"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
This is Part Two from a novel I’ve been working on. You can find Part One here. Enjoy!
Morning dawned brilliant and beautiful. The ocean had calmed and the sun shone bright. Ross walked the length of the deck with a large mug of coffee. Even the potent brew couldn’t take away the dark circles from under his eyes. Sleep was far from his mind though. When they entered the port of Dutch Harbor he looked for familiar fishing vessels tied to the docks. The big seafood companies had decreased their fleets considerably; some of them had sold or leased more than half of their boats. The seafood industry definitely had its ups and downs. This season it was way down. The quota system was in place for the first time, there would be no derby to see who could bring in the largest catch in the all-too-limited time frame. That rush had led to too many deaths.
Ross remembered his first year on Hanson’s crew. Two boats had been lost to the maelström that season. Hurrying meant making mistakes and out here mistakes cost lives. Alaska could be brutal and the Bering Sea was unforgiving.
Taking the steps up to the bridge two at a time, Ross pushed the dismal thoughts from his mind.
“Ross, you hear me? We’re training today.”
Hanson’s gruff voice snapped him out of his reverie.
“Training, Boy! You’ve been off the boat for six years now and Johnson here is green, so we’re going to run the whole crew through a refresh of our survival training.”
Jared nodded absently. Yes, he had been away for a while. But the idea of training made him cringe, it reminded him of boot camp for some reason. Hanson looked out for his crew and required that they all understand how to handle emergencies when they were out to sea. That included putting on survival suits if the Raider were to sink and rescuing a man who went overboard. He seemed to be burdened by the safety and lives of his crew so he drilled them like an Army sergeant.
Captain Hanson had a precise plan from the beginning. The Bering Raider came into port exactly one week before crab season commenced. This allowed the crew some time to prepare the vessel. Ross was feeling more like a babysitter with each passing day. Hanson had now ordered him to help the greenhorn, Hank Johnson, purchase all of his gear. They drove down to one of the vessel supply stores. For a small town, Dutch Harbor certainly had more amenities than most ports in Alaska. Within a few hours Hank had a new pair of XtraTuff rubber boots, several thick sweatshirts, rubber coveralls, and the like. But Ross was getting anxious to have the feel of the sea breeze fill his lungs though. In fact, all of the crew members were antsy to get underway. Hanson kept them busy preparing the Raider. Some of them were sent to get the crab pots from the yards via truck with a boom and winch attachment. Others were getting gear, bait, food, and other necessities. The anticipation was palpable and increased with each passing day.