How to be an Alaskan fisherman
May 18, 2007 11:57 PM   Subscribe

How to be an Alaskan fisherman is a fantastic photoessay by Corey Arnold targeted to any armchair crab hunters who've watched a few episodes of Deadliest Catch, about how to go from being a teenager in California to working one of America's most tortuous & lethal jobs.Via
posted by jonson (23 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed the photos. Thanks.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:53 AM on May 19, 2007

I never expected—of all animals—for cats to be regularly taken onto ships, but now that I see it (and read into it a bit) it makes perfect sense.

Good read, great pictures, thanks jonson!
posted by carsonb at 2:30 AM on May 19, 2007

Very cool. Thanks.
posted by Cyrano at 3:08 AM on May 19, 2007

That was fascinating, thanks!
posted by VirtualWolf at 4:18 AM on May 19, 2007

Thanks. Awesome FPP showing the other side of the 'Deadliest Catch'. My roommate happens to be an ex-aleutian crab fisher, and he always told me as much.
posted by SeanMac at 4:27 AM on May 19, 2007

Good find! Thanks....
posted by HuronBob at 5:15 AM on May 19, 2007

i worked on a salmon barge in alaska for two summers right out of college. let me tell you, 16 hour work days everyday, cold and wet always. labor intensive to be sure! thanks for the post as it brought back vivid memories.
posted by brandz at 5:25 AM on May 19, 2007

posted by The Straightener at 5:29 AM on May 19, 2007

When he was young youd not find him doing well in school,
His mind would turn unto the waters.
Always the focus of adolescent ridicule,
He has no time for farmers daughters.
Alienated from the clique society,
A lonely boy finds peace in fishing.
His mother says john this is not the way lifes supposed to be.
Dont you see the life that you are missing?
And he says...
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.

Now years gone by we find man that rules the sea.
He sets out on a dark may morning .
To bring his catch back to this small community.
He doesnt see the danger dawning.
Four hours up, oh the ocean swelled and swelled,
The fog rolled in it started raining.
The starboard bow. oh my God were going down!
The do not hear his frantic mayday.
And he says
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.
Ill live and die a fisherman.
Calling john the fisherman.

posted by Muddler at 5:39 AM on May 19, 2007

I've never seen Deadliest Catch (not a reality show fan) but I've heard stories from friends that went up there. In Southern California as a teen, everyone talked about wanting to be a tough guy and go up there in the summer to make lots of cash.

I always figured the reality was much farther from the truth but this post is a fantastic story in photos. It's really honest.
posted by mathowie at 5:40 AM on May 19, 2007

Very nice post, thanks!
posted by maxwelton at 6:14 AM on May 19, 2007

This is really friggin cool. Thanks.
posted by veggieboy at 6:25 AM on May 19, 2007

excellent rainy Saturday morning read, jonson - thanks!
posted by madamjujujive at 6:28 AM on May 19, 2007

Only downside is my feeling of inadequacy after seeing the halibut gonads.
posted by veggieboy at 6:38 AM on May 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nice post. I, for one, will stick with my pointy-clicky-typee job, with the occasional getting up to take tapes out of the Adic.
posted by everichon at 7:43 AM on May 19, 2007

Nice post.

"Don't expect to land a crab job. There are way too many experienced crabbers out of work these days. Last season, the place was swarming with wannabe crab fisherman because of Deadliest Catch. I didn't hear of any landing good jobs. Most just milled around for months."

I wondered about whether Dutch Harbor would be flooded with landlubbers after we all got a peek into the scene up thataway. I can put that fantasy away now, knowing that even the more bold (and less encumbered) Hansen family fanboys couldn't get a gig on the Northwestern.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 7:51 AM on May 19, 2007

posted by null terminated at 8:31 AM on May 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Great stuff. Utterly convinces me yet again that I myself am not the adventure seeking manual laborer type. I think that was underscored in great emphasis when I got to the "I dropped a bucket of engine degreaser into my open eyeballs." GAH!
posted by smallerdemon at 8:32 AM on May 19, 2007

These are lovely and make me homesick. One of the men in his pictures, Larry, was the father of my best friend in high school. I was always so sad when their family left to go fishing every summer. My family fished as well, but we stayed near Homer and came home for church every weekend.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:34 AM on May 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Forgot to mention that my father got hundreds of resumes from young men every year hoping to get a spot on his fishing boat. Some of them had cover letters and full-color glossy photos, and others were handwritten on lined paper. As far as I know, he never hired one because, as he told me once, none of them knew what they were asking for and probably wouldn't last.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:38 AM on May 19, 2007

You had me at "genital barnacles".
Neat post!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:44 PM on May 19, 2007

I knew a guy who lost both of his legs from the knee down in a commercial fishing accident. Many of the old fishermen I've met have some odd injury or are unusually weather-aged.

A friend of mine who fished in the Gulf of Alaska for many years got out of it because the money's not as good as it used to be – it just wasn't worth it anymore.
posted by D.C. at 2:15 PM on May 19, 2007

Very cool.
posted by me3dia at 1:19 PM on May 26, 2007

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