Yo-ho-ho but no Bottle of Rum


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 ย 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.

47 thoughts on “Yo-ho-ho but no Bottle of Rum

  1. I’m sure he WISHES! But it’s like driving a car, when you’re the driver you can’t indulge. I bet when he comes in from a trip he has a little nip when he visits with his friends at the dock, and after all that hard work, I think I would too.
    Limes!! Yes, don’t they keep scurvy away? He probably should have taken some.


  2. You mean to tell me Capt. Gary is now off to sea till August.?? Won’t you miss him.?? Well I suppose some has to get out there and catch the fish.. they won’t catch themselves, I’m sure… good luck Capt, safe sailing and open the hatch… Anneli has wished them to jump directly into the ice box…
    Lovely set of photos…


    • We’ve been doing this fishing separation thing for about 35 years and it doesn’t get any easier. But one good thing is that we can now communicate better since we have the satellite phone and through it, email. Cell phone service doesn’t work in most places up there, and sometimes it was a long time between trips and a call home. I guess we’ve learned to cope, but it makes us appreciate each other all the more.


  3. OH……sniffle, sniffle, sniffle…..I miss Captain Gary already and he’s not even mine! I join you in your wish for the fish to jump into the boat…….I love the boat…it’s beautiful :)…..I will show this to hubby, but not to Hannah Jane……Hannah Jane is just a baby compared to Eden Lake….


  4. Aww, that’s got to be hard. Do you even get to be in contact with him being out on the water? BTW, what a spectacular view. Do you mean to say that is where you live and your every day view? Wow.


    • The communication is so much better. We can phone or email almost any time now. Much better than in the old days. Still, it’s a long way – must be about 600 miles away (I’m guessing it about that). Yes, our house overlooks the bay. In August I watch for that same boat to come home.


    • I worked so hard at those chores, trying to numb myself, I guess, that I had to have an afternoon nap (I’m not a napper) and then I still managed to sleep through the night – unusual for me. So I guess I just need to work harder and I’ll get through it. And yes, he does look like his dad.


    • It wouldn’t be my choice either. Way too dangerous and certainly the pay doesn’t come near to making it tempting. There must be some other draw. I think Gary has salt water in his veins. Can’t stay away from the water.


  5. Kidney beans are great in chili, and the dried ones keep better (in large re-used mayo jars). When Gary is trolling he goes back and forth dragging the fishing lines in the water all day so there’s lots of time to let a pot of beans cook on the diesel stove which is always on anyway. Gary likes to make chili on the boat. He has frozen hamburger in a small freezer so with that, some canned tomatoes, kidney beans, and a few other ingredients, he can put together a tasty chili. There’s very little pre-packaged or prepared food on the boat and plenty of time to make things from scratch.


  6. Thank you for this wonderful account of Gary’s getting ready and leaving for the Charlottes. The photos were all great but the one that gave me a knot in my stomach was the last one. As you know, I was the one leaving Mary behind and that was really difficult. She would drop me off at the wharf and then go off to her work. I would find myself standing there to get the last glimpse of her car as it sped away. I would be so very sad until I rounded Chatham Point and then I was fine with the departure but up until then it was heart rending. Year after year, and it never became any easier.


    • You have it exactly right, Lorne. It’s SO hard because each time I think, “Will he make it back safely?” There was a time I didn’t even dare say it out loud, but I refuse to give in to superstition. We can’t do long goodbyes (too painful) so it’s a quick drop-off at the wharf. It’s too hard to watch the boat pull away from the dock, but then what do I do? I run home and take long distance “last glimpse” pictures of the boat leaving the bay.


  7. Great boat! But no bottle of rum …
    I didn`t know that a boat is able to sail without rum ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Enjoy the weekend
    Klausbernd ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Thank you. It’s a year-round job to keep it in shape. It came with a plaque that we should have left in place. “A boat is a hole surrounded by wood, into which you pour money.”


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