Posted by: Johanna | August 16, 2009

Alaskan Adventures

Well friends, I’ve been out of Dillingham for a week and have been adventuring my way through other parts of this fine state. While a more detailed account will follow, for now here’s a (relatively) short list of some of the things I’ve done…

  1. Went to Chilkoot Charlie’s in Anchorage with none other than Jennie Davy.
  2. Visited the Anchorage Museum. Have to say, I was pretty impressed.
  3. Spent a couple of days in and fell in love with Talkeetna, AK. If I disappear next year, look for me there…
  4. In a Cessna 180, flew in front of Mt. McKinley. Breathtaking, spectacular, awesome in the the intended sense of the word. If you ever get the opportunity to go on a flight-seeing tour of Denali, DO IT!!!!!
  5. Saw many moose.
  6. Saw my godfather for the first time in about 15 years.
  7. Met and had a lovely conversation with Aldona Jonaitis, outgoing director of the Museum of the North, and one of my personal nerd crushes.
  8. Saw a great horned owl outside of Central, AK.
  9. Slept in the car outside of a roadhouse in Central, AK.
  10. Peed in the Yukon River.

Tomorrow, Jennie, Christina, and I head off down the Al-Can towards “civilization” (boo. hiss.). I’m sad to leave Alaska, but I am ready to see friends and family and home. Expect radio silence for about a week, but then many many stories of the crazy and wonderful things I’ve been doing.

Hiding away in Talkeetna(Heaven = a little cabin in Talkeetna, AK)

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Posted by: Johanna | August 9, 2009

Feasting with Friends

A few weeks back some friends orchestrated a feast at the Fish and Wildlife Bunkhouse. Everyone brought something to contribute and we pigged out all evening. I’m not going to go into a detailed explanation, I’m just going to show you.

the spread(Salads, and beans, and rice, and sweets, and buffalo brats, and salmon, and moose steaks, oh and more salmon…)

leviathan(and KING CRAB!)

digging in(Everyone was seriously concentrating on those crab legs.)

King Crab!(Yes!)

Anyway, the whole thing was absurdly delicious, and I could barely walk at the end, I’d eaten so much. Nothing beats good company and good food.

Posted by: Johanna | August 9, 2009

Oh I love pies of any size…

Last weekend Deb Burton took some friends and I berry picking outside of town. Throughout the summer I’d been hearing stories of all the different kinds of berries one can find in the Dillingham area: high-bush and low-bush cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries, salmonberries (also called cloudberries), and watermelon berries, to name a few. For people in SW Alaska, berry picking is yet another subsistence activity.

With the berries they make the more obvious dishes: pies, tarts, breads, and smoothies. But they also make a traditional Native Alaskan food known as akutaq (pronounced sort of like a-GOO-duck), or Eskimo Ice Cream. Traditionally, akutaq was made with whatever berries one found and seal oil. The two ingredients were whipped together into a sort of frosting-like paste. People ate it fresh, right after it had been made, but they also store it away for the winter, when it would freeze and become much more like the ice cream we eat today. The reason for this is that the seal oil makes akutaq a very high fat food, and in the winter it was necessary to consume high fat foods for survival. They kept you fueled in times of scarcity. However, today, the recipe has changed for many people. Instead of using seal oil, crisco and sugar are substituted. This is not to say that there aren’t still people who make it with seal oil, it’s just that more often than not you find it made with crisco instead.

Brittany, the other intern at the museum this summer, brought some akutaq in for me about a week ago (made with the crisco). I ahve to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of it. The berries were delicious, but the crisco got stuck to the roof of my mouth, and you can imagine what that’s like. But I’d absolutely be willing to try it again.

akutaq(Akutaq)

But back to my adventures in berry picking.

We could tell that the place we were would at some point throughout the summer have nearl all the different kinds of berries one can find in the Dillingham. But when we were there watermelon berries, and huckleberries were pretty much the only things ripe enought to pick.

Huckleberries(Huckleberry Bush)

We were out there for probably two to three hours, and it rained the whole time, but we had a blast. And picked so many berries!

Berry Bucket(Luke with our berry bucket.)

berry picking(Hard at work picking berries.)

I won’t say exactly where we were, although it is a popular spot, but it should be noted here that we out in the woods. There was a trail that we mostly stuck close to, but this weren’t no berry farm. We were fortunate in that we didn’t encounter any bears, and we were able to find so many.

