Monday, July 13, 2009


Today, I hurt.
Could be worse, but I am sore.
People who pay to work out should move here. There's more to do up here that will kick a person's heine and you can save some dough doing it!
Yesterday a friend of mine had invited my husband and I to join them in the adventure of dipnetting. Dipnetting is a subsistence only form of "fishing" for residents to fill their freezers/cans with salmon. You literally dip a net into the river and scoop up the fish. It sounds a little easier than it is.
First let me share that I tried this fascinatingly ludicrous sport a couple years ago. I joined our Pastor's family and one other family on the banks of the Kenai River, right at the mouth where it empties into the Cook Inlet. We were fortunate to have connections and plop ourselves on private property to avoid the "combat netting" that ensued on the public beach. I was amazed at the amount of people who converge on "my" backyard to scoop the fish. This particular day was not so lovely and I stood up to my chest in my chest waders (only a few inches to spare) in the surf, yes surf, with a long net in my hands hoping to catch a Sockeye, or Red Salmon. To make an ingloriously long story short, it took me 4 hours of standing there to catch one stupid salmon. Oh, and I did get wet. I didn't exactly want to repeat that experience.
Two years later we enter the most recent past when my friend B calls, super excited, and asks if we'd like to go dipnetting! I think excitement is contagious, and I found myself wanting to go! I talked to my man and he even wanted to go! We called back and confirmed our intent to join them in this adventure!
We met them and made it to the river by 8:15 AM or so. It was cool and foggy, but perfect weather when you are wearing rubber rain gear. It didn't take long before Pat landed our first Red. I hadn't known exactly how this worked in a boat, but it was pretty simple. You lower the net as far down as possible (7' depth was our lucky depth) and try to keep it about 6" above the river bottom. Keep in mind that the Kenai River is not a little creek. This is a pretty solid river system that is capable of carrying large numbers of large fish! To hold a net while the boat is slowly purring downstream is an odd feeling to this previously landlocked lass. It was also harder than I thought. My triceps started screaming within a half hour. I started to prop the handle of the net against my body and now have an odd bruise on my stomach. Note to self...use the legs.
We stayed out on the river through the low tide, tide change and then up to the next high tide. This was a long time, but was fascinating to learn how the river works on the tides. The five of us on the boat ended up catching 19 Sockeye, 1 King Salmon, a few Pinks, and a million Sole. Sole is a flat bottom fish that looks like a skate or halibut with prickly scales. We kept a couple to try and discovered that they don't taste bad, but lack a bit in texture. No wonder everyone kept tossing them back. Bummer, though, since they were super plentiful.
I personally caught a few Reds, and many sole, but mostly some rays. My face is burnt. I normally protect my fair skin, but forgot the spf that day. I paid for it. Not only are my arms, shoulders and back telling me of their every move, but I have some seriously tight, dry skin on the face. My moisturizer today was Aloe Vera!
One thing I realized throughout our dipnetting adventure, was that it is so much about the friends, and less about the fish. We had a lovely time getting to know R, B, and E. We were blessed by their procalmations of God's blessings and the way they saw the positive in situations (yes, there were a couple "situations"!). I hope we are able to bless them as much as they blessed us. I also hope we all get some seriously good sleep tonight!

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