Crabbin’ with Ranger Dug

Ranger Dug and I set off for the crab pot yesterday.
First, I had to dig out the driveway up to the skiff.
This is alongside my garage, so all the snow sluffs
off into the driveway there. Also, it’s where our
plow friend pushed the snow. I got enough shoveled
out, and then tried to run through with the truck.
This took several tries, but finally I climbed the
small incline to the boat hitch. The only problem
was, every time I got up to the hitch, the truck would
slide downhill. I was by myself and could not get it
to hold there. I tried putting chocks, which I would
run over, but they slid down with the truck too. I
finally remembered the chains I bought last year just
for this purpose. I put a chain on one tire, and it
helped, but not enough. When I put the chains on the
second tire, that was the ticket.

Next came the shoveling out of the boat. Of course,
all the anchor, anchorline, and chain was frozen solid
to the floor boards, so those weren’t going anywhere.
the gas tanks and gasline were free enough, so that’s
all that mattered.

The next day, on the way to the ramp, the hitch jumped
off the ball on the highway, but luckily the safety
chains held, and so Dug and I were able to muscle the
trailer tongue back on to the hitch. I mentioned
maybe I should tighten the hitch nut, but Dug assured
me it would hold…..

We were underway from the boat launch to the cabin
with no further incidents. When we checked the crab
pot, we had 8 nice ones. We rebaited the pot, and set
it near the same spot.

We crossed over to Horse Island and pulled the skiff
out on the easy-out line, then tramped into the cabin.
Still a lot of snow on the trail, but not so much
that I lost the trail as in the past. There was some
sign of deer, so that was good after such a poor
hunting year.

We feasted on leftover deer and salad from earlier in
the week, with lots of coffee. Sleep, as always, was
as good as it gets.

Today, we left early as Dug needed to get back to do
his taxes, so his wife said. We got to the beach in a
dense fog, so sat down to wait it out.

The seagulls were bathing down below us about 100
yards, and you could hear their wings whipping in the
water. The sun broke through, and the gulls lined up
along the sandy point, and squawked in unison,
praising Mr. Sun.

When we finally could see across to Admiralty, we
headed over to see if the new bait brought any new
crab. It did not. The fog was still tight in
Stephens Passage. I didn’t think it would be too good
to have just applied for my 50 ton license, and then
be cut in two by one of the crabbers out in the pass,
fishing for tanner crab. We could hear the boats
working off and on. The skiff has no radar, lights,
or operable depth sounder, so we tied off to a mooring
buoy near Colt Island to wait for the fog to lift.

One of Dug’s hunting buddies came by in his boat. He
has a place on Colt Is, and was going to do some
diving work on some moorings. He asked if we’d seen
the orca whales pass, but we did not due to the fog.
Dug sent his condolences for his father, who just
passed away from lung cancer. The son said he’s
wished they could have got dad out for one more deer

After they passed, we chipped more ice out from the
skiff floor, drank the last 2 beers in the bag, and
otherwise did what we could to keep busy. After about
an hour, the fog lifted enough to see, and we sped
across Stephens Passage on flat calm water. Home
welcomed us with phone call messages and chores. Boy
Howdy, it’s been too long since we’ve been out on the water.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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