Final Count

The final count was somewhere around three, maybe three and a half gallons of berries.

So what to do with the fruits of our labor?

Fruits of Our Labor

Well, make pies of course!

Huckleberry Pies(Best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.)

Posted by: Johanna | August 7, 2009

Smile Because It Happened

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” – Henry David Thoreau

So it’s my last day in Dillingham. It’s 5:19pm, Alaska Time. I should be on my way home. But I just can’t bring myself to leave the museum, knowing that come Monday, I won’t be walking through that door.

I have joked from the beginning that in many ways, coming to Alaska this summer, was a way of paying some sort of familial dues. My father, mother, and step-father all spent many years in Alaska and readily acknowledge that time as some of the best in their lives. But as much as I may kid around about it, there really is something about this place that calls out to me. At first it was more of a whisper, but now it’s a full out siren song, singing in my blood. It’s hard to put into words, and I don’t expect anyone to understand it, but coming here, has been like coming home.

And I feel that I owe much of that feeling to the people I’ve met and come to know. Everyone I’ve met has welcomed me into their homes and their lives with open arms. They’ve shared space, food, time, and stories with me as though I were one of their own. And I have learned more about myself from these people and this place, in one summer, than I ever could have imagined was possible.

But of all the wonderful people I’ve encountered, the kids at the museum, and Brittany in particular, have really and truly changed me. Remembering all the times their faces lit up over the summer, whether from getting to hold an object, or after teaching me something new, or laughing at the face I made the first time I tried beluga, or after being asked to sit on the museum advisory board in the upcoming year, takes my breath away. These are kids that have been written off by so many people in their lives, and so knowing that I’ve made even the tiniest positive impression on them makes me feel like I’m on top of the world, like I have done something real and good in the world.

I can now say, friends, that really and truly this has been the best summer of my life. And it breaks my heart that it’s coming to a close. But I know that this is not the end, that I will be back, because if ever I have believed in things that were meant to be, it’s now, it’s Alaska and me.

And so I leave you with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss,

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Brittany and I

Posted by: Johanna | July 31, 2009

Spawn Til You Die!!!

A couple of weekends ago, the Burtons took me fishing up on Lake Aleknagik (aka First Lake) at a place called Icy Creek. The plan was to catch some red (or sockeye) salmon. For me the trip was less about actually catching fish, so much as it was an opportunity for me to see the salmon run.

Icy Creek(Looking north-ish)

Icy Creek 2(Looking south-ish)

During the summer, salmon return to the place of their own spawning in order to spawn themselves (spawn, or course, for those of you who don’t know, is the fishy word for reproduce). It’s a neat trick, how they find their way back, one that scientists haven’t totally figured out yet.

life cycle of a Pacific salmon(Life cycle of Pacific salmon: for a better explanation of the whole cycle check out the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s educational handout.)

The way the salmon fishery is managed up here, the Department of Fish and Game posts people at watch towers to count fish during the season. The duration of the season and the amount that its legal to catch depend upon X number of salmon making it past those towers. This is referred to as escapement.

So up at Icy Creek we were chilling with the escapees, the fish lucky enough to make it from deep in the ocean, past predator species and fishing lines and nets (their human predators), and have struggled against the current to make it upriver. In the case of red or sockeye salmon, during the journey their appearance changes from the silver you saw in my earlier photos (from picking nets) to brilliant red and green with the intense curved beak (illustrated above).

Something like this…

fishy fishy fishy(spawn.)

sockeye!(till.)

sex and dying(you die.)

It was completely insane the number of fish around us. And breathtakingly beautiful. These pictures just don’t do it justice. There were so many that when I cast I was literally hitting them with my lure. And of course not one was biting. All they had on their minds was sex and dying. Figures.

Probably the number one thing on my list of things to do and see during my Alaskan summer was seeing the salmon spawn.

crowning achievement(yes!)

So that’s a big ol’ check mark.

Pecan Crusted Salmon(Done and done.)

Posted by: Johanna | July 30, 2009

Yesterday’s Monsters

Just came across a great article in the Washington Post about overfishing. All the more reason to watch what you eat, friends. And know where it comes from! Instead of going for the orange roughy, have some wild caught Alaskan salmon. And if you can’t afford or can’t find the fresh stuff, or even the frozen, pick up the canned. It’s just as tasty, comes from a sustainable and well-managed fishery, is better for our environment, AND puts money into a lagging business (which in turn could benefit some of the wonderful people I have, myself, met here in Bristol Bay).

