Upside Down

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!

Upside Down

Alaska's weather is often like a woman.  Sometimes calm and peaceful while showing the beauty of the land and sea.  At other times she can change into a furious monster in no more than a blink of the eye.  The fisherman needs to always be always watching for these changes and be prepared for any surprises that the weather chooses to send his way.

In the northern latitudes, the ocean is referred to in the feminine sense; 'she' is calm today or she's getting rougher and looking real bad.  The fisherman also sometimes refers to his boat in the feminine sense.  Anyone in the business of making a living catching salmon always wishes for good weather on the ocean.  A day of flat calm with everything working well, no breakdowns and every line loading up with nice big king salmon is good.

When the weather becomes angry the sea comes to the fisherman in all sorts of moods, bringing high winds and huge waves, often times causing a fishing boat to sink with loss of lives.  The fisherman who finds safe anchorage to ride out the storm feels lucky, even if the storm lasts for days.

It was time to pull the gear and head for the harbor.  The sea was building and coming straight out of the southwest, lumping up and catching the troller on the quarter stern.  Enough of this, the fisherman thought, taglines were breaking and it was hard to keep up a decent trolling speed. He knew of a good harbor which was almost landlocked and figured he would head there and wait it out.  It took a while to get the gear in and by the time the fisherman had finished stowing the fishing lures the lump from the southwest had built up considerably.  He turned the boat towards the distant island where the harbor was and started running in ahead of the building waves.

On the way towards the entrance of the harbor, the fisherman started thinking about what he would do once he was anchored up.  First, he would have to ice down the king salmon which were in the checker on the back deck.  Maybe he would fix himself a little drink while cooking up dinner and then spend some time tying up new leaders and hoochies.  The sharks had been pretty tough on the bait hooks and hoochies in the last few days.  It would be nice to be in the quiet harbor, hearing nothing but the distant rumble of the sea and falling asleep in his bunk.  As the boat drew closer to the harbor entrance he could see white clouds of ocean spray shooting up from the huge black rocks on the beach.

The wave came from far out in the ocean towards the land.  It was traveling fast and building up unbelievable strength as it approached the shallower grounds.  It poked its head out showing its white fangs.  At first, it looked just like the other waves except that it carried with it much more force and speed.  In a matter of a few minutes, it would suddenly find itself in two fathoms of water just as the harbor entrance.  The impact would be like a semi truck hitting a brick wall at 80 miles an hour.  

The fisherman steered his boat past the first of the outer rocks and lined up on the painted markers showing the way to the inner harbor.  It would be nice to get into the harbor and have a drink he thought.  Soon he would be in flat calm protected water.  Focusing on the white markers painted on the distant rocks and looking straight ahead, he never saw looming up behind him, the huge wave.

The wave hit the quarter stern of the troller, lifting the boat up and flipping it over on it's back.  The fisherman suddenly found himself upside down while hanging on to the spokes of the ship's wheel.  At that moment he felt nothing except a quiet calm, his body suspended in space, floating about in slow motion in a dream world he couldn't do anything about.  So this is it! He thought.  I'm going to die!  In the next instant, the troller righted itself, amazingly still moving on its course for the protected harbor.  It was then that the fisherman came back from that unreal world and realized that the engine was still running and he had a chance to make it into the harbor.  He looked out to the back deck and saw that two trolling poles were broken off with trolling pole wire stays and chain dragging along with the boat, dangerously close to getting tangled up in the propeller.  Also, he saw that all the checkerboards were gone, including his salmon and the hatch cover to the ice hold.  It was then that he saw that the hold was half full of seawater.  God knows what was going on in the engine room!  Keep running boat! He thought.  We have to make it in!  

He had made it!  The boat was anchored in the quiet protected harbor, sea pump discharging water out of the hold and engine room.  The back deck was a shambles and broken trolling poles were floating alongside the hull.  Most of his fishing gear had been swept off and would have to be replaced.  There would be a lot of work to do in order to get back into the fishing business.  It could have been a lot worse he thought.  He heard a hello and turning, saw that Big John had rowed over in his skiff from his own boat which was anchored nearby.  "Looks like you might need some help" Big John said.  "I guess I could use some John, thanks".  

