The long months of maintenance work are finished and the boat is all tiddled up and ready to go. But the longer months of harder work lie ahead.
Captain Gary pours the last few kidney beans into a jar to put in the cupboard, and moments later is ready for takeoff. Well, maybe not takeoff, but ready to untie the boat from the dock and head out, away from the security of the harbour to motor up to the Queen Charlotte Islands. (I know they’ve changed the name to Haida Gwaii but they’ll always be the Queen Charlottes to me.)
It will take him about a week to get there, running only in daylight hours. Some fishermen run day and night and so make a shorter trip of it, but Captain Gary likes to enjoy the trip north and home again in August at the end of the season, so he takes his time. Still it often means a good ten or twelve hours of running time each day, long enough to tire a person right out.
On board he has all the things he needs to be nearly self-sufficient for three months. All he will need is a few fresh fruits and vegetables which he can buy between fishing trips when he comes to town to sell the fish. During that turnaround, he’ll get new ice put in the fish hold, and yet another small fortune’s worth of diesel in the fuel tanks. Laundry and groceries, and then it’s back out to sea.
There might be time to go ashore if there’s a temporary fishing closure. Time to explore the beach or enjoy the natural beauty of the islands.
Those are a few of the beautiful times up north, but today, before the season begins, was a hard day. The deckhand who always gets seasick had to be left behind to take care of the house and the dog while the fisherman leaves for the summer to go catch fish to put on everyone’s table.
Here is Eden Lake, ready to leave the dock.
And from my bedroom deck, here is my last glimpse (for now) of Captain Gary and his boat as they sail out of the bay on their way north.
Safe journey and may the salmon jump into the boat.