Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Bering Sea

I am not new to hitchhiking. The first time I remember hitchhiking was with my parents leaving an air show. I hitchhiked a lot when at university, as my uni town and home town were 400km apart,  and the train connection was long and expensive. With Michal we used to hitchhike to go climbing to France and to Spain. I remember one particular trip, that took us across the Alps in January, very cold, six days before my final exam at uni.

Sometimes, with my friend, we hitchhiked as a way to see random places relying on people to tell us where it’s the best to go.

I hitchhiked with big bags, with skies, 2 bicycles. So over time, I thought it would be great to hitchhike with a sea kayak, but haven’t had an opportunity yet. I hitchhiked on roads big and small, motorways, in towns and cities.

What I haven’t expected at all was that I would actually hitchhike on the sea to reach the so called  Alaskan Marine Highway. Yeah, I became a hitchhiker in Bering Sea.

The first boat I ended up on, was the rescue boat, Tony’s. However, I did not get much time to spent there. Just as I was starting to feel perfectly well, and was considering to become a commercial fisherman for the day, a tender appeared in the distance.

It was called Melanie, and was coming over to pick me up. It’s much bigger than Tony’s boat, so me and my stuff won’t be in a way of anyone.

Josh, Patty, Sam and Zack, the crew, made me feel welcome, I got my own tiny cabin, but spent most of the afternoon of the deck watching the fishing boats arrive, empty their fish into the tank, then getting fuel or water.

This went on until quite late in the evening. After that we made a brief stop at Port Moller, however, since it was already eleven in the night, I decided to stay on the boat. It picked up crates with ice, and went on to anchor in a bay better protected from the elements than the harbour is.

The next morning we took off and aimed right inside the Herendeen Bay. There the tender was meeting other two to transfer fish to take to King Cove to Peter Pan Cannery. I got to see how fish is sucked by a “hoover” from one tank into the other. But it wasn’t just the fish that was transferred, later in the afternoon myself and my stuff swapped from Melanie to Bering Hunter, which will be later heading to King Cove.

And King Cove is a place along the Maritime Highway giving me a chance to catch a ferry further east.

The crew of the Bering Hunter, Shaun, Brook and Zain, was very welcoming, too. Even Stanley the dog was stopping to have a chat. It will take good 24 hours for us to teach the Pacific side of the peninsula. Sadly the views were covered in fog and low clouds.

While the fish was still transferred, the hose broke loose spitting some on the deck, just when I came to watch. And as I explored the deck of the new tender, I noticed that it wasn’t just dead fish that was lying there, Freya’s kayak was there, too. So here we go. I think this is it, it almost makes me a hitchhiker with a kayak!

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