In the next day and a half, both men worked cutting new spruce trolling poles, each one 44 feet in length, they then peeled the bark off the poles, dragged them down to the beach and towed the heavy poles out to the boat with Big John's skiff.  Most of the rigging from the broken poles could be salvaged and was put in place on the new poles.  It was a lot of work and couldn't have been done without Big John's help.  Two days later the fisherman was back out on the fishing grounds. The ocean had calmed down and the fish were still biting.

Note: in the above story, I couldn't thank John Clauson enough for his help.  John had many of the tools needed and a light plant used for some of the drill work needed to prepare the poles for mounting on the boat.  Along with his help, he lost valuable fishing time, but he never complained and, as always, kept his good humor.  The event I write about is meant to show the other side of life as a commercial fisherman.  All of us have our stories to tell.  The Helen T was a 45 foot Tacoma Shipyard hull with close to 9 feet of draft.  It was a good boat and I often think that if it had been any other boat it may not have righted itself after being rolled over by the wave.  I'm glad it did because it didn't really feel quiet right steering a boat upside down.  Again, to you John Clauson, may you 'splice the main brace' often in Valhalla my viking freind.

 

 

Why is catching an Alaskan Halibut like protocol for a nuclear launch? Over-regulation.

Why is catching an Alaskan Halibut like protocol for a nuclear launch?  Over-regulation.

From Alaska Fish & Wildlife News, 2010:

"A little history is also in order.  The commercial and charter fisheries have been wrangling over halibut allocation since 1993.  The conflict began when the commercial stakeholders asked for a cap on charter harvest, the fastest growing segment of the sport fishery.  The problem was that charter harvest was deducted "off the top" of each year's allowable fishery removals before setting the commercial catch limit, which amounted to a de facto allocation of fish to the charter fishery.  Growth in charter harvest had to be offset by a lowering of the commercial catch limit.  The council struggled with the allocation issue for years before adopting guideline harvest levels, or GHLs, for the charter fishery in the fall of 2003." 

The Mad Monk of Astrolabe

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!

The Mad Monk

Old timers have fished for salmon it seems forever.  “Traditional drags,” as the fishermen call them like Astrolabe and Icy Point or Graves Rock were just a few of the favorite fishing spots.  There were so many of them.  Each have their stories such as, “I remember back in '68 when as far as the eye could see fish were jumping.”  In a way, it was like being in the Alaskan Gold Rush.  Fish packers were madly running back and forth with their holds plugged unloading thousands of pounds of Silvers and King Salmon at the cold storages only to turn right around and return to the fishing grounds to buy more fish.  Many of the fishermen preferred to take payment for their fish in cash.  Maybe this way of doing business was a holdover from the great depression or when the banks had crashed, whatever, we all had our money jars to keep the hundred dollar bills in. At night a few of the fishermen would anchor up in a harbor called Thistle Cove.  Thistle Cove was nestled in all by itself between rocky cliffs and the mighty mountains of the Fairweather range on mainland Alaska.  There were sandy beaches surrounding the Cove and if one were to go ashore there, you would see wolf tracks in the sand.  Beachcombing was a favorite thing to do if the weather was to bad to go out fishing and it was not uncommon to find a Japanese glass float peaking out at you half buried in the sand or from under some drift wood.  At night sometimes you could hear the wolves howling and if the fisherman looked up towards the top of the rocky cliffs, he might see the flickering of the fires that came out of the Monk's caves.  Legend has it, that the Monk of Astrolbe lived up there.  It has always been that way and if you were a salmon troller it was easy to believe that this legend was true and that some day, you would get to meet him. 

“The Mad Monk of Astrolabe”

High upon the craggy mountains
That we call Astrolabe,
Where his temple fires are blazing,
With the fog around him ringing
Sunken eyes are ever gazing
Out across the sea.

It was early in September
And the fog was like a shroud,
I was anchored where the ocean
Seemed devoid of any motion
And I somehow got the notion
I was anchored in a cloud.

As the days increased in number
And my magazines were read,
Then my mind began to wander
Crazy notions I would ponder,
Thinking everything was dead.

It was then I heard the chanting,
Stood there trembling, agog,
Like an organ's hollow groaning,
Like the souls in hell atoning,
Down the crevices came moaning
Like a death march through the fog.


Like a lorelei it beckoned
And I hastened to obey,
While across the harbor rowing
Heard the chant in volume growing,
Yes, My Master led the way.

