I think I’m way overdue for a Blue family update. I’ve been writing new blog posts, but I realize that I’ve been leaving out details of our new boat/fishing/business operation. I think I’ve just been too stressed out and depressed about the whole situation to write about it and share it with the world… until now!
If you are a regular reader of this blog you’ve probably been thinking, “didn’t they buy a boat?” If you are new to this blog you are probably thinking, “what the hell is she talking about?” So first, for any new readers, I will try to summarize what our family has been working on for the last year. One year ago, my husband (Zed) and I purchased a sixty foot commercial shrimp boat in Alabama, fixed it and converted it to a crab boat for fishing on the Washington State coast.
As these types of projects seem to go, we went over schedule and way over budget. Zed spent four straight months in Alabama working on the boat and then two months traveling, bringing the boat around through the Panama Canal, and up the Pacific coast. By the time he arrived in Washington with the boat, the crabbing season (our main source of income) was mostly over.
We have spent the last six or seven months just doing whatever it takes to stay afloat (literally and figuratively) until next crab season. Essentially, our boat has been docked for most of the year because it is only rigged for crabbing and we couldn’t afford to set it up for any other fisheries. Zed used our boat to tender for crab, but he’s mostly been working as a deckhand on another boat longlining for blackcod. I have picked up several odd jobs to help make ends meet, including some freelance writing for www.alaskajobfinder.com, babysitting kids in our neighborhood, and teaching a preschool art class (okay, this last one is more just for fun). I even painted our neighbors fence!
Essentially, I have spent the last year raising two kids (and two dogs and a cat) on my own. I’m not gonna lie to you – it’s been a rough year. We have been barely scraping by, not even able to pay our bills some months, let alone pay off any of the personal debts we have recently acquired.
But I am happy to report, things are just starting to turn around! We are slowly finding our way out of the woods, so to speak. Last week we signed the final papers to refinance our boat loan and to finance some much-needed improvements to the boat. This loan has been in the works for months now and I can hardly believe it is over and done with! I’ve been sleeping better the last few nights knowing we are in a safer financial situation.
Between now and the start of the crab season (sometime in January) we have a lot of work to do – putting our boat in shipyard and installing a refrigeration system and a new generator (to start), getting our crab gear in order, buying new crab pots, painting buoys, cutting line, and all the other fun preparations that happen before a season. All of this work will happen here in Bellingham, or nearby, and I look forward to having my husband home every night.
At the same time, I don’t have any expectations that things will get any easier just because Zed is in town. I am well aware of the never-ending duties of a boat owner. This is a very important time of year for us – it is absolutely essential that our boat is ready to fish when the season starts or we could miss out on our most profitable fishing of the year. In short, Zed will be burning the candle at both ends and I don’t expect to see too much of him, except maybe when I’m bringing him lunch down at the harbor!
I think we have another rough year ahead of us – I don’t see any breaks in sight until the summer, at least – but we have hope that this coming crab season will be profitable and bring us further out of debt. That’s what fishing is all about: working your absolute hardest and hoping for the best. Wish us luck!
And Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!