Today was the definition of a full day, but those days are the best. Today I woke up before 7 (who needs beauty sleep anyway) because the “C Team” was scheduled to go out on a fishing boat. John had felt bad that a few people didn’t get to go out last time, and thanks to his daughter’s help, he had arranged for us to go out with a fellow named Tad, to check his fishing nets.
After a quick breakfast consisting of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, we put on our lifejackets, piled in the truck and headed to the river. It was a very cold morning (which took every bit of will power I had left to even get out of my sleeping bag) and it was going to be even colder out on the water. We arrived there around 8.
Tad was a character. We met him at the docks, and introduced ourselves. He was a lot more bundled up than any of us, and I was having second thoughts about the clothes I had chosen for this morning. We got in the boat and headed out. It was cold to begin with and with the speed of the boat combined with the wind and lack of sun, it was freezing, after awhile I got used to it but it was primarily cold. As Tad drove the boat he explained that we were going to check his net and his brothers’ nets for fish that he would then bring back to the fish camps.
We pulled up to the nets and attempted to help Tad out, but mostly we just tried to stay out of his way. He would work with great speed and definitely knew what he was doing. We went from net to net and eventually I began to ignore the cold. It was interesting to think that this was basically running errands for him. We made it to the rest of the nets and headed back, the whole thing was really enjoyable to experience and fun to watch.
After a bit of warming up and making some lunch, John took a team out to shoot some B-roll. We once again piled into his truck and drove from place to place making sure to try and shoot every bit of footage that we would possibly need. At this point we are kind of finishing up with shooting and trying to grab every last thing just in case. We got back a little later about 4ish.
That night there was a potluck planned. Many people that we had interviewed and had interactions with were invited, as well as everyone from the church. The amount of food was incredible and this will probably be the most adventurous I will ever be with trying new foods. It was really stepping out of my comfort zone with food. In total I tried, seal, moose, caribou, and many more dishes. The counter was lined with food, from smoked salmon, soups, moose, and other native foods. I really enjoyed a lot of it, and some not so much. I would have to say my favorite was the moose soup, it was amazing. It was a good amount of subsistence. It was fun to see everyone smiling and having a good time together. The people here are so nice, and it will be the people I will miss the most when I leave.
After dinner and cleaning up, the whole group decided to go for a walk. We walked out to the boardwalk on the tundra, where we joked around and took pictures (not for footage just for fun). It was a good way to walk of the huge meal we just ate.
The trip is getting closer to being over and once it is, I have to admit it will be weird not to wake up with a group and eat breakfast together, to go to a job/assignment for that day. It will be weird when the sun won’t be out at 11:00 at night, not to be wearing boots from day to day, and it will be weird not to be slightly cold all the time. I will be sad to leave Bethel, Alaska once I do, but I know that I will also be ready to go home.