Up through canyons strewn with boulders,
Over ledges dripping slime,
Never with a fear of falling,
Nor of him, whose voice was calling,

Up I climbed to heights appalling,
Dripping bold and black with grime.

On a ledge I lay exhausted,
Gulping every painful breath.
Then I saw his black robe waving,
Saw the bloodless lips whose raving
Sent me scrambling and slaving,
Up that rocky mound of death.

On a crag above a chasm,
Where a flaming tourch was lit,
With the fog around him weaving
Patterns ghastly and deceiving,
Stood the maddened monk, receiving
Tribute for his endless pit.

Single file they passed his station,
Fishermen of yesterday,
Shrunken bodies, white and hairy,
Bent neath loads they scarce could carry,
One by one they passed the quarry,
Dropped their burdens, turned away.

Then I recognized a passer,
Who had died at Killisnoo.
In my eyes the sweat was streaming,
As my questions I was screaming,
Was it all un-holy dreaming
Or were my visions true?

With no sign of recognition,
Came the answer of my friend,
“You must always go cruising
For the leads of life you're losing
Though it be against your choosing,
All must tally in the end.

Round each sunken rock we're searching
For the sinkers we have lost,
Seeking on the ocean's flooring,
Far beneath the breakers roaring,
In the muddy slime we're boring,
In this pit must all be tossed

Best you heed my solemn warning,
Pack your duffle, leave the sea,
Leave your ways of dissipation,
Find a different occupation,
Or you will join that congregation,
On the hill Astrolabe.

The Mad Monk of Astrolabe was written sometime around the early
1950's by Bill Edgecombe.  I'm not absolutely sure about this, just
a guess.

The Astrolabe drag was often fished in the early spring.  In April
there just weren't that many fishermen west of Cape Spencer but the
commercial season was open then and there was always a chance that
there would be a stretch of good weather, making it possible for a
fisherman to make the charge up to the Fairweather grounds and maybe
get a few good days of hot King salmon fishing.  Meanwhile, you fished
Astrolabe or Graves Harbor waiting for a good weather report and
scratched out some kind of a living wage.  Somedays you got nothing,
that was fishing for you.  Other days, you might get a few fish.  I
really needed the money then, especially after spending a long winter
with no money coming in at all.  I remember trolling right alongside
the rocky cliffs of Astrolabe waiting for a fish to bite.  Back and
forth, all day long.  Meanwhile, you could watch the goats who were way
up on the side of the mountain.   Often times there were baby goats
with their mothers.  There were seals and sea lions to see also and
once in a while humpback whales.  Back and forth, back and forth and
then suddenly a trolling pole would start shaking, “Fish On!!!!” With
the Mad Monk of Astrolabe in mind I was careful not to hang up on the
bottom and lose any expensive lead cannonballs.  However, I did lose my
share of them through the years.  The prospects of dying a salmon
troller and having to spend eternity going around the ocean floor
finding lead cannonballs and then having to lug them up those steep
cliffs of Astrolabe to the Mad Monk didn't appeal to me at all.  In
time I retired from fishing and decided to invest what little I had
into Mexico.  It seemed like it might be a more profitable venture than
trolling for salmon, at least for me.  Thats another story however.
Meanwhile, I hope when the day comes that I die, I will be exempt from
having to carry heavy leads from the bottom of the ocean to the top of
Astrolabe.  It looks like a lot of work to me.

By Paul Corbin

Morning Bite

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!

Morning Bite

The fisherman could see the mast lights shining from the other trollers still anchored up in the protected harbor on the rugged coast of  southeast Alaska.  Some of the mast lights were moving now, looking like fireflies in the night, flying single file one after another.  It was time to get the fishing gear in.  The fisherman went back to the trolling pit and pulled back the wet gunny sacks that covered coils of 12 to 16 foot long monofilament leaders.  Each leader had a big“snap on” clamp on one end and a flasher or spoon at the other.  He checked the herring bucket to make sure his baited hooks were ready to snap on, one herring for each flasher.  He lifted the first 30 lb. lead ball up from its holder and slowly let the lead down with the hydraulic gurdey.  The lead ball was attached to a spool of steel trolling cable which had small stops crimped on the line every three fathoms.  As the cable descended into the dark ocean water and a crimped stop would appear the fisherman snapped on a leader with a flasher and a herring or a colored hoochey on it.  One by one he got his hooks in the water.  Occasionally the fisherman would check his fathometer to make sure he was staying in the right depth of water.  He repeated this process until he had four trolling lines set in the ocean, each at about 30 fathoms in depth.
   
