It's mid-August in Kodiak which is synonymous with peak salmon season in our life. This year we're navigating things a little bit different because I gave birth to Silas Finley Rose 3 months ago. I am learning that being a mom is challenging in ways that I never knew possible - my emotional and physical self is pushed to it's limit regularly and the logistics of taking on this wild world with a little human is like driving in the fog- sometimes you just have to wing it. It goes without saying that there are many adjustments you have to make once you're a mom, but there are some that I have vowed not to- things like my love and need for the outdoors, gardening, community service, spontaneous travel and finding ways to spend time with Nate (dad) while he's out fishing. I will now be doing these things but with baby in-tow.
Yesterday, Nate called me on the track phone saying that there was a good weather window, they were in a calm bay and there was a tender leaving the cannery dock in 40 minutes and that I should hop on. Oh and also, they needed more groceries. I didn't even have time to think about whether taking such a young baby on an adventure like this was going to be a good idea, I just did some mad scrambling and made it happen. And now here we are, Silas and I on this boat, a backpack and a baby carrier, hanging with dad.
Every time I go on the boat, I'm reminded that although I love this fishing family lifestyle, boat life is not for me. I am the land-based part of this operation that provides encouragement and countless other things that make it possible for Nate to be out all summer. I don't fully understand how four guys live on a 42 foot fiberglass seiner all summer with 64 square feet of cabin space so gracefully. I don't understand how they make multiple meals a day with nothing but minimal dishes, a skillet and a mini-fridge. I don't understand how these salmon folk find endless creative ways to problem solve mechanical issues, combat boredom, find new interesting ways to get the salmon in the net and on board. I am puzzled that they don't seem to be bothered by seasickness. I don't understand how salmon cycles and winds dictate where the fish will be and when. And I might never understand the passion and dedication that it takes to love salmon fishing so much that that's how you choose to make a living.
But what I do know is that I will encourage Silas to learn these things from his dad who will undoubtedly teach him well because I feel that they are important in character building. His dad will also teach him through this lifestyle, the importance of hard work, the importance of salmon to our family and livelihood and what it means to be a good steward of the resource that gives us so much.
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Every week we share the stories of Alaskan makers and young fishermen on our social media channels. This project has given us a deeper appreciation for the community who work on Alaska waters and those who work to create Alaska goods. Everyday we learn from new people who inspires us to be better fishermen and create more beautiful things. Enjoy the following stories from a few of the Alaskan fishermen and makers we've learned from. Stay tuned for more wonderful stories this summer!
Thank you Vogue and the amazing Evgenia Arbugaeva for capturing this community of hard-working women that we hold in such high esteem. What a day for this diverse group of strong and independent women to have a moment of recognition. We feel incredibly to lucky to be able to use our Salmon Sisters audience to highlight our larger community and Alaska’s commercial fisheries.
This year, we traveled to Astoria, Oregon to attend the annual FisherPoets Gathering, a celebration of the commercial fishing industry in poetry, prose and song. FisherPoets has attracted storytellers and their many fans since 1998. We dare say it was one of the highlights of our winter.