FIsh Worship by Ray Troll

(Hey folks, looks like I’m on a roll now…)

As you have probably gathered by this point, the people of Bristol Bay eat, drink, sleep, breath salmon. The fishery is the main economic force in this region. But “the fishery” doesn’t just refer to the catching of fish, it also includes what happens to the fish once they’re caught. That’s where canneries, and Dillingham proper, come in.

Map of Nushagak Bay(If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ve seen this map before. This time I want you to look for Kanulik, which is south of Dillingham, and just north of Nushagak.)

The first cannery in Bristol Bay was the Arctic Packing Company at Kanulik. It was first constructed as a salting station around 1883, but was converted into a full-fledged cannery by 1884. In 1885 the Alaska Packing Company opened at Snag Point, near present-day Dillingham. While it’s undergone several changes in ownership and name, this cannery remains standing today, and is now known as Peter Pan Seafoods. It boasts the title of the oldest continually operating cannery in Alaska.

For several years Peter Pan has operated a tour of their facilities that is open to the public. The guide is a woman who has been involved with the fishing industry here in Bristol Bay for many years. A few weeks ago Deb, Brittany, and I took an afternoon and went on the tour.

Peter Pan Seafoods, Inc.(So where’s Captain Hook?)

We began in the net loft. One of the agreements the cannery has with the folks who fish for them is that the cannery will take care of the repair and general maintenance of nets, a process referred to as hanging the nets. Many of the people who hang nets for Peter Pan have been doing so for years. In fact right now they have three generations of net hangers from one family: grandfather, father and son. In the net loft we got a quick introduction as well as our gray work coats and HAIRNETS. That’s right, hairnets. Since we were going to be touring a working food processing place we were required to wear hairnets whenever we were around food. Awesome.

Ah! Hairnet!(Rock n’ rolla…)

The tour took us through the mess hall, the office, past the restored double ender sailboat from my earlier post, and into the warehouse where the finished product is stored before being shipped off for consumer enjoyment.

Inside the warehouse(The warehouse)

We also got to peek in on Peter Pan’s newest endeavor, fresh frozen salmon fillets.

Fresh frozen salmon(I was surprised by all of the color inside the cannery.)

After the warehouse we were taken to the end of the dock where the fish are unloaded from tender boats. From there our journey paralleled that of the salmon. We followed along as out guide took us from boat all the way back to canned in the warehouse.

dead fish(The fish starts out on this conveyor belt where it gets washed, and skinned, and cut up…)

Empty Cans(Upstairs the empty cans are inspected for flaws which could interfere with the canning process. Once they’re Ok’d they fly down this chute to the lower level where they’re packed full of tasty salmon.)

Ready for the oven...(The fully packed cans come out on those conveyor belts and are placed in the big square crates on the floor. Those crates are then places in the ovens where the fish gets cooked and the cans get sealed. Depending on the size of the can there’s a really specific temperature/time combination to make sure the salmon is cooked, the can is sealed, and everything remains sanitary. For future reference, there’s a code stamped on every can of salmon you find at the grocery store. The fish in cans whose number starts with 35 came from right here in Bristol Bay and were canned right here in Dillingham, at Peter Pan.)

We regrouped back at the sailboat where we were told about improvements in safety over the years.

sailboat

I’m sure most of you have heard of “The Deadliest Catch” the show on the Discovery Channel about the Alaskan crab fishery. Well, yes, that is the most dangerous fishery in the world, but all commercial fishing has its risks, and salmon fishing is no different. Even in the summer the waters are cold, and storms can come up with little warning. Add to that the constant threat of mechanical difficulties and you have the potential for one stressful job.

But the folks in the salmon fishery have largely been doing this for years, even generations, and they love it. Native and non-Native alike there is a respect for the natural resources of this area that runs deep. Sadly, between the never-ending rollercoaster of fish pricing and the growing possibility of major oil, gas, and mineral development in the region, the Bristol Bay fishing lifestyle is threatened. Fishermen (and women) are having harder and harder times making ends meet (maintaining a boat is expensive), and extractive resource development could potentially have a drastic impact on the salmon runs, making it more and more difficult to make the necessary catch to get sufficiently paid. As much as it saddens me to say it, Bristol Bay fishermen may be a dying breed. But there is resilience here and a ferocious dedication to a way of life that harkens back to the glory days of the American frontier. And of one thing you can be sure, even if they are on the way out, the folks of Bristol Bay won’t go out quietly.

