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Beaver teeth

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Beaver teeth

Postby yak2you2 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:10 pm

Something happens to men as they get older. Ornery is one word for it, there's a lot of other words that have been used over the years. You'll surely never know this more than when you find yourself working as a crewhand for one of these fellows.
Almost since birth I've been a fisherman, but I always wanted to experience more when I was young,,,,so I did.
I've been up the inside passage from Seattle to Alaska 3 times, been a crewman on a longliner for Halibut and Black Cod, been out west for winter King and Opilio crab fishing, been a Dungeness crab fishermen on my own boats and crewed on others, been a Herring fisherman as a crewhand in the Kah Shakes herring fishery.
In this time I've probably experienced at least 2 or 3 dozen different skippers over the years.
Enter in the orneriness factor.....
As any experienced crewhand will tell you, something happens to a captain that hardens them over the years, and some wind up with a certain sense of arrogant, egotistical, ecentricty that can be darn hard for crewmen to tolerate at times.
Here is my favorite story.
I was a crewman on a boat fishing Opilio crab one February on the South end of Kodiak Island. The offered priced was not something that the fleet was willing to except, so a strike was in place, and had been for about 2 weeks. We were tied up to an old, defuncted cannery dock, waiting out the weather and the price. Nasty weather would be and understatement of what it looked like. It was probably blowing 70 Knots steady, with higher gusts. Sideways snow, and windchill that bit thru anything. We were on regular ice pounding detail just tied to the dock, it was so bad.
The old man got up one morning, apparently with a little to much wheel house time put in, and goes out on deck to pee, even though we had a flushing toilet. He spots a giant wad of twisted up longline washed up under the dock from the summer guys, hooks it with a buoy stick, and comes dancing into the galley with glee, announcing that he had happily found us a project for the day. His plan was to have us cut the old longline up into little 4 foot chunks to use for pot ties, which are used for tieing the doors of the crab pots shut. The problem we all had with that was,,, it was damn cold, and we already had about 500 spare pot ties. The old man wasn't having any argument though,,,, so soon enough we were all out on deck,cutting, measuring, burning the ends of, and bundling hundreds more pot ties.Took us hours to do, and we were all so frozen that we couldn't feel anything by the time we were done.
Now, crew grumble in all different kinds of fashions, but this time it was one of the worst I ever heard, or par took of. Nothing was off of the menu. Discussions continued all day about over weight children, wives with over bites,,,,etc.
Finally came the coup de grace,,, delivered by a friend of mine. He says, what is it with skippers anyway?? " you guys ain't got nothin' better to do today, why don't you go run up to the top of that mountain and get us that tree up there, we could use some new wood for the the deck. Axes?? we ain't got no stinkin' axes, here,,, you whiners, here's a false set of beaver teeth, you can gnaw the tree down with these".
That was a lot of years ago, but I swear for as long as I live,,, I'll never forget that line.
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Re: Beaver teeth

Postby f/v henrietta w » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:03 am

Cranky skippers give us the best stories. My Uncle Pat was Red Crab fishing in the 80's and used to have a skipper who would count 5 guys on deck, throw down 4 snickers bars, and yell "Lunch", just to see who would get left out. Much like being aboard a submarine, being on the ocean affords us too much time to come up with ways of harrassing our fellow man!
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