By Dr. Marion Somers
From my earliest childhood, I have had a fishing rod in my hand and some freshly caught worms, then I cast my line into the East River and went a fishing.
I had the exquisite opportunity to visit Alaska and I spent ten days aboard a 70 ft. family owned fishing boat. We had two Captains and an excellent cook onboard. All the meals were hearty, nutritious and well planned out considering we were going to be on open water and had to depend on whatever food supplies were already stored onboard. Fresh fruits were available at all times. The goal of the journey was to also capture the beauty of the magnificent Alaskan scenery, observe the abundance of wild life including bears, sea otters, seals, birds of all varieties and especially the Bald Eagles. Cameras and binoculars were always readily available.
We motored alongside an oyster farm and saw the entire enterprise from incubation to each stage of the oysters life. That night we dined on the sweetest most tender oysters we have ever had. We also shrimped, and anything that we caught onboard including the shrimp were added to the dinner menu. We watched commercial fishing boats and their various methods either gill netting or purse seining. Two different systems of harvesting the fish for the day.
Part of the fun and the activity was to actually be physically and fully involved in the fishing and shrimping experience. That included cleaning anything caught that day that was to be eaten onboard that evening.
Physical exercise and activities included climbing steps to get to the bunks below or climbing to the two upper decks. We kayaked, walked on some trails with high under brush, actually saw the majestic glaciers gleaming their subtle blue green clarity. A color that is breath taking and hard to describe. These glaciers were disappearing right before our very eyes as large chunks fell away into the flow of the river.
My goal had been to shape the direction of my self-sufficiency, reinforce my respect for the beauty of wild nature and reinforce my interdependence on the environment and the ecosystem. There were nine of us in total on this family excursion including four teenagers. I think the teenagers summed up this trip best, by stating “Nature is beautiful and far more fragile than I ever imagined…. How do we save this for the future?”