He went up to the pilot house and picked up his cold cup of coffee and lit up a cigarette, now it would be time to wait for that first morning bite.  The diesel engine chugged away as the boat worked its way along the shoreline.  It wouldn't be long now before daylight comes he thought.  He looked again at the trolling pole tips, nothing, where in the hell are the fish he thought?  Today it would be a nice ocean, just a gentle swell from the southwest and no wind.  A couple of seagull lifted off the ocean to get out of the trollers' way and set down again just off the boats stern, hoping to get a handout of discarded herring.  Other fishing boats were beginning to arrive on the fishing drag and started to put out their gear.  The ocean was still.  As the fisherman watched the fathometer he suddenly had to turn out to avoid some shallow ground.  No use in losing a line and expensive fishing gear he thought, got to be more careful, come on fish, BITE!!!
   
The sun was just casting its first morning rays on the calm ocean when the salmon struck the herring.  The trolling pole started to shake as the huge salmon tugged away trying to escape the herring that had the hidden hooks in it.  The fisherman waited awhile before going back to the fishing pit to pull the salmon in.  You could never tell, another one might hit the trolling line and then another, why pull all that gear in for just one fish when instead you could catch three or four in one pull.  He waited and was about to bring in the trolling line which had the fish on when the trolling pole on the opposite side of the boat started to shake.  YES!!!! he thought.  He started to pull in the first line when another trolling line started to yank and pulled way back behind the stern of the troller.  “Holy Shit!!!!” he thought, the bite is on.
   
By midmorning two fish bins were full of large king salmon.  The deck of the troller was wet with salt water from the wash down hose and blood was flowing out of the boat's scuppers.  The fisherman was getting pretty tired and wanted a cup of hot coffee and a cigarette but knew he couldn't quit working, at least not while the morning bite was on.  He just had to keep pulling in King salmon as long as they were biting.  All day he worked the lines, pulling them in to gaff a salmon and bring it onboard or just to replace old
herring with a new herring and then let the fishing gear back down again. It was almost sunset when he finally pulled in the last of the fishing gear and ran the troller into a nearby harbor for the night.  He still had to ice all the salmon in the ice hold and then maybe rustle up a little something to eat for his dinner before falling into the bunk. It had been a long day and as he laid in his bunk that night drifting off to sleep, he remembered the days when he was attending law school at the university.  I could have gone into law he thought, but somehow this was okay too, and he smiled, thinking that this hadn't been such a bad day at all.

By Paul Corbin

The Blue Light

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!                                        

The Blue Light

The SE Alaskan winters are often long with lots of rain and snow.  There are days when the boat harbors freeze over and even some of the fjords that lead in from the sea.  Nothing moves.  No boats or planes.  Everything is still and silent.  There are no distant sounds of traffic or rumble of freight trains like it is in the cities.  If you step outside, all you will hear is the crunch of your boot in the snow.  The fishermen who live aboard their boats do the best they can to stay warm.  If you are lucky enough to have shore power at the dock and a good oil stove in the galley its not to bad but the lifestyle is not for everyone.  Those that try it beware!!!

At night when you are lying in your bunk you can hear the small fan running that helps the fire pot in the stove generate some heat.  It's sort of like a miniature blast furnace.  The fisherman can also hear the rat-rigging slapping away against the mast directly above his head.  Bang, bang, bang, all night long while the wind whistles through the stays playing all sorts of tunes that seem to be messages from hell.  The boat lurches against the dock and tugs frantically at its mooring lines and the ice up in the rigging keeps crashing down from time to time on the snow covered decks.  The empty whiskey bottle rolls back and forth on the boat's galley floor while you try and get some sleep.  At times you get up from the bunk and check the stove to make sure the fire is still going and pour yourself a cup of two-day old boiled coffee and light up a cigarette.  Another long night in the boat harbor.  The fisherman thinks, "I wish to hell it would hurry up and be daylight".  Winters in SE Alaska are long and hard, especially if you are living in the small space of a fishing boat, like my friend Jack did for many years.

