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Advertise on the Tentacle

May 14, 2006

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Tom McLaughlin

NORTH TO ALASKA! Not the wimpy cruise ship puttering along the inside passage: but manly, tobacco spewing, hard drinking, three fingers of red eye in a dirty glass, gut busting kill a lawyer work!

This all came about as I am also writing fish stories along with the business reports for the Ocean City weekly that was foolish enough to employ me. I finished one article on horseshoe crabs and have another in the works on sharks. I write from both the ecological and commercial fisherman point of view which makes me a two faced liar in the same article. Some people think the recreational fishermen can do no wrong; except their catch and release program leaves a trail of blood that can be detected by even the worst sinus blocked sharks.

The magazines I read to bone up on my fish knowledge, which was the size of a baby guppy, have ads for working on the salmon boats in the waters of our great northern state. Congress has allowed a certain number of overseas workers to be employed for seasonal occupations.

However, the fishing industry has been left high and dry because their summer season begins so late. And, given a choice between working 16-hour shifts on a boat or picking crabs, or a sunny beach lollygag like Ocean City, where do you think our foreign workers end up?

Let's see. A smelly boat with a bunch of dirty men for days on the Artic waters discussing the virtues of George Bush, or a plush bar in a resort hotel? Or hours of picking crabs in Cambridge, or a 7-11 a few blocks from the seaside laden with potential mates for marriage? And green cards!

But, being the macho, John Wayne, Republican, bone gnawing, Wal Mart shopping male I am for the next few moments, I searched for the real he-man stuff.

Wilderness Therapy Counselor: Walking and living in the backcountry of Alaska with troubled teens. No, I don't think so.

This one is in Petersburg, Alaska, on a remote island with a population of 3500.

Sliming (cleaning very big fish): cutting off fins, heads, and tails and taking out guts. Loud, bloody work environment. Bunk houses. Pay: $7.15/hour BUT lots of over time!

Experience skiff man wanted: Apparently, there is this little boat that leaves the big boat and it surrounds the migrating salmon with the net and brings the top of the net to the stern (rear) of the boat where it is hauled up and the fish are flopped to the bottom (hold). I think: sounds similar to corralling troubled teens.

Another job - "taking tourists to watch bears" at a "fly-in" remote site. It must be nice to have the kind of money to fly to a spot in Alaska to watch bears. Also, I guess the guide has to get up early in the morning, find the Ursa Major's and all the little Minor's and talk them into staying around while the tourists take pictures. I can see why this position may still be open.

Here's one for me in Kodiak: "The King Crab Capitol" Journalist to host the "Alaska Fishing Reports" on FM station $28,000 per year. This is just seasonal but sounds, oh, so perfect.

While walking in a parking lot (Wal Mart, but don't tell my friends) I spotted a license plate that said "Parrothead". Being nosey, I asked and found out Ocean City has the second largest Jimmy Buffet fan club in the United States.

I think I will "Waste away in Margaritaville," a.k.a. Ocean City, and forget about finding bears, risking my life with troubled teens, fishing on salmon boats and reporting for the Kodiak Fishing News.

But, you, fellow adventurer?

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