Life of a Commercial Fisherman’s Wife   Leave a comment

Three weeks ago when we had the wild wind storm (pictures below), I had the scary pleasure of helping my husband with the watch care of the boat.  The winds had started on a Thursday morning and by evening were gale strength.  We had Bible study up at our Pastor’s home and so Rick, Annie and I headed out leaving Melody in charge of the house.  We stopped by the boat and Rick watched and accessed the way the wind was blowing and went and through another line on the boat.  We headed to Bible study and into the second hour the lights started to blink.  I called Melody to see if we still had electricity and we did.  The strange thing about northern Door electricity is that within the three miles that we were from home there were at least 5-6 circuits, so from neighbor to neighbor there is no pattern for who will be out of electricity or who will have it!  If the lights went out at Pastor’s it might not mean that our would be out at all.  I mentioned to Rick that I did not want Melody to be alone if the power did go out so he decided that he would go home  while Annie and I stayed another 30 minutes before Pastor said we needed to just pray and get everyone home as the winds were picking up and roaring.  We got home and within a few minutes our power went out. 

I found the flashlights, of which only one worked well and the rest were weak lights at best.  If only I had stocked up on batteries like I normally do when I am at Fleet Farm!  We lit candles and grabbed blankets, making the living room our sleeping area for the night.  Rick and I went down and did another check on the boat, she was still there and rocking.  We dozed off after returning from that check, the girls on couches and Rick in his chair and I unfortunately in a somewhat comfortable, but not really J  chair covered in blankets for warmth.   Around midnight we went again to check the boat and this time Rick tied a line from a post across the harbor so that the boat was also being pulled away from the dock and hopefully suspended there so that the damage of being thrown against the dock would be minimal.   Again we went to sleep and awoke at three to go and check the boat again.  Actually I woke as Rick woke but he wanted me to stay and due to my being so groggy I agreed and he headed out.  I only half slept as the concern for my husband over-powered my desire for sleep and sure enough within moments he was back and I knew he needed me.   I threw on his work jacket and headed out, trying to clear my head to think clearly as I knew Rick would be shouting orders to me and needed me to respond quickly and correctly. 

We got down to the dock and two of the lines were broke so the Freitag was bouncing hard.  A huge tire that is attached to the dock to protect the boats was missing so I could hear the sickening sound of metal of our boat scraping against the dock. 

I went out on the dock praying each step of the way that I would not fall as I knew the boards were loose in places and some were broken.  I reached the boat and leaned over grabbing the rail to brace myself against the dock to keep the 42 foot steel boat from hitting the dock while at the same time bracing myself to not be pulled off the dock as the in the ebb of the wave the boat would pull away and might well have taken me with it! 

God is really good, He really does equip us to be helpmates for our husbands and to use His strength and wisdom which He gives freely when we call on Him, and I was calling on Him!  You see I have an issue with vertigo which is set off by darkness or small movements and I was in the middle of those two things out on the dock.  There is a light on the dock but it did not shine onto the dock and the wooden dock, peer, which I was standing on was shifting slightly with each wave.  It was wild, but I trust a God who does wild things and as I prayed I was calmed and able to do each thing that Rick needed me to do.  Well, except one.  I moved over onto the cement dock where he was going to throw me a line from the boat which I was to catch to pull the boat away from the dock  to secure it again to a post.  Rick threw the rope my way but the wind caught it and it fell not to far from the boat so her reeled it in to try once again.  Our docks have no railing around them to hang on to and I was far from a post to steady myself so I knew I could not lean over the water to grab the rope and although I hated the helpless feeling of not being able to reach the rope as Rick tossed it toward me again I knew that safety was more important.  This time the rope came within 6-8 feet of where I was before the wind again blew it down into the water.  Rick quickly came and improvised a tool from rope and a box hook which he tossed out to retrieve the rope before the waves took the rope to far away from us.  He caught it and grabbed it out while I messed with lines and moves things away from entangling his feet as he worked the rope around the post, pulling it tighter with each slack in the line as the waves rolled.  The wind blew through my jacket and my hair whipped around my face as I stood waiting for the next order to move the truck for more light from the headlights or to grab the flashlight and hold it for him. 

Rick soon had things under control and I headed to the truck to get out of the wind and try and get warm.  Rick re-checked lines and then came to the truck.  Upon shutting the door I looked at him and said “maybe it is time for you to get a desk job!”   Rick gave me half of a smile and then responded with “I don’t think that would suit me very well.”   As we drove toward the house with the winds swaying the truck I knew that he was correct, that would be a little too tame for this fisherman of mine.

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