Last Sunday I went out for my second tender run up the coast. The whole way up and while we were taking deliveries I could help but think that the Bering Sea should have been called the Bering Lake. The ocean was as flat as it could possibly be all the way out to the horizon, and was simply breathtaking in beauty (of course, the Bering wouldn’t stand for such thoughts from the likes of me, and so had returned to blowing 50 by the next day). I find that the calm rolling current actually tends to have a worse effect on my stomach (no puking, but no appetite either) than choppy rough water. I prefer the storm I think, though of course a safe storm that I can watch from the wheel house while sipping hot chocolate. I went out on the Saundra 5 this time around, and it was a really nice boat. A lot larger than the last one I was out on, and a younger, cuter crew (always a bonus :P). I had lots of down time and my own bunk room, so I tried to cook and bring meals to whoever was on wheel watch. The boat is used as a crabber in the winter months, so it’s decked out! Full surround sound system, huge T.V. and on-deck stereo system. I took fin clips to the sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for part of the afternoon. No complaints here.
I’ve discovered that fishermen are cursed with the seemingly incurable state of having the worst sense of humor I’ve ever encountered (Dad, this explains a lot). There must be some trigger in their mind that says, “Hey! A GIRL! I’ll bet she’ll think I’m hilarious!”, which prompts them to walk over and tell me a joke that is usually the anti-thesis of hilarious. I usually try to grin and bear it, but sometimes I totally miss that they’re telling me a joke and come back with some reply that totally shoots their moment of comedy triumph right out of the water. A sad moment for us all when he had to explain it to me, and I have to pretend that it’s funny after all. Not all of them are terrible though. I saw a family friend (Mike Heimbuch) and his son Ivan the other day and it was certainly nice to run into a familiar face.
The other thing I’ve learned out on the Bering is that almost every skipper is completely convinced of his superior boat driving skills, experience at tendering, and all around manliness in comparison to everyone else who has ever driven a boat or ever will. What time they don’t spend with their head stuck out their window yelling incomprehensible directions at the other boat into the wind they use to instead mutter obscenities (and sometimes not so much of a mutter) under their breath about the intelligence of the other skipper. I can’t help but grin and try to nod along (“Oh, I couldn’t agree more that the other skipper must be a cretaceous cretin with a gelatinous piece of dung in place of a brain.”) while thinking of what insults the other skipper must be returning in our direction. Forget day time T.V., this is much more entertaining. At this point I’m just bringing books along to feign a coughing fit into if I can’t control my laughter.
Other than that, I’ve been enjoying my day off her at Port Moller by painting my bedroom a rather minty green, similar to the stuff the dentist polishes your teeth with. It’s been fun to crank the jams and dance badly with my paint roller while no one is looking. I still am having bouts of ‘sea legs’ after being on the water for a few days. If you’ve never had sea legs, it’s the sensation of still being on a moving boat while on dry, solid, unmoving land. Half the time I feel like the building is moving around me, and the other half the time I find myself stumbling into counters and beds or swaying in place without reason. It’s definitely worst in the shower. I must be quite the sight holding onto various surfaces as I try to wash my hair and get dressed to try to steady myself in the already quite steady room. It’s a pretty ridiculous trick that your brain plays on you. It’s similar to when you’ve had enough beers to be tipsy but aren’t feeling it, and then stand up and your brain says, “Oh hey! THERE’S that last beer!” Very silly indeed.
Anyway, I’m probably headed off on another tender within the next day or two, so I’ll write again when I get back. Sorry about the lack of pictures, but the limited bandwidth here prevents me from posting any. I’ll go back through these entries when I get back to Kodiak and add them here in a couple of weeks. Much love to everyone!