Just Another Day Dodging Storms and Raising Babies on a Wild Alaska Tugboat
Life as a commercial fisherman in the frozen rainforest came naturally to me. Things got a little different with a fifteen-month-old in tow and a second on the way.
Photos by Reber Stein
Dawn on the tugboat, the volcano across Sitka Sound appearing like the bottom half of an hourglass. Earl the harbor sea lion barks up at Haley Marie, our fifteen-month-old daughter, her laugh shrill on this quiet, misty July Sunday morning, typical for our remote fishing village in the Alaska rainforest. The tide’s out, and ravens hop among the rocks and popcorn seaweed as we walk to the coffee shop. Haley Marie laughs hysterically, calls the ravens “ducks.” Who am I to correct her?
Three months from now, the stork will bomb us for the second time. Are two young ones too much to raise on a tugboat? Is one? Should we string crab-net between the stanchions to keep the kiddo from slipping through? Is chicken wire too aggressive? Surely we should fence the hatch leading down to the engine room. When the boat’s under way I truck-strap the wood stove to a wall to keep it from shifting. Could a wave topple it? That hunk of steel glows red when we get it humming in the win…