As I did in August and most of July, I spent the entire month working. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, first of all, shame on you (just kidding!)… I have been working in Alaska as a fisheries biologist. I take field data and send it to the big guys that monitor fisheries and make catch quotas. This job is seasonal, with this first contract being three months (from when I got here in late July) and subsequent contracts being when I want and for how long I want, but typical seasons are two-three months on, two-three months off. You can read more about my training in this post.
At the beginning of the month, I got on my second boat after being on my previous boat for a month. I am in the same fishery, so not much has changed in the way of my sampling methods, but this boat offloads at a different factory and is a bit different. As I mentioned in my last month’s post, I have my own room with a TV on this boat, Internet, great vegetarian food (thanks, Rob!) and an especially lovely crew. Rather than offloading in Dutch Harbor, my new boat offloads in Akutan, where not much else is there but the fish factory. It’s kind of a bummer having nothing to do on land, but hell, I’m saving a lot of money without the temptation of bars and restaurants.
Fortunately, we have recently made the odd trip to Dutch Harbor and I have been lucky enough to see some friends from my training class every so often. In Dutch Harbor, I also had a mid-assignment meeting where they review my methods and progress. It went well but I got a few feedback points to work on.
We have been tendering in Sand Point for the last week, meaning we are taking fish from smaller boats to deliver to our usual plant and I haven’t sampled in almost a week. At first, I didn’t believe prior observers when they said one of the hardest parts about this job is the boredom, but I can only watch so much Breaking Bad and go for so many walks around this small port before I’m ready for a change.
Luckily (or perhaps not), I just got word that my boat is done fishing and I’m flying back to Seattle today. As I understand, I will review my data from my first two boats and chill in Seattle for about a week until they have a new boat for me, likely based out of Kodiak, where I will spend the rest of my contract, which amounts to a few weeks by the time I embark. I’m looking forward to a little break with takeaway pizza, more company (90% of conversations here are dominated by fishing, I think I forgot how to talk about anything else) and a chance to reset.
I can’t believe my first contract is almost up. With the three weeks of training I had before this three-month contract, I’m more than ready to go home and spend some of my money on travel before returning for another season in January.
What I’ve been watching: 50/50
What I’ve been listening to: Withdrawls by Landon Tewers, ZUU by Denzel Curry, Fight the Good Fight by The Interrupters, Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie, Norman fucking Rockwell by Lana del Rey