Posted by: Johanna | July 29, 2009

Going To Fish Camp Part 2: Ekuk Village

Sorry for the delay again, folks. Once again rural Alaskan internet is the culprit. For the past several weeks it’s been refusing to upload pictures. And what would my posts be without illustrations?! But so long as the internet’s working now, let’s get this party started…

The trip from Nushagak Point to Ekuk was a quick one. I’m quite glad we were delayed at Nushagak, but I probably could have stomached the remainder of the ride to Ekuk, the day before. It took us a while to figure out where to unload the boat. The tide was moving out very quickly and we were trying to unload on a part of the beach smack in the middle of several commercial set-nets. We pretty much hurled our things and ourselves out of the boat so that Gregg could get it back out into deep water and down the beach to the cannery, where we were told to anchor the skiff. Deb and I proceeded to pitch the tent and get camp set up while we waited for Gregg to return. As it turns out, our selected site was right between the “highway” and the “airport.”

High Traffice Area(High Traffic Area)

For the following 24 hours we had trucks driving back and forth on the beach in front of our tent, and planes taking off and landing right behind our tent. Added to the flurry of vehicular activity was the fact that we were there on the fourth of July. If nothing else, it was sure buzzing with energy and activity.

Whizz! Bang!

(The Fourth of July is a strange affair in Alaska. People are really into their fireworks, but there isn’t enough darkness to see them… So mostly it’s just noisy.)

As it turns out we had set up our camp site in Esther Ilutsik’s front yard. Esther is a local elder who has been of particular assistance to Ann Fienup-Riordan, a prominent scholar of Yup’ik history and culture. Esther grew up fishing summers at Ekuk and so in the evening she offered to show the Burtons (who also had never been to Ekuk) and me around the beach and the cannery (Ekuk has it’s own cannery which makes it easier for the people who fish there to get their catch processed quickly).

Repairing a Net

(Patrick Chiklak repairing a net.)

As we walked down the beach we met Patrick Chiklak (above), a friend of Gregg’s and a commercial set-netter, repairing some tears in one of his nets. I’ve always been curious about net making so spent a few minutes watching his repairs as he explained the process to me. The new string is wound around the shuttle (in his right hand) which has a sort of forked end that’s used to tie off the knots. There’s another tool called teh gauge which is used to measure the distance between nets. Different gauges are used depending on what you’re trying to catch. Patrick was speculating that a king salmon probably tore up this net, the holes weren’t large enough for it to have been a beluga, who are some of the more common culprits of net-tearing.

The first thing Esther pointed out to us once we got to the cannery was an old Yup’ik home, or barabara (ba-RA-ba-RA).

Barabara at Ekuk(A barabara.)

What you’re looking for is the mound sort of at the center of the picture. It’s what’s left of an old earth house in the style traditionally used by some Yup’ik. When asked how she knew it was a barabara, Esther replied, “Oh it was still there when I was a litle girl.”

Esther walked us around the cannery, showing us the locations of both current buildings and buildings no longer in use. Included with the latter was the old fishermen’s bunkhouse.

Ekuk Cannery

(A panoramic view of the cannery)

Esther's smokehouse

(Esther’s mother’s smokehouse)

Esther’s mother used to spend summers on a piece of land close to the cannery. Today the cannery owns the land, but Esther’s mother’s smokehouse still stands on the property and Esther continues to use it.

Smoking Fish!

(Smoking salmon strips…)

Back down by out campsite on the beach, folks were back at it, picking nets. The family with the site closest to us consented to me taking a few pictures of them at work.

Salmon Slinging(Two of the daughters slinging salmon into the back of the truck. Note the fish flying through the air. Those suckers are heavy.)

Fisherwomen(Fisherwomen: Mom and two of the daughters paused for a picture only after the net was picked.)

Normally, I’d pause here for some detailed reflection upon the adventure. But I think this time I’ll keep it simple. What impressed me most on this trip was the history present at both fish camps we visited that weekend. Not only were both Nushagak and Ekuk cannery sites that figured into the long history of commercial salmon fishing, but both had been Native fish camps long before the canneries arrived. And the coolest part? Both sides are still active in these places today.

