#TBT: Alaska ’09 -Part 7 of 9

Part 7 of 9: Ketchikan – Salmon Fishing!

In August of 2009, I (Sharon) deserted my husband Joe and our puppy Dobby (at the time we had had her for about a month and a half) to go on a cruise to Alaska with the choir of which I was a member at the time (we were booked to sing on the ship). Some of my writing style has changed since 2009, some of my snark is exactly the same and heaven knows that cameras and photos have improved in the past 8 years, but here is the trip report I wrote about those adventures…the good, the bad and the ugly! To get up-to-date on the trip:

Part 1 – Arriving in Vancouver
Part 2 – On board and getting my bearings
Part 3 – Rehearsals and relaxing
Part 4 – Juneau – Nature Trails & Humpback Whales
Part 5 – Skagway – Walking on A Glacier and Taking A Train Ride to Canada
Part 6 – Day at Sea – Hangin’ Around the Ship, Enjoyin’ Doing’ Not much…

I woke up at 7:30am and had a breakfast of oatmeal with Rich, Chris, Jean and Pauline. We arrived in Ketchikan at 10am and, after talking to Joe for a little while, I was off the ship by 10:30am.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had about 90 minutes before I had to be at the bottom of the dock for my fishing trip, so I walked through the nearby crap shops and bought a sandwich at a Subway so I would have something to eat on the fishing boat.

Crap shopped out, I went back towards the cruise ship and met up with my fishing buddy around 11:45am or so. He said he had already found the office of the boat company and checked us in. I followed him back to the office so I could buy my fishing license (a 1-day license is $20) and so we could wait for the other fishing people. They finally arrived, got registered etc., and after prodding through some unexpected housework (one of the boards they planned to use – not ours – had broken down so they had to add 2 more people to our boat), were on our way! There were 7 of us all together – a married couple from Palm Springs CA, two gay guys (one from CA and one who split his time between CO and NY), my fishing buddy and I and, of course, the captain.

I used to go deep sea fishing on party boards out of Sheepshead Bay (Brooklyn) with my dad every summer, starting from when I was 6 and up until I was 15 or 16, when I decided I didn’t want to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning and have my hands smell like fish for 3 days. So it had been a long, long time. I also had never gone salmon fishing before and the rules were a little different – the boat captain set up 6 fishing poles and each one of us had a number (I was #1, my fishing buddy was #6 and the rest were all between). When any rod looked like it had a bite, we would take turns in numerical order – so I had first try, then #2 did, then #3, etc. Once all 6 of us had had a chance to catch a fish, we started again from #@1. If you had a fish on the line and it got away, it was your loss. But if you reeled it in and it turned out to be a false alarm (another line, for example), you were still “up.” It was a fair system, with a limit of 6 fish per person. We didn’t get even close to that, though – all together our bot caught 11 salmon – 10 silvers and 1 coho (cohos are bigger than silvers). Of the 11, I lost my first one and then caught 3, and my fishing buddy caught 2 and lost 2 (but his 2nd one was big – probably the biggest silver caught all day).

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Besides the fun of the fishing, we also got to see several bald eagles in the nearby trees on shore, and well as some whales in the ocean. VERY cool! The weather during our 4-hour trip varied from comfortable (partly cloudy, unzipped light jacket) to rainy and chilly.

When it was time to go back to the ship, the captain gave us the forms to fill out to have our fish filleted, flash frozen and shipped, if we so desired. The 2 guys hadn’t had a very good day of fishing and between the two of them, only had caught 1 or 2 fish (one of which was the coho). They said the other 4 of us could have their fish if we wanted, so we agreed to just split the 11 fish 50/50. My fishing buddy and I made plans so he would receive the fish and bring my share to rehearsal. We’ll probably see it towards the end of the month, or perhaps early September.

What a fun, FUN time it was, though! Of everything I had planned for this vacation, going salmon fishing was the thing I was looking forward to the most, even more than singing on the ship…and I’m happy to say it met all of my expectations! I had forgotten how much I enjoyed fishing!

As always (and probably even more so after today’s excitement), I was exhausted by the time dinner was over, so after doing the jigsaw puzzle in the Exploration Cafe for an hour or so, I went to bed around midnight.
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