During the daylight hours he might read a book or tie up some fishing leaders. One winter he looked out the pilot house window and saw about six inches of snow on the dock.  There were no footprints anywhere and he turned back to reading his book and lit up one more cigarette and waited.  It won't be long now Jack thought, just a couple more hours and then the blue light will come on.  Everyday he waited for the blue light to come on which is near the top of the ramp that leads up from the docks.  Finally he saw the blue light, a neon 'open' sign in the local liquor store.  He put on a coat, picked up his hat, opened the pilot house door and stepped out on the dock.  The snow was deeper than he thought.  Snow was falling much heavier now and his footprints were fast disappearing as he walked up the ramp toward the lonely blue light that shone out in the cold mist.   I have to be careful not to slip and fall he thought as he slowly made his way up the ramp.  Finally, he reached the door of the liquor store and stood for a moment to brush the snow off his coat and hat.  When he walked into the small room the clerk looked up and said, “You look like a snowman Jack, It's one hell of a storm out there, what can I get you?” “I guess I'll need a bottle of Jim Beam and a six pac of coke”, Jack replied.  “You bought the last bottle of Beam last night Jack.  I'm sorry about that but we haven't had a plane from town for at least two weeks and the fact is I'm running short on everything".  "I have a couple of bottles of Wild Turkey left, It's not that bad really.” The fisherman thought abit and said, "I'll take the two bottles then.”  One never really knew when the next airplane from town would make it out and it might be best to have that extra bottle just in case.  When Jack left the store he saw that the snow was coming down even harder.  By this time it was almost dark again and the blue light glowed across the boardwalk making the snow a beautiful sparkling blue color.  The wind had come up again and as he walked back towards his boat he noticed that the docks were rocking from side to side, making it difficult for him to keep his balance.  Suddenly, one of the bottles slipped out of the paper bag he carried.  As he tried to grab and save the bottle from falling in the water he slipped and fell hard on the edge of the dock. While  Struggling to hold on to the edge of the dock and get back on his feet, he slipped again on the dock and fell into the water.

The water was icy cold.  He set the saved bottle of Wild Turkey  carefully up on the dock.  At least it didn't break, he thought.  The level of the dock was about two feet above the water and when he tried to pull himself up he quickly fell back in.  Alaskan waters are cold and as Jack tried to pull himself up to the safety of the dock he could only lift himself a little ways out of the cold freezing water when he would fall back in again.  His clothes and heavy coat were soaked and his rubber boots were filled with water.  He rested and then tried to lift himself up on the dock once again.  Suddenly he felt very tired.  The water didn't seem so cold now and as he turned his head up he could see the blue light.  It sort of looked pretty all by itself with the snow coming down.  He thought about a Christmas he had spent years ago when he was a little boy.

The next day brought clear cold skys and calm still water.  The harbor master found two bottles of Wild Turkey standing straight up like popcicles in the snow.

Bear

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!

The smell of gun oil and the feel of the rifle pressed against my cheek was all I could sense in what was timeless space.  Stay calm, I told myself, safety is off, keep your eye on the back and front sights, whatever you do don’t move.  My finger rested on the trigger waiting for what ever was going to happen.  The bear stood up testing the wind, sniffing this way and then turning his huge head the other way.  He dropped down on all fours and then stood up again looking straight at me.  He was about 30 feet from me and could be on top of me in a leap or two.  I thought to myself, “Dammit!!! don’t do it. Please bear just go away, I don’t want to shoot you”.  The bear was a sleek black brown color and huge.  A beautiful animal who ruled in this part of Southeastern Alaska.  He stood up again sniffing the air, trying to figure out what it was standing in front of him.  I believe this bear probably had never seen a human being before.  Finally, the huge bear dropped down and turned sideways, moving slowly away as he looked back at this strange creature who had appeared in his territory.  He crossed the muskeg and disappeared from view.  After a bit, I decided it was time to return to the cabin; after all, it was almost dinner time and
we had guests to feed.

 

Oso Pete

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!

