Herring Fishing 2011

 Jamin called me the other day (April 1, 2011 to be exact) a little shaken to tell me that the boat he is fishing on in Sitka,  “Infinite Grace”, nearly went down.

They were fishing for herring and had a large set* (about 400 tons they thought) when the herring suddenly sounded**.  The weight of the fish swimming towards the bottom all at once pulled the boat directly over onto its side.  Jamin was the first to jump from the boat into the skiff.  Brittini, the captain’s daughter and crewman, was in the cabin when the boat began to roll and had to be pulled out of the window by Scotty the other crewman who then helped her down to the skiff with Jamin and then Scotty joined.  The captain of the boat, Tom climbed up onto the railing of the boat and remained there ready to jump if the boat were to go under.  If the fish had not hit the bottom at about 75 feet, the boat would have been pulled under before they could release their rigging to free the boat.   They were able to release the seine*** and ended up losing all the fish in the process.

If you watch the video below, you will see at about minute 2, the boat listing to one side and then the rigging being pulled over as the fish begin their dive and the boat begins to roll.

Everyone was okay, albeit a little rattled.  They spent the last few days making repairs to the boat and also to their net which ripped in the process.

*set—what they call the catch of fish captured in the net

** sounded—when all the fish captured in the net decided to swim to the bottom of the ocean all at once.  (Like on Finding Nemo)

***seine—the type of net used in this particular fishery


I have decided to start a new category of blog on my site called the “Jamin Files”. As I write this blog I am reminded of other near death experiences my husband has had in our fifteen years of marriage. His sense of adventure combined with the setting in which of these adventures take place makes for some harrowing stories. I will share more in the weeks to come.
For now I want to say “Thank you, God” for preserving his life and the life of the crew of the ‘Infinite Grace’.” I know it is God’s infinite grace that keeps us all alive!

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Weather Dog

Beyond the four basic seasons of the year, Alaska has one extra season.  Following the long months of winter comes a season affectionately termed “Breakup”.  This was a new concept to me when I first moved to this state after marrying my Alaskan man.  I remember being in the post office one day overhearing women talking and saying “wow, that was a really good breakup this year!”  This statement was met by many affirmative statements or nods of the head.  What were they talking about, I wondered?  The mystery is no longer a mystery now that I have witnessed 14 years of such “Breakups” and the truths about this season remain the same.

Breakup Fun

As the ground slowly warms and the snow begins to melt here in this state, underneath the layer of grasses on the ground, the frost begins to soften.  The layer of frost under the ground can be several feet thick or several inches.  The melting affect causes the roads to sag in places and pot holes become the new normal.  Large trucks are not allowed to carry their full capacity during this season due to the weight on the pavement breaking up the asphalt.  There are many bumps in the roads and gravel roads turn to mud.

One phenomenon about breakup season is the reality that everything that got buried in the winter snow is now thawing and becoming exposed.  The pets who did their “duty” outside and it was quickly buried by a snow storm are stepping outside now to a lawn full of their “deposits” and the smells can be gnarly.  The trash that people threw out of their car windows that was eventually plowed into a berm is now exposed and it looks like a littering ground.

This is where Jamin and I became acquainted with Weather Dog.  We were driving into town one day from our little cabin in the woods of Anchor Point.  It was breakup season and the large berms of snow that lined the sides of the road were beginning to shrink and melt away.  It was on this day that we noticed a patch of fur sticking up from one of the berms.  We didn’t stop to investigate, but every day we drove by we noticed more and more of the fur  exposed of what we would affectionately name Weather Dog.  Weather Dog was an unfortunate animal who at sometime in the winter was hit by a car and plowed into the berm of snow on the side of the road.  It was sad to notice that Weather Dog had been there for such a long time and no one knew he was there.  As spring began to thaw, that is when he was exposed.

It was several days before anyone took care of  Weather Dog.  His body lay in the melting snow for quite a while.  So why did we call him Weather Dog?  He became the weather forecaster for our day.  If  Weather Dog’s fur was wet when we drove by, we knew it was a rainy day.   If  Weather Dog’s Fur was frosty, we knew it had been a cold night…keep your jacket handy.  Weather dog, for just a little while became a familiar scene on our drive into town.

This story may seem a bit cruel and I understand why you would think so, but the reason I share this story is to point out a principle that seems to be true in our everyday lives as well as in Breakup season.  We have the tendency to bury things in our lives.  Bad experiences, poor decisions, griefs, losses, and sins.  We are successful sometimes at keeping them hidden for days, months, or years.  But then the Holy Spirit begins to melt away our hearts, or begins to remove the things in our lives that we used to hide behind and from our lives smells and rubbish begin to emerge.  Sometimes we don’t notice for long periods of time while our neighbors, or family members are made aware of the garbage being exposed.  Sometimes we “stink”.  Sometimes our griefs and losses are apparent to everyone around us, but we haven’t yet faced them….much like Weather Dog.

Hebrews 4:12-13

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God’s Word is able to melt our defenses, expose our junk, and make us whole again.  This process is necessary if there is to be a “Spring” in our lives.  We must allow Him to clean up the dead things and plant new and living things in their place.