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"From Fishing to Farmers Markets" & events, issues & ideas

Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Christmas mudslides & Winterfest 2004
The Christmas holidays saw the blending of my family and Steve's. We always have some Papa George Gourmet Albacore product ( I have my family well trained) . This year, my sister Pam cooked a tuna & cannallini bean salad which hit the spot. We did eat a turkey for Christmas dinner. After dinner, Steve's folks tried to get back to their 5th wheel up in Mountain Lakes Camp...San Bernadino Mountains...Lytle Creek. They were turned back by a washed out road and mudslides on Christmas night. Their two cats, Callie & Tiger were stranded in the 5th wheel trailer.
Needless to say there was alot of waiting around for the road to open for emergency use only. 48 hours later, we all drove up a much changed Lytle Creek road. It looked as though the dry creek bed had become a bowling alley with bowling ball sized boulders rolling off the burnt hills in a 4" of rain deluge. Several vehicles had to be abandoned when cut off by flash flood waters, the occupants escaping for their lives. We saw the car carcasses full of mud and were relieved that Steve's parents had left the canyon before the mudslides and flood waters had overcome the travelers behind them. Steve and I returned to the boat on the 28th which was tied up in the Channel Islands Marina. He threw off the lines and went squid fishing and I flew my mom home to Seattle. Sunday night Steve caught 40 tons of squid. Hooohay!

Soon you can visit our table at Winterfest which is the wine tasting event at Columbia Winery. January 10-11 from 11-5 pm. Come and taste both wine and samples from our vendor friends! Come and sample Papa George Gourmet Seafoods....albacore, salmon, and black cod. Happy New Year and God Bless America!

Saturday, December 20, 2003
Albacore Fishermen Want Mercury Tests
The recent mercury scare by the Turtle Island Restoration Group, The Environmental Working Group, anf the Mercury Policiy Organization, has resulted in our WFOA writing a letter to the FDA. Briefly, the letter asks the FDA to test albacore fishermen and their families for the level of mercury in our bodies. As a group, we consume alot of albacore. I never get tired of tuna salad.

Steve and the Papa George crew had a tiring week, but they caught more squid than last week. He wants to be a squid bus. There is an actual historic reference to a fishing boat in the Aubrey/Maturin novels set in the early 19th century, called a "herring buss". That is Steve's fill the boat with squid every night this winter.

Thursday, December 18, 2003
Columbia Winery Show
We have accepted an invitation to show our seafood at Columbia Winery's "Winterfest" event on January 10 & 11, a weekend of winetasting and nibbling samples of smoked fish and other specialty foods. For an entry fee of ten dollars, one gets a wine glass, shopping bag, music, and lots of fine wines to sip.
The rows of floor to ceiling oak barrels in the cellar are a sight to see. Winterfest is a fine event to ward off the dreary days of the post-Christmas blues.

Winterfest! We'll be there.

Squid Success At Last
Steve hired a new lightboat skipper for the Ira S and this change has altered our fortunes for the better. Frank "Cuckoo" has taken charge of the Ira S and set Steve and the Papa George on 45 tons of squid Sunday night and then 65 tons on Tuesday night (Dec 16). Hooray!This was our vision of fishing in Southern California all along, and it is why we sunk our meager fortune into rebuilding the Papa George as a squid/sardine seiner in addition to being a tuna troller.

Christmas shipments are almost all out. Gift boxes will still reach folks the day before Christmas if the orders come in by Sunday night, Dec. 21. After that, I am afraid you'll be out of luck.

Our tuna trolling industry is taking some big hits from the mercury issue lately. The Mercury Policy Group and the Sea Turtle Restoration Group are ganging up on albacore, without differentiating between troll caught and longline caught. Their press releases and law suits are equally motivated between health concerns and the elimination of all albacore fishing. These two groups are trying to create a crisis where none exists. On the website "", Hank Brus responds to all the attacks on our industry.

Friday, December 05, 2003
To the boat and back
Today I depart Seattle for Southern California to drive down both Steve's pick-up and an extra fish pump. The weather report looks like roaring low pressures coming ashore all weekend and on into next week, so it's batten down the hatches and go anyway. Traditionally it is bad luck to leave town on a Friday. We'll see.

With me for a good read is the Patrick O'Brian novel, "The Thirteen-Gun Salute"...the thirteenth novel in a magnificent historical series about the British Navy, whalers, privateers set in the early 1800's. This is my second time through the twenty book series...the first on several tuna trips where the adventures of Aubrey and Maturin kept my imagination alive. Patrick O'Brian even wrote a food reference guide to this era called "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog". Some of the food sounds nasty such as the varmint that plague the ships' biscuit called "bargemen" or large weevils. A good source for all things Patrick O'Brian is put out by Gibbons
Partrick O'Brian is not known for his humor, but there are many funny observations and anecdotes about human behavior which can be savored. By the way, he also wrote "Master and Commander" now a fine movie.

All shipping of cases and 1/2 cases from the website will go on during this week long trip. It might take a bit longer to arrive with the Christmas season bearing down on us.

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