Posted by: Johanna | July 23, 2009

Going to Fish Camp Part 1: Ghosts of Russians Past

What with the holiday and all, I had the pleasure of a three day weekend this past week. So, naturally, the Burtons and I ran away. This time to Nushagak Point and Ekuk, both of which are summer fish camps.”What is this fish camp you speak of?” you might ask. Fish camp is the expression used to refer to the places people settle during fishing season in order to have better access to the fish populations.

A Map of the Nushagak Bay area(If you look just south of Dillingham you’ll see Nushagak, and then just a bit further south is Ekuk.)

So we set out Friday, mid-day. The plan was to go straight to Ekuk and stay there through Sunday. The sun was out, there was a light breeze, it should have been a delightful crossing, but no sooner than we were out of the harbor, clouds came in, and the water got rough.

Gregg taking us out of the harbor(Gregg the Navigator)

We stopped at Nushagak Point, about an hour out, for a pit stop and to stretch out legs, and after fifteen minutes or so, set off again.

Nushagak Point, AK(Nushagak Point, AK)

Now I don’t claim to be an old salt or anything, but I’ve been on my share of boats, and never have I gotten sea sick. But something about this crossing, most likely the combination of exhaustion, no breakfast, choppy water, and engine exhaust, got to me. We were about five minutes out of Nushagak when I had to inform my hosts, that I was feeling quite unwell, and in no uncertain terms, that I was not going to make it to Ekuk without some, ahem, shall we say, digestive pyrotechnics. So we turned the boat around and went back to Nushagak. (Un)fortunately, by this point, the tide was moving out quickly and we were sure to be stuck there until the next high tide which was supposed to be between midnight and 1:00am. The weather was still pretty unpleasant, chilly and rainy, so we opted to stay at Nushagak overnight and catch the mid-day Saturday high tide to Ekuk. We were all set to pitch our tent on the beach when one of the local fishermen informed us that one of the cabins was empty and we were welcome to stay there instead. We didn’t want to impose and so politely declined, that is until a second person said, no, no, no, use the empty cabin, the owner won’t mind one bit.

Our cozy cabin(Fishing cabin on Nushagak Point)

The cabin had seen better days: the roof leaked, the door didn’t close all the way, everything was coated in dust… Basically, it was the perfect setting for some grand misadventures. We settled in pretty quickly and, what with the rainy weather and all, enjoyed a nice lazy afternoon of chatting, reading, bird and BELUGA watching. That’s right, BELUGAS! I’ve been hoping against hope that I’d see them at some point this summer, and I saw a whole pod!

In the early evening, the folks that had alerted us to the vacant cabin invited us over for homemade bread and soup. Turns out they’re a brother (Dave) and sister (Heather) team commercial fishing for salmon. Their parents were also in for the summer helping out with the nets. Dave and Heather decided when they were in their late teens that they wanted to get a commercial set-netting permit and fish for salmon in Bristol Bay. So they did. They don’t come from a fishing family, unlike most people who commercial set-net out here, they were just two determined teenagers. Turns out they both paid their way through college with their fishing profits.

Most of the evening was spent relaxing, although Deb and Gregg did go for a hike up the hillside behind the beach camp, around where the big white cross is. I would have gone with them, but my pants were still soaked from the ride over, and I didn’t want to soak my sweats too. 🙂 But no worries, I told myself I’d hike up there the next day, when my pants were dry.

Which brings us to Saturday morning. The weather was as nice as it had been terrible the day before. So up the hill I went…

Looking down at the beach(A view of the beach and bay from up on the hill.)

So perhaps you’re wondering, what’s with the giant white Russian Orthodox cross? Well Nushagak Point is where, in 1841, the Russians established their first mission in the Bristol Bay area, at Alexandrovski Redoubt. The church burned down in the early 1900s, and in 2000 members of the local Russian Orthodox church (which remains alive and well in the area) constructed and put up this cross where the church used to be. Dave the fisherman had told me the day before that if you kept your eyes open while hiking around up there you could still see parts of the foundation of the church and some of the gravemarkers from the old cemetery.

