Friday, June 14, 2013

#2013-23 Man Overboard! The Tale of Leaping Larsen

We're up early and out of Stillwater Harbor by 8am on the way across Whale Bay and up its Small Arm to drop the prawn traps. We drop'em and continue up to the end of Small Arm to scope out tonight's anchorage.  It looks pretty good with a majestic snow-capped mountain view.

By the time we're able to begin fishing it's well after 11am.  We start at the base of the Small Arm trolling the coastline towards the Great Arm. Within minutes the call from the back of the boat is "Fish On" and sure enough we land a medium size coho salmon. As soon as that fish is aboard the lines are back in and King salmon is hooked up.

Now as most of you know Alex has hearing in only one ear, and with the door shut it's difficult to hear the "Fish On" call. The call is needed so that he can take the boat out of gear until the fish is aboard. A better sounding device is needed.

Sometime in the 1800's the Coast Guard required all boats to have a ship's bell. The bell is considered a manual sounding device.  It's a backup for today's ship's whistle, boat horn and siren sounder but typically is never used. Wild Blue's bell is mounted just outside the rear door, super handy for the fisherman, and rings a sound that Alex can hear all the way from the pilot house.

Sid hooks into a big King.

Roger fights a King.

Double Hookup!

As the day progresses, the sweet sound of ringing bells brightens our day. Within 3 hours we have several fish and are on our way to pick up the crab traps. By the way there are no crabs in Stillwater Harbor. By 5pm we anchor at the end of Small Arm and launch the tender to reset the crab traps there.

Roger and Alex are returning in the tender to the boat.  They have set the traps and are attempting to tie up. Sid lends at helping hand to Roger attempting to get the tender closer. However, the opposite is occurring, and as the tender inches away, Roger loses balance and dunks  (or was it leaps) head first into the cold Alaskan waters.  Burrrrr!

Thankfully the man overboard is wearing an inflatable life vest. He is able to hold onto the tender without inflating the vest, but is unable to pull himself out of the water, even with Alex's help! By now the rest of us are worried that he may be getting the chills.  He isn't speaking much, then suddenly mumbles "oh shit!" Are we witnessing the onset of hypothermia?

We quickly get the stern underwater ladder deployed and guide Roger to it. After 6 minutes or so in the water, he is able to leave it under his own power.  Still worried about hypothermia we ask Roger to disrobe and go get in a hot shower, even though he insists he is not cold at all. Later after his hot shower, a check of the ocean temperature reveals it's a warm 66 degrees! ......Who knew.

Whale Bay's notable locations.
Turning the corner into the end of Whale Bay's Small Arm.
A good day of salmon fishing up to this point!
Dave's seafood soup. Yum!
Roger's wallet and camera went for a swim too.  Surprising what
one finds in a wallet.  Is this laundering money or what?

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