This blog comes a bit later than it should. Here we are well into October, and I’m putting in pics from fishing in August. What can I say, time seemed to accelerate on the boat, then back east for a quick trip (where I got to witness used Carhartts on sale for $60 at a boutique in SoHo!) then back up to Sitka for September lights out coho fishing with guru Eric Jordan. But I’ll start back with in early August with his son Karl. We wrapped up dingle-barring for ling cod, after being hauled in by the Coast Guard bastards with their sidearms, seasickness, and general smarminess. It felt nothing so much as being boarded by an undercover pirate ship. Young boys and their toys, having fun with authority. But enough about that. (This is the second time I think in this blog series the Coast Guard hasn’t come off so good. There are some good Coasties, I know it. Somewhere.) I got to spend a little time on the Adak, which has transformed into a blooming beauty under Jackie’s care. Meanwhile summertime continued apace in Sitka, neighbors drying out the salted bear skins, that sort of thing. Rach and I did some fileting and vacuum-sealing of sockeye for the winter, and began to brush up on our mushrooms for the fall. After being on the boat for most of the summer it was good to catch up with the Sitka crew, eating marshmallows and shrimp by the firepit. And, of course, go shopping at Big Sea, which must be the most beautiful grocery store location in the world. I Also forgot to mention dingle-barring with Karl I scored an octopus from a ling cod stomach. “But I don’t know how to cook this!” were Rachel’s words when I dangled it in front of her. We ended up preparing it in a slow-cooked Sicilian stew, then served it up with smiles that the Greeks must have worn when they cooked kids in stews and served them to unknowing parents. I think that’s the next “in” food – Octopus pre-brined in a ling cod stomach. NYC and Bourdain would be all over it!
As I said I had the trip back east, which included amusement park rides and long lazy walks down the Ocean City boardwalk, and many sweet little kids we got to play with in the sand. Staying in Tribeca with my buddy Will (read his book “A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall” – it’s amazing), doing my best to keep up in the boxing ring. And from there it was a plane back into Sitka, and at six AM the following morning out on the “I Gotta” with Jordan Pere, Mr. Eric Jordan, slaying some huge coho. I mean the suckers just kept on coming. The weather blew up off the Cape and we made a beeline for Salisbury Sound, but not before it started rocking pretty good, green water coming over the stern. But I’ll go out with Eric any day – he’s about as salty and as fishy as you get. Fish after fish, dressing as fast as they came in. The work made me realize a few things, first off how much easier slushing was instead of iceing, and also how damn lucky I was to get this fellowship at Stanford, and lastly how lucky I was to be on a boat with a sharp captain. It never ceases to amaze me, the strength the body expends rebelling in the first couple days fishing, saying this is wrong, I’m not doing this, the whole thing sucks, the crappy food and body-breaking work and seasickness – and then finally the spirit of this whiny soft part gets broken and then you’re just coasting. Time disappears. It’s kind of nice. Or maybe it’s just going numb. But when the sun’s out and the fish are biting and BB King or Bob Marley croon away on the deck speakers and you know you’re making $ doing this, it’s pretty rockin’.
So we wrapped up fishing, and I came on back down to Cali to catch up with all the usual suspects down here, those catty Stegs. Ended up lucking into tickets to go see the Philadelphia Eagles in San Francisco, painful game that it was. But got to see the boys warming up on the field, and that made it worth it.
Now it’s back to the writing. I published another piece in the New York Times, I’ll include a link here.
In the meantime I proposed to Rach, and I must have picked the right day, because she agreed to be my wife. I’m over the moon-excited. In the next few days I get notes back from HMH, hopefully the last revision of the book. It’s excruciating, this wait, the amount of time required for the revision. But I trust my editor.
And do believe, with all my heart, that things are going the way they should. All of it.