Friday, November 05, 2010

We used a five-in-one

There's a multi-function scraper that remodelers and finishers use a lot and that's a 'five-in-one, herein called a scraper. And that's just because it's easier to type the latter term. Well, we wore one down to almost the nubbins scraping the insides of that old ferry, the 'Chilkat.' Boy, I'll tell you, we flew into Homer with only the tools in our bags, then had to look for a way to get over the last twenty-five miles of water. Only the lack of tools would come back to bite us later.

We should have heeded my first thought, and that was to drive up to Homer from Seattle in a big van of tools. So that hand scraper came in real handy. We did buy a needle gun for getting off the more stubborn rust and paint. We did have one heck of a compressed air system. Keep in mind how proud ferry operators are of having a real nice air horn. Keeping also in mind that the Chilkat's air horn is still there, begging to be plumbed into the system again.

Tony was the one mostly responsible for the heavy use it got. We called Tony the human tazmanian devil. He seemed to like the term. It sure fit. And not fit, like the gloves we didn't wear nearly as much as we should have. I think we all got nicked pretty good when we started using the little power grinder my son brought. Of course, I'd given him the grinder previously. We had bought an oversized grinding disk for the grinder motor. In consequence, the disk would rotate into your hand when you hit the switch. It only took nicking you once to be real careful.

This was going to be partly about a real win-win situation in the fishing business up north after a real good looking solution hit me. But now it doesn't seem to want to boil up to the surface. Just like a number of expressions I'd liked to have remembered from the movie 'Rob Roy.' But I did remember the part about "a man's honor being the best gift a man can give himself, and why wouldn't you?"

That's one solution right there. If more folks in fisheries management had a little more regard for their own selves, maybe they'd see having some honor isn't such a bad thing. And they aren't the only ones in that boat. All over the capital and in the city and bourough governments you find the same thing. It's a little depressing when you think there about four thousand of them. The only solution is to reach them one at a time. Come to consensus one cup of coffee at a time.

I've said that trying to help solve this is like running with the Olympic torch and hoping you'd get a relief carrier around the next turn. Only to find that other folk have retired to the cafe's heavenly aroma of freshly brewed coffee. No, dedicating oneself to finding solutions certainly is not the easy way through life.

It's taken all this time, from August until now, to recover from hoisting that row-boat on and off my mother's Jeep in Petersburg. I think next time I'll have a roller on the back of the luggage rack. And a few other modifications to make it work. Then I'll just have my trying to set course speed records to blame for my aches and pains. It sure is true that any effort over and above hitting the theoretical hull speed is just going to knock one's self out. I intend to put a motor of some kind in it to make long distance travel more feasible.

A friend told me that a couple had paddled and rowed from the tip of South America to Siberia. And they found that the row boat was a better way to go in the end. In my case, I've had bad back problems all my life, from packing deer out of the woods to carrying 10 X 12 creosote beams at the cannery. Even though I like to row, my back might go out, hence the motor. And I doubt it will be a gasoline motor. Too many better options now for a boat that size.

Speaking of boats, again, John Finley's 36' 'Lindy II' is for sale to someone who, in John's words, "would turn her into a yacht." And of course, this was old Harold Hansen's built-for-personal-use boat. It's a museum piece and he'd like to have it retire to more genteel climes. That's why I'm putting the for sale sign here, because the RSS feed on this goes out all over the place. I saw that when I had a hit meter on this blog. Little lights popping up all over the world. John, maybe your boat will be snapped up by a famous Nobel Prize winner to get some solitude at sea to earn another one. You put a bunch of jerry jugs of diesel and water in the hold and you can go a long ways.

The record I know of in a boat like that was over to Hawaii and back to Alaska. Harold Kalve built that boat himself, fished cod down to the Shumagins, then crossed to Hawaii. (You never did tell me what you were going to do in Hawaii, Harold.) Then he ran back to Seward, and the rest of Harold's story is history.

As far as boat building on the West Coast goes, Harold Hansen in the '30s, was at the top of the game. Everyone wanted his fishing boats. The demand for the boats coming out of his Puget Sound boat yard kept him from fulfilling his dream of retiring on a troller/longliner himself. He used all the best lumber from his yard in building the Lindy II though. John says the boat doesn't ever need caulking. It's such a sturdily built boat that it doesn't 'work.' The heavy steel shoe for ballast makes it even more stout. And John has the exact match of engine to vessel embodied in that Perkins six with a blower.

Don't they say, "Too many features to list," or something like that? I know an awful lot of people who would love to babysit that boat for a chance to take it out once in a while. Myself being one. I'd really like to go visit John and become imbued in the Finley Method of natural food consumption. He comes from Montana farm country and his mother was a nurse. She said the bear fat he brought her one time made the best pie crusts. Lest anyone think this a cool thing, John Foss told me how they handle a bear carcass in Bristol Bay. This is mostly village etiquite, but if someone has to shoot a brownie, everyone has to take part in utilizing the meat. And the result of that is having to chew brown bear jerky for a couple of hours out on the boat in between meals. That tends to put a curb in your desire to off a bear. Your friends will surely make you pay.

In like manner a lot of fish and wildlife, and other resource management for that matter, could be better handled at the local level. How does that bear management around the villages sound? Sounds fair, sustainable, justifiable (Like when a bear breaks into the school cafeteria, or someone is really in need of meat.) Somehow today it struck me again, looking at some pictures of Ben Schmidt's on Facebook of Peru, that there are teeming masses of people out there all over. We just can't afford to wipe out the fish.

There just has to be enough left for people to go get some to eat. No more extinguishing runs of salmon and stocks of herring and other things. And like the Kodiak King Crab. The list goes on and on in Alaska, and don't let anyone tell you is doesn't. And as the plunderers see their actions being illuminated more and more, they are more and more anxious to get all they can while they can. And of course, lots of the federal fisheries management guys are also industry guys. How handy is that?