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Sunday, April 29, 2007
Our Tuna Trolling Crew

Donee in a stunning survival suit
Steve "Drake" Bond out on a limb.............
Our companions on this lengthy venture spanned the fishing knowledge spectrum from expert to novice. Steve Bond and his wife, Donee, joined us in Golden Meadow, LA for a journey which would span the Caribbean, the South and the North Pacific Ocean. Steve was an Alaskan dragger and joint venture skipper nicknamed McIver for his ingenuity. Donee was an expert counselor and was broadening her skillset into the field of naturopathic medicine. She had never been on a boat. Steve constructed a neat stateroom for them atop the step cabin which included a double bunk, running water, and a bathtub! The rest of the fleet called it the plywood pimple, but I think they would have changed their minds had they been able to live in its comfort.

One trait of crews, and I include myself as crew, is that they invent bonding rituals to which all looked forward to every day, rough or roly poly. One of our rituals was a mug of hot chocolate in the afternoon. One of us would blend and serve it up for the others. I was also very grateful that Donee liked a clean boat as much as I did. With four of us on a 72’ boat, the space seemed to shrink the further along we went. It is a survival mechanism of life on boats that you keep tight lipped about your negative feelings about one another. Life’s too short to let them fester, and the mission was to catch as much albacore tuna as possible in two months. Donee claimed to be psychic and I was looking forward to her ability to locate the fish. We could have a big advantage!

What had been my great adventure of a lifetime, visiting Easter Island in my own boat, was morphing into the real time day to day hunt for fish. We would not see land for two to three months and our purpose was simple. Find and catch albacore. There were periods of great sadness for me that sunk in to the bone. The decision to fish on this trip meant my two teenagers were left in Seattle with their Dad and stepmother. At 15 & 16, they were well on their way to being the fine people they are today, but it was wrenching to be away from them. It was the long separation which hurt and made me quiet. They were my babies and I missed them with all my heart. Their pictures were on the wall of our stateroom. Those at home go on with their lives, but time stops for those at sea.


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