Oso Pete

I was down in the ground, digging an outhouse hole behind the cabin when I heard a voice above me say, “if you dig any deeper son, you'll hit water.”  Thats when I first met Oso Pete.  Oso was from Norway and years before had boarded a sailing ship as a common seaman.  He jumped ship in Australia and somehow ended up in Alaska.  He knew every block, tackle and sail that existed on a square rigger and even at his age he could tell you what rope or rigging was called or the name of any sail on one of these ships.  Oso lived in a tiny skid house down the beach from me about a mile or so away.  He was a short, squat man with a lined face from many years on the sea and had a good humor about him.  His way of telling stories was funny and it was nice to be able to talk to somebody like Oso after being alone for so long at the cabin.  He told me that he had his mice and chipmunk friends who would come right up in his lap to be fed.  He had a troller and fished for salmon in the summers.  In the winter months he more often than not would take his boat out to a remote hot springs and anchor up in a secret cove well protected from the winter storms.  Most every day would find Oso soaking away in the natural rock pool of the hot springs.  He also drank the mineral water saying it was good for his constitution and told me that I should try it.  I guess I wasn't tough enough as I just couldn't get it down.  Oso lived for many years and was a good friend to everybody that knew him.  I'm not sure how old he was when he passed on but I always felt lucky to know a man from the old world of adventurous spirits and sailing ships which was fast disappearing from the world we live in today.

Gus

Paul Corbin came to Alaska many years ago to commercially fish for salmon.  The lifestyle suited him and he had many boats, caught many fish, raised a family and maintained a wilderness homestead in a remote area of southeast Alaska that would become Lisianski Inlet Lodge.  Here is his story, enjoy!

GUS


   Old Gus lived on his boat and mostly kept to himself.  He was
   getting on in years but still was able to untie his troller from
   the dock and go out and fish in the pass for salmon.  When he got
   tired, he would come back into the harbor, tie up the boat and
   disappear down into the focsle.  Nobody knew much about Gus except
   that he liked to read what books people gave him, and newspapers,
   and old magazines.  Once in awhile,  he would come up to the
   general store to buy a few groceries but that was about it.  There
   was no doubt that Gus was a man of few words.  However, he was
   always polite in greeting somebody on the boardwalk saying not much
   more than a good day with a nod of his shaggy head.  One day Gus
   headed out of the harbor but did not return.  After several days,
   people began to wonder if old Gus was alright and where he might
   be.  For days the other fishermen kept an eye out for the missing
   boat but with no luck.  Several weeks went by but still no sign of
   Gus or his boat.  More time went by until finally one day another
   fisherman spotted the boat anchored up in a remote cove.  The
   fisherman dropped his anchor and rowed in his punt over to Gus's
   boat to see if everything was alright.  When he came alongside, Gus
   stepped out of the pilot house.  The fisherman said,” Gus, are you
   alright?”  Gus replied, “Yaaah, I'm fine.”  Gus then explained why
   he had not returned to the boat harbor.  It seems that he had
   decided to drop his anchor and take a nap for awhile.  It was then,
   after the anchor was down, that Gus discovered a bird’s nest
   directly under the anchor roller on the bow of the boat  As he
   looked into the nest, he saw several tiny birds eggs in it.  It
   wasn't long before the mother bird flew by and landed near the
   nest.  After awhile, Gus decided to spend the night there and see
   what would happen. He knew that if he raised the anchor, there
   would be a good chance of destroying the nest and crushing the tiny
   eggs in it and so when morning came, he decided to stay a while
   longer.  It wasn't long before Gus resolved to wait until the baby
   birds hatched.  This decision would prove to turn out to be a long
   wait.  Ole Gus hardly had any food left or water either but he was
   set on sticking by his decision.  Fortunately, the other fisherman
   who discovered Gus and his boat gave him some food and water before
   returning to the boat harbor.  Word got out about the nest and the
   baby birds that were due to hatch.  Soon, some of the other folks
   of the tiny fishing community would bring food and water to where
   Gus was anchored and look at the eggs.  Everybody, it seemed, was
   waiting for the baby birds to hatch out of those tiny eggs.  The
   day did arrive of course. And Mama bird was busy feeding her young
   babies.  Gus had to wait for the young birds to grow up enough to
   learn how to fly.  He didn't seem to mind though.  The good ladies
   of the fishing community were mother-henning those baby birds
   bringing Gus some pretty nice home made pies and cakes. He probably
   never ate so good or had so much good company in his entire life.

The Salmon

The Salmon

The trolling line was taut and leading away from the boat’s starboard side.  It  was a huge fish and the fisherman tensed up, gripping the gaff hook tighter in his right hand.  This had to be the granddaddy of them all, he thought, as he held the line in his hands.  Gradually he eased the fish closer to the boat hoping to get a clear hit with the back of the gaff hook on the head of the huge fish.