Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Life of a Longline Observer

So I haven’t posted in a while…sorry for that. I thought that today I would give an explanation of my job through pictures and word. This might give you a better understanding of what it is that I do.

My ‘day’ starts off with me getting up about an hour before the haul starts. this give me plenty of time to wake up shake off the sleep and get my paperwork together for the upcoming haul.

That is my rack on top and to the left. I have three roommates in this stateroom. 

A closer view of my sleeping accomidations.

After I prep everything that I need to, basically filling out the info at the top of my data sheets and randomly selecting my start unit and a few other things, I get suited up to head out to my tally station.

Yes I am under all that stuff. I wear all of that to stay warm!

I head out to my tally station which is above where the fish come on board. I have to stand on deck for about 40 – 60 minutes at a time and count everything that comes on board, drops off the line or is removed by the rollerman (the guy who brings the fish on the boat, I have video that will come later). this is one of the parts of my job that, while being the easiest, sucks! It is usually windy on deck, it is usually at my back (not always) and the average temp while I was up there hovered around the 0 degree mark. there where times when it was below zero and it sucked even more :/

While I am counting everything that comes onboard the rollerman and bleeder are collecting by catch, anything that isn’t a Pacific Cod. This bycatch goes in to my blue baskets and waits for me to come down and work it up.

I am not in this photo. The guys are breaking ice so we don't get to top heavy. where the in orange is is where I stand for my tally periods.

From the tally station I would walk through the house (the living quarters portion of the boat) and head down to my sample station and my waiting blue baskets of happiness.

My sampling station. You can see my blue baskets under the table and to the right of them is my Motion Compensating Platform scale. that was a blessing to have.

Once I got done sorting my fish and weighing them I would clean up my sample station and repeat the process. I would generally have about an hour or so till I had to be on deck again so I would head back to the tool room and hang out there until the process started over again.

It took six or so hours to retrieve a string then two hours to set it out again. so I could take a nap from my last sample till we started hauling again, usually though I sat around getting paperwork together from the previous haul. that took about an hour or so and then my nap could begin…so I guess I really only got about an hour nap. I would usually work 18 – 26 hours and then take a haul off because it was unsafe for me to go out on deck because I was so tired. In fact one time I fell asleep at the rail during my tally period. I had to stop and go to bed. I not as young as I used to be :(

so here are some photos and video of the whole process from set to haul.

this is the gournd line coming out from the stern of the boat. we were using squid for bait. This is the bird deterrents used

This is the auto-baiter machine. the guy here is feeding squid into it and the machine put cuts and baits the hooks as they go out.

this is where the gear hangs and is stored when not fishing. currently these are being baited and run out the back.

this is the Hauling station. This guy is the rollerman and gaffs the fish on to the boat.

this guy is not as grumpy as this picture portrays him. I caught him off his guard. He is the bleeder, he cuts all the fish that come on board.

After the fish sit for a while, after being bled, they are then put through the header.

One of the headers

this is the gutting station, I thought I would spare everyone the gory photos of this part of the process. the gutted fish are thrown into the bins to the right.

the fish are then paned acoding to size. and then...

placed in to the freezers. It takes about four hours to freeze all the fish in one freezer.

Once frozen then the freezer break. each pan is removed from the freezere and then the product is taken out of the pans and...

packaged. Mr. Grumpy there is one of my roommates, this is the end of a bad day for him, thus the grumpy look

Once we fill the boat full of product we head back in to Dutch. It takes 24 – 36 hours for the offload the boat and then back load bait. During this time I have no responsibilities so I get to enjoy the sights in port.

Here are some of the sights that I got to see while in port:




Emporer Goose

Emporer Geese

Harlequin Ducks. this was the best I could do...they were very wary of me and kept diving

Have no clue...Any help?



Actually got this one while under way. This  is a Fork-tailed Storm Petrel

Me holding the Fork-tailed Storm Petrel

I look in my basket and I find a stow-a-way

So it is a Fish-eat Fish World  :D

Alaska Skate

Arrowtooth Flounder

So I really wanted to post videos but the Internet connection I am currently using is less then Ideal. I am hoping just to be able to upload all of these photos. Here’s hoping