One Cold Fishing Trip – Ketchikan

Woke up super early this morning in anticipation for some fishing in Ketchikan, “the salmon capital of the world”. After a light breakfast, we grabbed a coffee then headed down the gangway to meet the charter. A lovely gentleman called Greg from Australia was to join us making us four on the boat. After we squared up and bought our licenses, we climbed into the truck and Robby drove us to the pier.

The morning was a little nippy but it made for some stunning views across the lake. The surrounding mountains were shrouded in long thin flat bottomed clouds which seemed to slice them in half. It was a scene I was very accustomed to seeing in New Zealand, I sighed wistfully at the memories.

Our guide and captain Robby was a little strange to say the least. He never really looked at us, staring off up into the clouds most of the time. I tried to engage him in conversation but he wasn’t having it. He was a little rough around the edges and I never really connected with him but he seemed to like Darren a lot. He pulled out a calendar to share with him and they bonded over women jokes. It was slightly offended but I guess I shouldn’t expect much more from a dirty old fisherman. The fatherly type Greg must have sensed my discomfort and compensated by engaging me in intellectual conversation. I could tell it was designed to distract me from the crude comments made a few feet away and appreciated his effort.

After picking out numbers out of a hat, it turned out the order was me, Darren, then Greg. Over the next few hours, we all took turns reeling in the coho salmon which occasionally graced us with their presence. We got a few close encounters with some bald eagles swooping down to grab up some fish. They were strong yet graceful and everything about them emanated power.

The sun came to burn off the low fog in the distance but then went just as quickly, taking the slightly warm air with it. I zipped up my jackets and pulled my layers around me tighter. I wasn’t sure why but I couldn’t seem to shake the chill that was permeating my mood.

I was kind of relieved when it was time to pull in the lines and head in. None of us wanted to keep our catch so we let Robby have them. We were dropped off near Creek Street and wandered back slowly towards the ship. There were touristy stores full of salmon everything and tall totem poles marking certain properties.

After getting back on the ship and grabbing some lunch, I decided to lay down for a nap. I didn’t nap however and decided it would be wise to get to the gym. I hadn’t really exercised yet today and perhaps that was contributing to my lackadaisical mood. I know that in the past when I had forced myself into some kind of physical activity, it almost always elevated my state.

Just coming on was Transformers the Movie which I hadn’t seen yet so I hiked the treadmill for an hour before hitting some lower body work. There was a small crowd gathering on the deck outside the window and I glanced over to where their cameras and binoculars were pointed. Sure enough there was a pod of whales off in the distance. I smiled at how lucky I am to be able to witness such majestic beauty as a part of my day. In the empty hardwood floor aerobics studio, I finished off with some abs and pushups. It felt invigorating to stretch my spine out at the end and I was sure that I was indeed several inches taller as I walked out of the gym.

At dinner, I ordered the sole over lentil salad and a side of my favorite cooked red cabbage. I was pleasantly surprised by the spicy robust flavor of the lentils which complemented the delicate flakey white fish perfectly. The sweet cabbage balanced the dish perfectly and I made a mental note to replay this choice again at least once over the next month.

After dinner I retired to the hot tub and pool for a relaxing dip. I had pulled a muscle the other day and realize that I should find some other ways to get exercise. I swam laps in the pool for just under an hour and found it ideal for a light meditative way to keep fit. The water was warmer than usual which helped my weary muscles loosen up.

Now I am about to turn in for the night but not before I order what I would like for my fruit delivery tomorrow. Every other day they replenish a bowl which along with my growing nut collection makes for a healthy snack.

Darren is out partying with some of the crew but I just don’t have the desire to be social at the moment. I guess I understand that between the cordial chats with lunch tablemates and random meetings in the library, I have as many connections as I can handle at the moment. I need to pace myself. After all, at this point, I have barely completed 10 percent of my cruise.

Grateful for the long haul.

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