Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I was a young, green, kid that record-breaking cold winter. I had 2 Salmon seasons under my belt. A previous adventure sailing a Cal 28 from Seattle to Skagway had put a taste for saltwater in my mouth that I crave to this day. We were off the East side of Kodiak Island, hunting for Tanner Crab to feed the world. The weather was nasty,... and getting worse fast. It was my job to land the front half of the 800 Lb. crab pots as they came swinging and spinning over the rail. We were "On the Crab" and pulling about 500 Lbs. of Tanners/Baridi out of each pot, which was good for that time and area. We were running broadside to the waves and weather as the approx. 1300 Lb. crab pot came over the rail, .. and the rogue wave hit the stern, twisting the boat in a fast and violent way. The spinning pot came right at me,.. I had ahold of the corner of the big box of death, but my 180 Lbs. was no match for the thousand of Lbs. of energy about to be released all over me. Now when I take a job to wrestle crab pots, I wrestle crab pots. To let go of the box of death would only release it to destroy and kill anything and everything in its path... So I held on,.. for my very Life,.. and the Lives of my fellow man. The pot hit me sqaure in the the chest without slowing at all,.. the green water rushing over the deck slammed a sorting tote into the back of my knees, shoving me under the crab pot which continued bulldozing me to the far rail. I don't know if you have ever faced the gut-wrenching nightmare of being under a flying crab pot, but I don't recommend it, and I hope you never see what I saw under there, .. looking up... It IS the Face of DEATH... And it greedily awaits ALL of us... So as the pot and I ricochated off the back rail, with Big Mike (Superhero) dragging Faithfully from the rear corner, we rapidly careened back towards the Blockman,... If You can imagine a pendulum swinging over a flat deck (relatively speaking) you will realize that the pendulum (1500 Lb. box of death and I) reaches closer to the deck than the rails, as it swings wildly back and forth. This makes an interesting problem of how to lower and land the pot,.. with me under it. I thank GOD we had Donny (Superhero) the Excellant Hydroman running the controls. SuperDonny would raise the pot to keep it from crushing me in the center of the deck, and lower it as we aproached the rails to keep us from going over the rail. One might wonder, "Why not just let go of the pot?" as I explained earlier, when you have Death in your grip, you DO NOT set it free to do as it likes. The Blockman dove into the corner between the pot launcher and the starboard rail, with a Loud CRASH! we (the pot and I) smashed into the launcher, only to begin our free fall downward towards the portside,.. which was submerged under white water! Blockman grabbed franticly and latched onto the corner of the pot nearest him. As I lay helplessly in the tote full of crab, Fused onto a Big Box of DEATH... I looked desperately to the Hydroman,.. my Life in His hands. I had to have been a pitiful sight,.. a teenage kid about to Die,.. Slaming rail to rail, awash in white water. To my Surprise, He held the same expression on his face that I had been looking at for days on end now, a Serious look of Concern and Commitment to DO THE RIGHT THING!!... OR SOMEBODY IS GOING TO DIE!! So my wild ride pinballing rail to rail, slowed and stopped after about 5 deck crossings. I rolled out of the tote and scrambled out from under the crab pot with a Smile,... Thankful to be ALIVE!!... and got back to work. I learned ALOT in those moments, I learned LIFE is Preferable to Death, regardless of how miserable or hard LIFE may be at this Moment... At ANY MOMENT... Life is full of Hills and Valleys,.. The Hills are Steep and Dangerous,... and the Valleys are Sweet and Comfortable,.. a Prime Time to gear up for the next Hill... Life also bears a Distinct Resembelance to a box of chocolates.... As I scrubbed the Herring oil out of the bait jars in the snow and wind, and the full-share guys were having a nice warm lunch at King's Diner, I knew I had found the Life for Me. Never had I learned so quickly, so precisely, about Life. I knew I HAD TO HAVE MORE!! What had I learned, YOU might ask?? I learned WE MUST DO THE RIGHT THING,... or Reap the Consequences... PEACE. CRABLEWI

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