Friday, August 5, 2011

Sometimes She Blows

You can hear it coming.  Off in the distance the growl starts, getting louder as it get closer.  Then, when it doesn’t seem to get any louder, it hits, making every creak and shake. Things rattle. Make strange noises.  Before I freak out because think stuff is falling apart, I remember what Vince told me.  Those things are made to go down the road at 65 MPH.  I hear his voice in my head and that makes me feel better.  But, then I think if that is the case, I wonder what kind of blow she can take.  I’m afraid before too long, I’ll find out. Granted, it was made to go down the road at 65 MPH but what if it blows 100?  Anyone want to take any guess as to what will go first?  I’ve heard of them flipping before.  It’s not skirted yet, but will be soon.  I do, however, have about 500 lbs of cement anchored to the hitch.  Hopefully, that will help. I close the vents.  I try not to think of my neighbor who lost his roof a few years ago.
The forecast for the Flats recently was storm warnings, winds to 70 MPH.  The forecast for Prince William Sound was gale warning, winds to 45 MPH.  The fast ferry was cancelled due to high winds and sea conditions.
I hear a thud!  Thud!  Another.  And another.  The cat looks at me as if to say “What the hell was that?”  “I don’t know” I reply out loud.  (What, you don’t talk to your pets?)  It’s not even blowing 60 so this thing shouldn’t be falling apart…….yet.
I crack the window and hear the lapping of the waves hitting the shore in the midst of the wind. I squint out between the rain drops and see white caps on top of one foot chop.  I see spruce cones go flying through the air.  Ah, that’s the thuds.  Spruce cones getting launched and landing on the roof.
It started blowing Saturday night.  It blew solid for the next 96 hours.  And I’m not shitting you.  I don’t mean it came down to 10 with an occasional gust I mean it blew at least a solid 30+.  Where does this wind come from anyhow?  How far has it traveled?  I wonder if it is French wind.  Tibet?  Japan?  No, I bet its Cordova wind.  I expect Cordova wind can travel ‘round the globe in four days.
I listened to the announcement.  25 deliveries and 1000 reds caught.  That’s 40 fish a boat.  That’s about 240 lbs and I think the price is $1.60/lb makes a $384 opener.  That won’t even cover fuel costs.  Glad I wasn’t out there.
Nope, I’m taking a break.  Well, not just me, Skipper is too.  And the rest of the fleet, minus 20 poor suckers who went out on Monday. Most guys do this time of year as there is a historical loll between the reds petering out and the silvers showing up.
Finally, this morning, I can walk around to assess the damage. Not too bad but my flowers are ripped to shreds. I mean each of their precious petals are tattered to pieces. Poor things.  I have to deadhead practically all of them.
John, a fisherman who has been here at least since the ‘60’s was telling me he would go to the lake to determine the forecast.  If it’s blowing on the Flats, it’s blowing on the lake, he stated.  Great.  That is exactly where my camper is. Right on the edge of the lake.  The Heney Range is on one side with the Mnt. Eyak on the other.  Lake Eyak is in the middle turning it into a wind tunnel.
I love this view of Lake Eyak and the mountains but I don’t get to see it much from my camper.  I would have to be broadside to the wind in order to take full advantage of it.  Then again, I think my pretty vista would be short lived if I did that. It would be replaced by a clear view of the sky on one side and the ground on the other.  I chose to nose into it.

Lake Eyak right outside my camper (though not today)

I got lucky this spring given that the weather was pretty decent.  It did blow a few times.  When I told my neighbor that I survived my first blow after a night of 65 MPH wind she retorted Oh honey, that wasn’t a blow.  I know she is right.  It can easily gust 100 here and often does in the winter. 
John was telling me about fishing onetime in Egg Island, inside the barrier islands on the Copper River Flats.   A wind came up that wasn’t predicted.  He said there were about four of them anchored up.  “Man, did that make my antennas sing” he said.  “My anchor line was so tight, you could play it. And I had it all the way out.  I finally picked up and ran up towards the markers about as shallow as I could, three feet.  Another boat was out fishing and they got flipped.  I think it clocked 96 that day”.
96.  That’s only 31 MPH more that what my camper was made to go down the road at.  Think it will make a difference?


Tele said...

Damn, Jen! Cap'n J and I keep talking about how we're going to fish tougher, really we are, but reading scenes like this... No, thanks! Lot of fun to read you writing about it, though, and lovely to learn that you've got a boat cat, too. (Love your sentences about the wind's nationality.) Anyway, just wanted to give you a mid-season shout-out and say how delighted I am that we're co-columnists over at AKW... Welcome!

Janet said...

Jen, ask your neighbor on the other side...that trailer was redone after the entire roof got ripped off and landed on their truck (previous owners). You'll be on the road before the big stuff hits! You are smart not to park broadside I think! Thanks for the blog, enjoy it.

Jen Pickett said...

@ Tele Hey Tele! Thanks for the shout-out. Hope your season is going well!. Yes, it is pretty cool that we are both now at AKW. Everyone who is anyone is at AKW!
But I have to admit the cat is not a boat cat. Currently, he is a camper cat. Previously, he was a condo cat. He is adjusting. I doubt he would like the boat, he didn't really like the ferry ride over here. He tolerates the truck though. Anyhow, thanks for the welcome wagon!
@ Janet. I HOPE I'm on the road when the big stuff hits! I already feel the camper shake and can't help but wonder at what wind speed does she start to wiggle. Glad you like the blog, that's encouraging to hear! Hope you had a good trip!

Marguerita McManus said...

Hi Jen, nice blog! Thanks for stopping by the Buchanan Fishing blog and leaving a note. I've been thinking about Cordova a lot lately - missing those salmonberries :) Wishing you a safe and prosperous season, Marguerita

Jen Pickett said...

Hi Marguerita,

Thanks for the shout. I did the same thing, I found your blog surfing Commercial Fishing Mom Blog.
And yes, I do know Danny. He is a good friend of mine and we used to be in the same radio group when I fished my own boat on the Copper River Flats. I'll tell him you say HI.

Take care,