Restoring John Steinbeck’s Western Flyer | for Seattle Weekly cover


Originally posted on Seattle Photographer Daniel Berman | Bellingham, WA | (206) 387-3767 daniel@bermanphotos.com:

A view of the Western Flyer ship once owned by  the author John Steinbeck, and now by John Gregg. After many failed attempts, the craft is being restored by Michael York at a dry dock in Port Townsend, Washington. In 1940, Steinbeck and a small crew navigated the Western Flyer on a successful, yet sometimes ill-fated marine specimen collection expedition along the Gulf of California. The adventures served as inspiration for Steinbeck's prized non-fiction book, "The Log from Sea of Cortez." Photo by Daniel Berman for Seattle Weekly.

Backed into the southwest corner of a large, unassuming dry dock in Port Townsend, Washington is a vessel with plenty of history. Maybe you’ve heard of John Steinbeck’s book The Sea of Cortez? This is the boat that took him and his team on their epic, problem-laden-but-ultimately-successful tour of the Gulf of California, then in its prime 75 years ago.

Today, the boat has new ownership under John Gregg, a geologist who spent $1 mil to call it his, and will likely have to spend a similar amount to fully restore it. Still, he’s dedicated to getting the boat ship-shape. Other people have tried before yet failed to do so, starting and stopping the restoration process for one reason or another – often financial, sometimes personal. There’s much more to this story, well-told in a fascinating piece by Patrick Hutchison.

The owner was unavailable for a portrait, but his manager…

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Sea To Source | Ventura Harbor Fish Market


While many people are recently hopping into the eat local and sustainable vibe, Ventura Fish Company maintains a steady presence at Ventura Harbor Village. During the fishing season, the Ventura II rolls into the harbor once a month and offers incredibly fresh local seafood to eager foodies at the docks. I have to say the smoked Opah is incredible! Just check www.venturafishcompany.com for the latest updates on their next harbor visit. Also, Andria’s Seafood Market offer a variety of fresh daily delights from the sea in their restaurant or retail store on a daily basis for those urgent seafood needs. #eatmoreseafood

Now that we where to to buy them, let’s take a look at how they are caught. This is raw footage of the Ventura II at sea during the 2013 season. Also, I’m sure some readers are curious about the sustainability of the fishery, so I have included a nice Infographic after the video to help inform and educate.

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Alaska Reality Wars | Selling Out Our High Seas And Distant Shores.


The vast expanse of the last frontier is quickly becoming the king of prime time television entertainment. There is another gold rush in Alaska and its attacking our screens with the ferocity of a Kodiak brown bear. There are over twenty reality TV shows currently airing on numerous cable networks that have some affiliation with Alaska. It’s easy to assume that Alaska is just plain awesome, right? Who wouldn’t want to film in the vast expanse of America’s most remote and majestic state? Perhaps, this all goes back to our favorite famous Alaskan. No one else has enticed and disappointed America with their Alaskan charm more than Sarah Palin. During her political stint in 2008, Palin instituted an Alaska film incentive program that could give up to 200 million bucks a year to prospective production companies that met the proper requirements. Lucky for us, her daughter, Britol Palin, received 360,000 dollars for her short lived reality show, which received some of the worse ratings ever. (Second, of course, to Hook, Line, And Sisters! Just Kidding.) Over 40 Alaskan reality shows have come and gone over the years, even Sarah had her own fleeting reality moments on TLC in the fall of 2010. A few of the older shows, like the Deadliest Catch, have managed to keep their integrity and expand their fan base. It fact, it’s constantly the most popular show on Discovery Channel. Newer reality shows, like Alaskan Bush People, are angering Alaskans with their lack of local knowledge and the sensational approach to even the most mundane situations. With the possibility of the Alaskan film incentives being discounted due to budget cuts, is this a reprieve for weathered Alaskan fishermen? Don’t count on it. Another 13 shows are listed to be in currently in production according to IMDB.

This “selling out” of our high seas and distant shores hits closer to home than I ever realized it could. Over the past months, I have been in negotiation with an unnamed reality production crew, which was interested in the Commercial Fishing Film Festival. Unfortunately, I can’t really mention too many details about the “proposed” reality show due to legal mumbo jumbo. Initially, I drank the “Hollywood Kool-Aid” and was profoundly inspired by the possibilities of this new found partnership. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had pretty much signed away any creative rights for “our” future project. Luckily, with a little back pedaling and stalling, I was able to back away from the deal. I instantly realized the unique quality of The Commercial Fishing Film Festival is in its raw independent nature. These are real fishermen, capturing real moments, with their own personal twist on their reality. Most of all, these voices and visions aren’t being stifled by some producer who knows absolutely nothing about Alaska or fishermen. If you are as disgusted of fake reality shows, tune into www.fishfilmfest.com for hundreds of commercial fishing videos uploaded by from various fishermen around the world.

It’s easy to understand the appeal of these “reality” shows. Adventure, discovery, and exploration are really at the heart of the American dream. Sadly, these ideals are being packaged by Hollywood and mass produced for prime time television at the cost of true Alaskans. Edge Of Alaska, really? Let’s hope that the redneck roundup of ridiculous reality shows finds a new land to tarnish. In the meantime… Have you seen the latest episode of Alaskan Bush People?

Check into our new FlipBoard magazine for the latest updates and articles on Alaska’s Reality Wars.  Just click on the image to jump to Flipboard.

 

Fisher Lives, Fisher Wives, And Fisher Lies


We have all weathered severe storms at sea, but many fishermen find the biggest storms are the ones we find in our personal lives. I'm not going into personal details, but 2014 was a tough year for me. When life isn't really going your way, change is usually the best solution. I've decided to skip fishing in Alaska this year and continue fishing in California for squid. Change is good! That's exactly what I want from this site. I have grown bored of the usual postings on this site and I'm looking to freshen up the site with more unique stories and content. I'm looking for any suggestions or even guest bloggers that would like to share their own commercial fishing stories with our viewers. I'm also planning a new podcast coming up in 2015, called “DockTalk” and it will be a weekly podcast that focuses on recent news stories and seafood market information. I appreciate your continued support and interest in this internet endeavor and I'm excited to bring a new fresh approach to commercial fishing news.

 

 

Commercial Fishing Video Of The Day | Twas The Night Before Christmas And I Was Lonely At Sea


I think of this poem every holiday season. My thoughts and understanding go out to all men and women at sea this Christmas. I hope this poem brings a smile to your face. Merry Fishmas!

Commercial Fishing Photo Of The Day | Fishermen’s Terminal Xmas 2014


I found some local Christmas cheer in the Fishermen's Terminal this season on a recent trip thru Ballard. Kudos to the M/V Maximo for going the distance on the Christmas spirit. Happy Holidays!

 

Commercial Fishing Video Of The Day | Ventura Harbor Parade Of Lights 2014


 

Check out this years incredible Parade of Lights in Ventura Harbor this Christmas. The entire harbor village comes together for this cheerful holiday tradition. I know this has been attempted in Alaska, as well. However, we rarely have the pleasant weather that Ventura County does. Anyways, it looks like a ton of fun!

Commercial Fishing Photo Of The Day | F/V Ocean Angel 3 | X Mas Edition


Every Christmas, Ventura Harbor lights up the local harbor with a fantastic parade of lights. Here's a shot of the squid seiner the Ocean Angel III before the big parade. It's a shame, I missed the event by one weekend. I've been so busy traveling and visiting friends for the holidays that I haven't had much internet time. Have yourself a Merry Christmas!

 

News and Views from the Back Deck

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