On the way up the dog and I spooked a mama moose and calf. Luckily we weren’t really that close to them at all. We were on one ridge and they were on the next one over. But we were close enough for her to not feel safe so they came crashing out of the trees and ran up the hillside. They made 9 and 10 for my personal moose count this summer. I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing them. First of all, they’re huge. Bigger than you’d expect, and it gets me every time. Second of all, the babies are just so darn cute! And awkward! They’re all legs. Finally, for the most part they move so silently, it’s spooky. One minute they’re there and the next they’re gone, and you have no idea what happened.

Shortly after seeing the moose, I came across the first grave marker, a large marble affair with an Orthodox cross at the top, that had fallen off of it’s base.

Ghost od Russians Past(First grave marker.)

I’m not sure if there was any writing on this one, if there was, most likely it was on the side facing the ground. Still, quite impressive. Just a short way further up the hill were a bunch of wooden crosses, some still intact, others missing pieces. I also discovered the remnants of a fence that had collaspsed.

Fence(Fallen down fence.)

Nushagak Mission Cemetery(Orthodox Cross where the Nushagak Mission Cemetery used to be.)

For me, the coolest thing about all of this is that last semester I wrote a paper about the influences of the Russian Orthodox Church on Yup’ik communities in southwestern Alaska. The community I focused on? Nushagak! So here, for me, was physical evidence of both the Russian Orthodox church’s presence and their continued influence upon Native Alaskan life.

Well, I slipped and slid and bumped my way down the hillside and back to camp. I was soaking wet and muddy, but quite happy with my excursion. We set off from Nushagak in the early afternoon and headed for Ekuk…

Posted by: Johanna | July 7, 2009

Chinook Champion

Sorry for the lack of updates, folks. For the past few weeks, things have been wonderfully busy both with work and with play.

Saturday June, 20 I was invited to salmon bake down at the harbor. It was sponsored by one of the local churches and was entirely free. It was also, quite possibly, the best salmon I’ve ever had. The plan was for me to meet Deb and Gregg there and after we’d eaten, to go and watch people picking salmon from subsistence nets on Kanakanak Beach, just outside of town. Well upon meeting the Burtons I was informed that after we ate we weren’t just going to go and look at people picking fish from their nets, we were actually going to pick fish ourselves.

Sidenote: Subsistence fishing is part of a larger subsistence lifestyle and culture. In Alaska it is very closely related to Native life and culture. Back in the 1970’s there was a debate both at the state and national levels about subsistence fishing, hunting, and gathering in Alaska. Who could participate? Where could it be done? What kinds of resources could be harvested and what couldn’t? On the one hand both governments were prohibited by the constitution from limiting subsistence practices to only Natives, as this could be construed as restricting access on the basis of race. Another problem was that many of the species traditionally harvested were (and are) considered endangered. The end result is complicated and remains hotly contested. But for the purposes of our discussion, it’s important to known that the majority of Dillingham residents, Native and non-Native alike, engage in subsistence fishing. Which means, basically, that they put out nets and whatever they catch, they use for themselves.

So how exactly does on subsistence fish? Just like you fish any other way. At Kanakanak Beach, people largely use nets, in a process similar to set-netting (but by no means the same, as set-netting is a commercial process with limited access). At low tide you lay a net out on the beach that is anchored on land at one end, and in the water at the other. When the tide comes in, so do the fish. They get trapped in the net, and when the tide goes out, they stay behind for you to pick out. Hence the term fish picking.

(The net we were using belongs to Todd and Michelle Radenbough. Todd works at the university here in town. What follows is photographic evidence of the FANTASTIC time I had.)

WARNING: Real fish WERE harmed in the making of this blog post.

Eagle(The first thing we saw was a bald eagle, pissed off at us for interrupting his feast of salmon eyes…)

The site(The site…)

The net(Our net stretched out on the beach.)

KING SALMON(My wild caught Alaska salmon! A King or Chinook salmon.)

Fish Picking(Picking a red or sockeye salmon from the net.)

Fish Kisses(kissy kissy kissy)

Fish Hugs(Have you hugged a salmon today?)

the net(the net, all folded up)

Judge, Jury, and Executioner(And of course, there’s a lot of bloody work to be done to turn those fishies into delectable fillets ready for cooking and eating…)

Blood n' Guts(I would not have worn a white sweater had I known I would be butchering fish…)

Bloody Sweater(I was totally ready to give up on this sweater…)

TaDa!(But somehow I got it clean!)

Thus ends my first encounter with Alaskan fish picking.

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