Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Long Wait for Next Year's Catch



The best way to a fisherman's heart is through his fly.
Author Unknown

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.

26 comments:

  1. I watched that last show, too. I don't know what the attraction is, but it is definitely still there. Waiting for next year, waiting - and fishing - just like you.

    Excellent post.

    EFH

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  2. Hisssss-terical! Nothing better than experiencing something like that with a glass of wine from this comfy-cozy side of the TV! My cousin has been an Alaskan fisherman for about 25 years and yup, it's a tough life! But he makes HUGE bucks! Great post!

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  3. Ah the lure of the water, the adventure spirit in all of us. You're looking for work in all the wrong places: fewer people fish commercially, and those who do live a very rough life. Instead of teaching high school, which you have crossed out already, how about community college? I understand there will be many teaching opportunities available. Now is the time to finish that Master's Degree.

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  4. For someone who really has no interest in fishing, I think that Discovery channel show is interesting and well done. Just means more Internet time right?

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  5. I saw a TV special about work on a large fishing vessel and it was horridly grueling work, sometimes 18 hour days, mostly below deck in a factory-like setting. Trust me, there were no romantic glimpses of the sea. Keep looking.

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  6. Ophelias = opelio?

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  7. Anonymous - I stand corrected - opelio. I even knew that from a previous search about them. Just like Ophelia better, I guess

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  8. Love the quote, how funny! If people knew how much hard, dangerous work went into bringing food to the American table, they would be astonished!

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  9. I don't watch this show, but became oddly intrigued by Dirty Jobs, Surviverman, and Whale Wars. I think the fascination is that it's so far removed from my suburban life. The worst show on now, in my opinion, is Animal Planet's Monsters Inside Me (about worms and such in your brain or intestines)- just seeing the commercials makes me want to gag and have nightmares. Why anyone would want to watch it is beyond me! But being a fisherman ... it's almost like an extreme sport, isn't it?

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  10. I haven't a clue why, but I love the Deadliest Catch. I also love Dirty Jobs...

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  11. I would definitely be doing a lot of yakking myself. I have never watched Deadliest Catch. I have also never been on a fishing boat, because the fear of seasickness is so great. I have a vomiting phobia, so that pretty much removes me from any cruises or boat excursions!

    I am doing OK, hanging in there....how have you been?

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  12. Have you seen Ice Truckers? Is that a career option for you? (wink)

    I started watching DC with my hubby and now I'm intrigued by it, too.

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  13. Best image in a blog post - withstanding a douche by a 40 foot wave. I'm still laughing about that one.

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  14. I love this show when I catch it. I always forget to pay attention to when and where it is. Duh. That's what the tivo is for. Sometimes, I'm so slow.

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  15. we watch that show too. my 7 year old loves it.

    I like your process of elimination when deciding upon a career path ;)

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  16. I was just about to say that that job was about my worst nightmare when I thought of a worse one - working in an abattoir!

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  17. i adore that show!~!!!!!

    and the post was great, too! :-)

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  18. I'm dying to watch that show. The only problem is that since the digital crossover...I can't figure out how to turn on my TV.

    I'll just have to continue to check in with you...for updates.

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  19. There's so much romance tangled up in wrangling with the elements and tryign to dominate nature like that...

    But still, I just want to know what you CAN do while smoking a cigarette and swearing in a gravelly voice.

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  20. Maybe it's because I grew up near Washington's coast and knew a lot of fishermen...one of my grandfather's and a great-uncle joint-owned a trawler when I was just a wee girl...that "Deadliest Catch" was a favorite of mine when it was a part of our Dish package. We downsized awhile back because we figured why pay almost $80 a month when we hardly ever watch TV?! The smallest package works just fine for news and PBS channels, whose kid shows I tape on the DVR for my grandboys. I was also as enthralled with "Ax Men" as well, since I grew up in a logging community back when that job was soooooooo much more dangerous than it is now. It wasn't an uncommon sight to see men with a missing arm or leg or fingers or hand going about town. I have a deep and abiding respect for both occupations and the brave souls who put their lives on the line like that!

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  21. "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."

    Now that's a great sentence! And I could actually picture you doing that! You are jumping around the deck afterward -- I don't think you liked that douche. :)

    I love Deadliest Catch too. Anything Mike Rowe takes part in is something I wanna take part in too. That man's voice is enticing . . . I don't know what the attraction is for that show either. Half of the guys don't have teeth (or any hair or fashion sense), but I do love the way they brave those elements despite the risk of the ultimate peril.

    Enjoyed your post.

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  22. P.S. I LOVE that fisherman's quote. That's hysterical.

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  23. It's funny reading this post right after the peaceful one just before. I love your line, "tears would not help." I kind of got hooked on Ice Road Truckers for a while - for no earthly rational reason I could ever imagine.

    This was really fun to read.

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