Friday, October 24, 2008

They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships


Photo & Text Copyright 2008 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

I took this shot of fishing boats from the Ballard bridge last night. I spent quite a long while looking at the jumble of boats that were safely nestled in the docks of Fisherman's Terminal in Salmon Bay, home of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet. But not all the boats are home in fall and winter and Seattlites have learned the sad story of the Katmai, a head and gut cod processing boat, that left this peaceful Ballard scene, went out through the locks, out Puget Sound and up to Alaska's Bering Sea. On Wednesday, in hurricane force winds and two story tall waves, first reports indicate that the Katmai took on more water in her stern than her pumps could keep up with. She lost her ability to steer into oncoming waves and her crew donned survival suits. She rolled in a huge trough and went down. Seven crew were in one life raft, but they were cast into the frigid sea by a huge wave and only four managed to climb back in. These four were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and divers in perilous winds after 17 hours on the brutal roiling sea. The other life raft was found partially deflated and empty. Five other crew members' bodies have been recovered from the sea, and two crew are still missing. Many of you have watched the crab boat crews featured on "The Deadliest Catch" and have seen the types of hardships fishermen off Alaska face. Many of those boats' home base is Salmon Bay in these serene docks. This is the Seattle neighborhood that brings you the deadliest catch and much of the salmon, cod, halibut and crab you eat if you live in western North America. The folks who make their livelihood fishing know it is dangerous, grueling work to bring home the catch. All the crew of the Katmai are from the Pacific Northwest except her captain. There will be flowers and photos at the permanent memorial at Fisherman's Terminal this weekend, and many thoughts continuing to go out to the fishermen of the Katmai and their families.

4 comments:

raf said...

Kim, as one of those who made a living fishing the Bering Sea, I appreciate your thoughtful tribute today. Our hearts and prayers go out to the crew and families of the Katmai who have lost their loved ones.

Bibi said...

Hadn't heard of this disaster, and I am so sorry for the loss the crew's families and friends have suffered.

Leave Your Mark Photography said...

Beautiful pictures Kim. My thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family.

Small City Scenes said...

Thanks for the fine post, Kim. My girlfriends father's name is on that memorial. It touches home. MB