Sailing in Alaska
Dave Mrowiec never surrendered the helm when he took his wife and another couple sailing along the York River in strong winds. I’ve never seen anyone happier behind the wheel.
“My father sent to me Alaska when I was 19 to work on a fishing trawler. It was 52 feet and we’d fish for salmon. It was dangerous work in rolling seas, and very cold. I heard of another boat losing someone at sea, but not ours.
“The routine was to go out at 4 am the first day and fish till 11 at night. The next day would run 4 am to 8 at night and so on. We’d be out for five days at a stretch. A smaller tender would come by and suck the fish out of our tanks so we could catch more.
Dave asked a question about the “Red Right Return” rule and got it right. “One night I was on watch tagging behind the first mate. It was foggy, and I noticed we somehow got inside the red buoy and thought we should be outside. I checked the charts and I was right. I was the new guy, so I had to tread carefully. I went to him and said, ‘Do you think we should move this way, inside the buoy?’ He hollered at me about how he was a veteran fisherman and navigator and I was just a young punk. Still, I was worried. I went to the captain and asked his advice. He yelled at me too, but he went up on the bridge to check for himself. When he found we were headed wrong, he let out a string of expletives on the other guy that was amazing.”
Did the first mate or captain thank you? “Oh no, they would never do that.”
Today Dave works for a heavy machinery company that works in marine terminals doing diving, repairs, transport and more. He certainly loves the water. Who could blame him?
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