Tuesday, June 14, 2011

At the Dock - Seine Boats

Ketchikan Harbor was bustling and crowded when we arrived. The final weekend of a fishing derby brought a lot of boats - no doubt the $10,000 in prize money and bragging rights were attractive lures. Cruising boats of all sizes were in Ketchikan to clear Customs and provision on the way north. Seiners from Washington and Alaska were readying boats and equipment for a king salmon opening.

Some of the seiners sported new paint jobs, even some awesome varnish work. Others hadn’t bothered. There was a lot of equipment tuning and net repair going on everywhere.

Several seiners still had to load nets - what appeared to be acres and acres of nets - onto their empty sterns. Foot by foot the noisy power blocks lifted nets while crew members inspected every bit of them for needed repairs. Occasional shouts filled the air as experienced crew encouraged the new guys with directions on appropriate methods for handling floats and stacking nets.

Seine skiffs buzzed about the docks, like so many noisy mosquitos... and no, they aren't equipped with mufflers. Some of them were loaded with stacked piles of boxed groceries, others ferried crew members on latte runs.   

Then the seiners began to pull out, a few boats at a time, traveling north along Tongass Narrows as they headed out to the fishing grounds. By the next morning only a handful of seiners remained at the dock. I wonder, when and where the king opening is scheduled? And will the few remaining boats get organized and head out to participate?

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