The best way to a fisherman's heart is through his fly.
While trying to figure out what to do for a career, I’ve considered and eliminated many ideas including teaching high school. One other is crab fishing. Although the prospect of that venture fascinates me, reality tells me it shouldn’t be on my list. Reasons? Although I am a multi-tasker, I don't have the ability to withstand a douche by a 40 foot wave while smoking a cigarette, reeling in a 600 pound cage, and swearing in a gravelly voice.
With that in mind, I recall my honeymoon 31 years ago where my husband and I drove from Michigan to Astoria, Oregon and camped along the Pacific Coast highway down to Big Sur. Our first night, we ate at a local hangout for crab fishermen. Many talked about the fished out crab waters of Oregon, Washington, and Canada. How the Alaska waters now promised the crab. When they heard we were just married, a few laughed about how they could get married, head out to sea and by the time they got back, their wives had divorced them and married someone else. The life of the fisherman. They wished us luck.
That encounter must have stayed with me through the years. Last night, the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch completed another season of hauling in King Crab and Ophelias (Opelio. I stand corrected.) I am deeply saddened. No longer will I look forward to Tuesday nights. But I will continue to wonder why I'm hooked on Deadliest Catch and marvel at those who pursue that adventure I don't have the, uh, guts for.
I'd be yakking over the side or lying on the floor of the head more than I'd be sorting the day's catch. Hating the cold, I'd spend hours chopping ice off the ship with snow sleeting in my eyes and waves rushing into the rain suit that covers my body. My mind would certainly wander and I'd fall overboard, get my legs caught in ropes, or get squished by a flying crab pot, ending up in the wheelhouse getting my ass kicked by the crusty ship captain. Tears would not help.
The sea captains are all gruff men who smoke 35 packs of cigarettes a day, bite off the head of a fish to welcome the new season, and swear like a bunch of, well, sailors.
So what’s the attraction? Something about watching that crab catching cage come up over the side of the boat and discovering whether any new inhabitants have joined the bait is an exciting event. Or watching the boats maneuver through the slates of ice or 40 foot waves. I suppose it's a thrill I can experience and not have to worry about suffering any of the consequences. Including having to live with the smell.
Until next April, I’ll watch the reruns and wonder if any of those deckhands are returning to wives married to someone else. Also, if someone can figure out why it fascinates me to vicariously travel with this bunch of wild hooligans and not tire of it, please let me know. Now, back to dusting and crossing off careers. Hmmm.