few laughs, doing your job, take the six hour nap (rest period), and get up again for another sixteen hours. It’s great once the days blur, I’ve come to realize it’s a blessing in disguise, days fly by when you stop counting them.
Oct. 8, 2015
We’re steaming back to Dutch Harbor with a full freezer this time. We’ll I say full freezer but it’s more than that. The freezer holds about 260 tons of fish so the remaining 40 tons is frozen a little longer and just sits in the factory so we can offload it first. Upon returning to Dutch Harbor I, James, will be getting off the boat and Jordan will be staying. I told him that we could make more elsewhere since the season wasn’t going too well but he decided he wanted to stay and see what happens. Once off load was complete I ,James, packed my bags and headed off to the Grand Aleutian Hotel one last time.
After checking in I went up to my room only to find somebody elses bags in there. Decided what I should do, I said screw it I’ll deal with it later so I tossed my bag in the room and went to grab a beer with the guys before they took back off. I met Sig Hansen on my way back to the room that had someone else in it. Sig seemed like a really egotistical guy which wasn’t surprising. He had a bunch of people around him begging for a job on the show. I decided to let him know he wasn’t that important and the conversation went something like this.
Me: “Hey man, how’s it going?”
Sig: “Pretty good”
“What do you do? These people make it seem like you’re important.”
“You’re kidding you don’t know who I am?”
“Ever heard of the Deadliest Catch?” He asked snobbishly.
“Yea, I think so.”
“Well, that’s who I am,” he seemed to be getting upset.
“Oh,” I tried to sound impressed, “how’s that going for you?”
By this point he looked a bit upset that I didn’t care who he was so I ended up just saying good night and heading off to my room.
After making it up to what was supposed to be my room I saw an older guy sitting on the edge of the bed he looked like he was waiting for something. That something was me I think. We called the front desk to let them know their new guy managed to double book a room with one bed. After they apologized, the said they’d fix the issued and sent a driver with my new room key, easy fix.
Oct. 10, 2015
I woke up at about eight o’clock in the morning, had breakfast, checked out, and made my way to the airport to check in for a standby flight to Seattle. The airline employee informed me that I was booked for Sunday but they should be able to find room for me that day, Saturday. There were so many people on standby flights that they requested another plane to come out and I was able to get out of Dutch Harbor at about seven o’clock in the afternoon.