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Blue Boats


Mary lou, Mary lou

Chapter 4

After several days of travel by freight train and the Marine Highway in the summer of 1968, my high school friend John Walker and I arrive in Ketchikan. We both look for jobs and begin walking the docks to see if anyone needs crew on a boat.

Walking every day for more than a week to all the other docks in town and to the city float along Water Street, I’d asked at least three times for a job on all of the other boats I could find. Now, finally, someone needs crew and can’t be too choosy at this late date just before the beginning of the summer fishing season.

I carefullly step over the guardrail onto a deck that throbs with steady pulsing vibrations from the diesel motor below. Freddie unties the bowline and looking toward me says, “Hey, cook, untie that line,” as he indicates the rope that secures the stern to the dock. I do as told and the vessel slowly departs its mooring. 

The Mary Lou pulls out of the harbor and into the Tongass Narrows. Three Tlingit Indians, one Haida Indian and one White Man head out toward Prince of Wales Island and then Noyes Island and into uncharted adventure.

These photos not in the book. Please credit photo to Rena Spooner

Now these boats from Essaouria on
the coast of Morocco aren't the same
size as Alaska fishing boats but hey,
they deal with the same sorts of waves
and currents.