Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

another I.C.E.: live rockfish

Last night was an all around interesting evening, actually.

The first thing was that I went to Tofino to teach my beginner knitting class. At the start of yesterday (Tuesday), there were only two people signed up. Just as I arrived, the sixth person signed up. Four women, one man, and a teenager. It was great. Some of these students already knew some of what I was teaching, some of them caught on really quick and were zipping right along. This is great! Everyone will learn what the class promised: cast on, knit, purl, cast off. But because we are moving so quickly, they will learn other techniques as well as stitch patterns. Garter stitch, stockinette, ribbing, seed stitch. Next week I'll show them k2tog, yo, and other increases/decreases.

On the way home, I picked up two hitchhikers. They had been at one of the beaches and were originally going to go to Tofino to have dinner, they realized it was getting dark (it was about 9:20pm at this point) and they had better return home to Ukee and find dinner there. Interesting people. The fellow had a biology degree and worked at the MEC call centre in Vancouver. The gal, also from Vancouver, is living in Ukee for the summer working for Parks. I told them all about my Master's research (they were interested!) and grad school, etc. I recommended the Offshore Restaurant, and dropped them off there.

I got home and Dan was not here. Where is My Sweety?, I texted. At the Whisky Dock. Right. I had forgotten he wanted to have a look at what offloading of live rockfish looked like. So I went down and joined him.

Turns out they didn't have enough guys to help. There was only one and they needed 'two more guys'. I said 'I'll be a guy!' and we set to work.

So here's how it goes: on the vessel, one of the deckhands scoops out the fish swimming in the hold full of water with a net. He passes the end of the net to another deckhand who flips the fish out of the net into a bucket with holes in the bottom. The fish have to be sorted by species for the validator, so there are about eight different buckets. Species we saw last night: Quillback rockfish, Copper rockfish, China rockfish, Yelloweye rockfish, and some rather large Lingcod. These fish are so beautiful when they are alive.

So depending on how many fish there are, the bucket gets lifted off the vessel and put onto a scale. The validator takes a count and weight of the species, then one of the 'guys' carries the bucket from the dock up to the ramp to the truck. The guy tells the truck driver what species it is and how much it weighs. He grabs the bucket, dumps the fish into his totes full of sea water, hands the bucket back, and guy goes back to the vessel for more.

I don't know how much live fish we offloaded last night, probably 700-1000lbs. It took just over an hour. The vessel gets $10/lb for live rockfish, $2/lb for dead. So doing live is definitely worth the effort. These guys had only been fishing for three days.

While we were there, a tourist came by to see what was happening. He was polite and respectful, kept his distance, but found the whole process fascinating.

Also while we were there, one of the skippers from another vessel came by, totally in his cups (i.e. drunk) and was very friendly with me and the attractive female validator. Not too friendly, thank goodness, because Dan would have gotten ... well, I don't want to think about it. We were on the dock next to water, the skipper was drunk, and people could have been hurt.

It got me thinking though, about fishermen being drunk. They are so used to being on the boat, do they still have their sea legs when they are inebriated? I mean, sure they are obviously not as safe when they are drunk, but do they stand a better chance than someone who wasn't familiar with being on a boat all the time and drunk? I'm curious.

Dan had put a stew on to simmer hours before and when we walked in the door just before midnight, it was ready. Normally when I eat so late, so soon before I go to bed, I have a hard time sleeping. But it was a long and eventful and physically demanding day, so after that delicious and rewarding late meal, I was asleep soon after I laid my head on the pillow.

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