Monday, May 02, 2005

"Deadliest Catch"

The most dangerous job in the world is that of crab fisherman. My exuberant son told me there was a TV show I just had to watch. He explained that he and one of his friends in Missoula are addicted to this program. This friend of his is also from Seattle (well, Edmonds to be exact like Lucas is from Mukilteo but to all of their friends at college, they are from Seattle).

The series, "Deadliest Catch", is on the Discovery Channel on Tuesday nights. Last night, there was a special showing of some repeat episodes and we watched. It is a real life chronicle of several crab boats and their fishing adventures in Alaska for King Crab. Most of these boats and fishermen are based in Seattle.

I can understand the addiction. Both Lucas and his friend have gone crabbing. Our family has gone crabbing for Dungeness crabs in our little old fishing boat out in usually calm Puget Sound. Of course, crabbing for Dungeness right out here is tame compared to what these guys live through--if they live through it--in Alaskan waters. And that is the appeal of the show. We know enough about what it is like on a small scale to appreciate the excitement and the danger of "Deadliest Catch". Pulling up the crab pot to see if you have captured any keepers is thrilling. No doubt about it. Likewise, pulling up the pot to see the nasty bait still there with nothing is equally disappointing.

We throw off two or three "pots" which are actually wire cages to hopefully end up with four or five for dinner. These Alaska fisherman throw out 100-200 pots with the expectation of filling each with about 60 keepers and they earn thousands of dollars for a single expedition if they fill their pots. In the process, however, the crabbers can get washed overboard, injured by the equipment, get skunked, or possibly pay the ultimate price by losing their lives and boat in the wild Alaskan waters. A gambling-like component is mixed in. The boat captains and owners can become quite wealthy if they survive. There is a really nice view home in our neighborhood that was built with King Crab money.

The best King Crab I have ever eaten was given to me by one of my clients when I was a practicing attorney all of those years ago. Our firm represented the wife of a King Crab fisherman and they were the nicest, funniest, and most likeable people you'd ever want to know. This woman had had a hysterectomy eight years previously, and "they" left an 8 inch forceps inside of her. It festered and caused innumerable problems until they finally did an x-ray and discovered she'd been walking around all of those years with that thing inside of her. Anyway, they were so grateful for our representation that they gave us some fresh King Crab right off of the boat. I know this couple's sons went into the family business so I add this as another reason for me to watch "Deadliest Catch".

The next time I eat King Crab I will have a new appreciation for what the crabbers experienced to bring this delicacy to my table. I do believe "Deadliest Catch" is catching on!!

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Edmonds ferries from our front deck last week in CALM waters.