| Washington State fishermen with cooked crab. |
Photos from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"Haven't you read stories in which sturdy old salts go out in stormy, blizzardy weather to lift the lobster and crab traps? Don't they always thrill you, make you feel somehow as if your soft life lacked something? When Amundsen, Byrd, Stefanson, and the Lofoten fishermen go off on their wild ways, aren't you drowned with envy and yearning to go off with them, to endure hard things, to feel blasts of icy winds on cheeks already nearly frozen? The hard things. Only they are worth doing, really.
Not that the little storm we are heading into now is dangerous, or that sitting in the back of Mr. Thompson's skiff while he lifts his crab traps is very hard. But it feels as if one were getting close to reality, anyhow. I am shivering half with delight, half with a blowing rain that is not far from being sleet, as one by one the big traps come out of the water, are emptied into the boat.
...Word came last night that I might go at 8 AM this morning with Mr. Thompson, a Dane, to lift the crab traps. It rained all night, so Thompson goes ahead on the trail with a stick, knocking off as much water as possible.
The boat lay the the top of the beach. Thompson bailed it out, tipped it to let all the water run out, and we dragged it down over the gravel into the water, where it began to leak again. With an old putty knife that he keeps handy for the purpose, the master of the skiff stuffed old rope into the cracks and we put to sea, the wind having died down somewhat under the lash of the rain.
In Thompson's early days crab fishing flourished. There was a crab cannery at Blaine. He ran