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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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?
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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.