Thursday, July 05, 2007

No fish

Today I spent seven hours in a boat with a fishing line dangling in the water, but I only caught one fish. People in Alaska would call it a "baby halibut." People in Utah would call it a "big, ugly fish." We threw him back. Then, even with a cyclical catalog of boppin' 60s hits blasting over the satellite radio, the ocean gods never smiled on us again.

My co-worker Brian was nice enough to invite me on his day out on the boat. He spends his summers stocking and restocking the freezers of his entire extended family, and he was flabbergasted at the idea of no fish, no fish at all. I always bought into the idea that just by showing up in Alaska and making some attempt to tie a herring to a line and then place it in the water, you were all but guaranteed to catch a fish. If that is true, it must be more of a Homer thing, because I've never had any luck in Juneau. And as the afternoon wore on and my dream of gorging myself with halibut meat for dinner quickly faded to thoughts of yet another freezer-burned veggie burger, I tried to console myself with other perks. Eagle Glacier looming over the rain-pocked harbor. The sun nearly breaking through ribbons of clouds. Humpback whales spouting in the distance. But I couldn't shake the thought that I was the bad luck, and that Geoff was going to be so disappointed when I came home empty-handed. Also, I was thirsty and hungry, I was sharing a small boat with a male co-worker, and I had no hope of a bathroom for seven full hours. The day was all about biological abstinence and false hope. And Steppenwolf.

At least Brian let me drive the boat as we headed in, at least until we hit four-foot swells. Then, just as I was joking about being the only person with the ability to capsize a boat that size in four-foot swells, he nervously offered to take back the captain's chair.

It's all in a day's work. But in the end, I'm probably better off sticking to the bike. And veggie burgers. And no more Steppenwolf.