Starting a New Life in 2012

Well, not a completely different life – we aren’t moving to France or changing our names – but starting our own fishing operation sure feels new and different.  Zed has been a deckhand for as long as I’ve known him (16 years!) so to switch occupations and become a boat owner is kind of a big deal.

It has been a difficult couple months for our family, especially being separated over the holidays.  We spent Thanksgiving apart, and then our first ever Christmas apart.  Yesterday was our oldest son’s 5th birthday, and Zed had to wish him a happy birthday over the phone…  We used Skype on Christmas so the boys could talk to their dad and show him their new presents.  And since Zed and I both have iPhones, we can use “face time” to have family video chats.

Atticus waiting patiently for a slice of birthday cake

In case you are wondering, Zed is still in Alabama working on the boat.  It turns out, converting a shrimper to a crabber is not as simple as we anticipated, but the work is almost done!

One of the major differences between shrimp boats in the South and crab boats on the West coast is the hold.  Where we have “wet” tanks that can be filled with water, most shrimpers in the South have “dry” tanks that are not water-proofed.  To convert our boat to a crab boat, we first needed to reinforce the hold so that it could handle the extra weight of all that water, and then we had to fiberglass the entire hold.  First, old foam needed to be ground smooth before new foam could be sprayed on.  This first photo shows foam being sprayed on all the surfaces.

spray foaming the fish hold

Here is Zed, getting ready to grind some foam.  Pretty attractive getup huh?

shipyard fashion

This next photo shows the foam being ground smooth.  Next will come the fiberglass.

grinding foam, dust everywhere!

Another necessary part of a crab boat is a dump box, where the crab are dumped out of the pots.  Here is our brand new dump box.

shiny new custom dump box

Exposed wires needed to be protected and water-proofed, so a solid run was installed from the lazarette to the engine room.

the installation of the housing for the wiring

Meanwhile, back in Bellingham a crew has been working daily rigging the dungeness crab gear.  Buoys have been painted, branded and tied, and line has been measured and cut. New crab pots were just delivered a couple days ago and sit waiting to be filled with buoys and lengths of line.

stacks of new pots

piles of line and buoys

Hopefully the F/V Robin Blue (yes, the boat is named after me) will soon be splashed into the Gulf of Mexico and headed to her new hometown of Bellingham, Washington.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us, including months of crabbing, but I’m feeling optimistic about our future and looking forward to a time (months from now) when we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

On that note, I wish everyone a Happy New Year, filled with new beginnings, fresh starts, and opportunity for a happier future!

13 thoughts on “Starting a New Life in 2012

  1. The boat named after you! How cool is that! Hope everything continues to progress and that Zed gets the boat up here in time for a great season.

    • Jen,
      Unfortunately Zed will not be back in time for the opening of the season. It’s a bummer, but hopefully we will have another long and prosperous season, like last year.
      I’m wishing your family the best, both in your delivery and in crabbing!

  2. Oh man, Robin, those pictures…I get sympathy itchiness just looking at Zed and his work-mates doing all that terrible glass work! But fishin’ folks all do what has to be done, including you and the kids making your way through the holidays here at home. Great update, and hang in there… 2012’s lining up to be a big year for the Blues!

  3. I gillnet out of kenai ak and idled by the Robin Blue the other day. Where is she headed? Got some good cell phone pics, pass along an email address and I’ll send them along.

    • Hi Lance,
      The Robin Blue is traveling all over AK this summer! My husband Zed is tendering with her so he’s been from Whittier and Valdez up to Kenai and Homer and now back to Prince William Sound. I’d love some photos of the boat! My email is Thanks!
      I hope you are having a profitable season so far!

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