Back in September, there was a news story about a fisherman found adrift in a plastic fish tote following the sinking of the troller he was fishing from.
This true story had a tremendous ending for the fact that both fishermen defied the odds and survived!
This would usually be the end of the story, alls well that ends well.
There is so much to this tale of good fortune, and through a lot of luck for all that read this, and who also watch the video of a wonderful writer, and story teller who by fate, found herself right in the middle of it along with her life partner Joel Brady-Power and Bear the Boat Cat on board F/V Nerka out of Sitka, Alaska, you will feel like you are there!
Enough out of me, though.
This is Tele Aadsen, and these are her story's from her blog, Hooked.
Lost at Sea: The Man in the Fish Tote (published in National Fisherman)
Friday, September 7th, is a bad day on the ocean.
With the forecast calling for Southeast winds of 35 knots and 11-foot seas, the Nerka spends the morning trolling in the mouth of Gilmer Bay. We hadn’t expected to be fishing at all today. If we catch anything, we reason, they’ll be bonus fish, and we’ll already be safe in the harbor’s arms when the wind comes up. On Day 13 of a grueling trip, a relaxing afternoon on anchor sounds good.
We eat lunch on the pick shortly after the wind bares its teeth, but any further thought of relaxing whooshes overboard with the building gusts. By early afternoon, eight trollers cluster on the bay’s southern shelf, straining taut anchor lines. Our companions are 48-foot fiberglass and steel rigs, sturdy, seaworthy vessels. As seaworthy as any of us can be. With September’s onslaught of fall weather, no one wants to push their luck. Winner of the tough guy award, the final arrival drops his anchor at 3:00.
Whitecaps slam-dance between boats as the wind holds steady at 39 knots. The gusts are dragon’s breath, visibly rip-snorting through the bay. An elderly wooden troller, located several hours away behind St. Lazaria Island, begins taking on water, and one of our harbor mates drags anchor. As the captain naps, his boat shoots clear across the anchorage as if sail-powered, pausing a quarter-mile from the rocks. Another troller is charging over to alert him, when he wakes in time to avert disaster.
Darkness brings a rare pardon. The man taking on water reports that he’s safe for the night. The gusts let up and the whitecaps come down. The dragon goes to sleep, and so do Joel and I. Deep in relieved dreams, neither of us hear the Coast Guard’s midnight call to any vessels anchored in Gilmer Bay.
“THERE!” Joel leaps up from the pilot seat, pointing out the window with one suddenly shaky hand, yanking the throttle down with the other. “What’s that?”
Sitka fisherman survives day at sea adrift in fish tote
Plenty of people heard the first story: Lost at Sea: The Man in the Tote. (http://bit.ly/ODBduw) But what happened next? Even with a miraculous happy ending, how did Southeast Alaska's fishing communities handle the secondary trauma of near-tragedy? I shared this essay for the first time at Sitka's maritime-themed Monthly Grind, during Whalefest, November 2, 2012.