Our 21st season has started here at Alaska Premier Charters, Inc. There is a lot of work to be done getting the lodge and the boats ready for our first clients. The summer staff has started to arrive in bunches, and soon we will have a full crew of hard working staff, all preparing for the upcoming months. The captains and deckhands are working toward getting the boats ready, and the lodge staff (a.k.a. beach crew) have already gotten started organizing, cleaning, and fine tuning the lodge.
There is no shortage of things to be done to get a boat ready to launch. We check each life jacket to make sure it works properly. Then we double bag and stow them onboard. Electronics need to be installed and ensured they are in working order. From out of storage, we get all of the necessary fishing equipment, organize, and store it all away. All necessary boat maintenance is handled next, and finally, they are ready to hit the water.
We take them one at a time across town to the launch. At 30 feet long, the boats we use don’t look that big while they are in the water, but when they are on the trailer, driving down the road, they look huge! At the municipal boat ramp, we wait for our turn, and then we roll the boats down the ramp and into the water. We have a very experienced trailer driver who makes the whole process look easy.
Each boat gets a short ride see if there are any problems (everything was working fine) then they get driven to their home for the summer down at the slip in Thomsen harbor. That first day, it took us 12 hours to get all four of our 30′ Orca fishing boats into the water. The next step is to fine-tune everything that isn’t working properly, clean and organize, and gear up. It’s a long process, but everything is done in an efficient and organized manner.
On the beach, there is a lot of cleaning going on. Everything that was stored for the winter needs to be taken out and freshened up. Inventory needs to be taken. Supplies need to be ordered. Someone needs to make sure everything is in tip-top shape for the busy fishing season ahead of us. Our chef is in the kitchen, getting into the routine, to continue the tradition of scrumptious high class food APC is known for.
There is a general feeling of excitement and optimism in the air. Everyone is motivated and busily working. Picture a group of ants in the beginning of spring, building the anthill for the year, and you’ll have APC right now. Everybody is doing something, working on one project or another. We are lucky to have Theresa leading us, who always seems to be everywhere at once. She works harder than everyone here, and thrives on it.
Spring has sprung here in Sitka. The leaves are starting to poke out from their buds, and the world is taking on the greenish hue of early spring. It’s warmer now, and the weather seems to change every hour. Sitka had a very mild winter this year; a lot of the locals have made comments on how nice it was. The evidence is obvious: Mount Edgecumbe (our resident dormant volcano) has far less snow on its peak than it did last year at this time.
The eagles are once again perched high up in the Sitka spruce and birch trees around the lodge. When the tide comes into the bay by the cabin, they swoop down and pluck the herring from shallow water for their meals. It’s really something to see. Today, I counted twelve bald eagles perched up in the trees at once; seven of them in the same tree. Sitka has one of the biggest bald eagle populations of the U.S.
While talking to some of the local captains who’ve been out fishing lately, it sounds like the King Salmon fishing has been decent. We are optimistic that it will be a great year, and we can’t wait to get out on the ocean and catch some.
So far, we have gotten a lot accomplished, but we have a ways to go before everything is ready. We’re up for the challenge, and looking forward to seeing you this summer.
Written by Tom, Deckhand ~ Checkmate