Amongst the Working Boats – Petersburg

Thursday June 9th

We pushed against the tide working our way through the narrows for most of the way slowed down to 4kts at one point as we pushed against the flood.  The Wrangell narrows is about 20 miles long and has 60 navigational aids to work through and is much like running a river.  Luckily we only met with one ferry and it was at a wider spot so we were able to easily turn into the waves and not take a beating.  Although with GPS the transit was fairly straight forward by the time I slid into our berth at North Harbor I realized I was spent and laid down for about 30 minutes to recharge my brain.


The thing that has struck me the most about Petersburg is that our pleasure craft is a minority and we are surrounded by the southeast fishing fleet and we can truly feel the pulse of an industry prepping to make their money for the year.  From a 1942 troller converted into a gill netter that looks like it barely could float to 100 footers the fleet has fish fever and the promise of a good year and high fish prices.  Talking with one captain he said some of the captains will come home with over a million dollars and his college aged deck hands that work for a couple months bring home well over 20 grand.  The cost to purchase a boat and permit is a big hurdle but as I see the excitement around the harbor I almost get what is what Gold Fever is for fish and want to buy in and join the commercial fleet. The trolling fishery is what appeals to me most, trolling along with the majesty of the coast line and filling the fish hold with purple sheened King Salmon.  In Wrangell I met a troller named Spike who took the time to share the process with me and of the fisheries trolling feels like it would be a match for my personality.  I get a vision of a larger troller with all five of my boys as crew and Cathy inside a nice warm cabin keeping the coffee hot – I know, I a off in fantasy land and honestly these men and women work very hard and risk much for the pursuit of salmon, crab, halibut and the other species along southeast.


Spike shared some good trolling information for me for sport fishing, if you have a faster boat than be sure and put your gear farther back behind your flasher – 50plus inches and the optimal speed is 2 kts for kings.  Spike lives in Home and keeps his boat in Southeast and has crossed the gulf many times and gave me lots of advice for the crossing – thank’s Spike – I really appreciate it.


Cathy met a nice family in Wrangell and spent the evening at their house letting the children play together.  It has been a real blessing to meet families in each of the ports with children to play with.


As we went to bed last night and I was hugging and kissing the older boys Caleb said – Today was the best day of my life:) – we had rowed outside the harbor and caught a bunch of herring on a line that as 7 small hooks and Caleb had the commercial fishing bug bad.  Dad, I can sell these for 50 cents each! do I need a permit! he was in his glory and I really do think he could enjoy a life at sea in pursuit of fish.  Joshua is also starting to get excited about fishing and the triplets like touching the catch and before long with all five boys fishing the Sundog will pretty much be a commercial fishing operation and with how much they eat that is just fine.


We will be spending one more day here in Petersburg and tomorrow we are heading to Kake or nearby and then slowly working our way to Sitka.


Cheers from the Sundog Crew.