INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
Meeting the new boss before departure
On that mild October morning I met up with my new boss, Harry Waterfield, on an airfield near the same dock where he interviewed me just the day before. Upon receiving the job I had only one day to settle my affairs and prepare for the two week assignment. So I temporarily quit my position at the cannery, surprisingly with no hassle given. This apparently happens often. Being that they are always in need of warm bodies to work the year round fishing, and people arriving seasonally, they have grown accustomed to the quick turnaround of daily workers. Resuming the job upon my return should be no problem.
I made a quick call to my parents to let them know that I will be unavailable for the following two weeks and not to worry if they cannot contact me, they expected a weekly call from me.
“Porque mijo?” My mother asking why. It was inconceivable to her that I would be anywhere where I could not be near a telephone line for a day, much less a couple of weeks. She did not approve.
I packed all the warm clothing I had. In hindsight none of it was the warm clothes needed for the exposures we were to experience. I was ill prepared for actual wilderness life. My typical to polyester knit clothing, wrong types of socks (thin and abrasive, enough to callus the feet after a day’s hike on rough terrain), winter jacket with lining that feigned warmth but was all but. This misjudgment would soon teach me the importance of cottons and wool. More specifically, the benefits of layering against the cold would be the most important lesson.
“Don’t you own camping gear?” Harry asked as he noticed my duffle bag of clothes.
“No, I’ve never been.” Fearing my response would make him reconsider his decision. And two thousand dollars for two weeks’ worth of work was something I did not want to miss out on.
“OK. No problem. I have gear at the site that someone left behind. You can use that. Jim can probably help you figure out the setup.”
The other member of this assignment was Jim Purdy. He was our surveyor, the technical brains of the operation. More to the fact, as I would find out, he was a diehard outdoors-man. Not accustomed to the comforts of rural life he would rent cabins in the surrounding woods with no utilities or running water. In Kodiak his cabin was so remote that he’d hike to town every few weeks for minimal supplies and hunt for the rest. As I would soon get to know him he would have a perpetual musk of cedar wood smoke from his nightly lit fire pit, his only source of heat out there. Not an offensive smell, a more complementary and one that reminds me to this day of the man and the location.
I would soon to meet this surveyor.
“Where is Jim?” I asked, assuming that we were waiting on him.
Earlier that day Harry flew Jim out to the work site that was located just on the other side of Ugak bay, fifty kilometers due south of Kodiak City. He returned to pick me up. Surprised for I assumed that due to this early morning meet up today I was the first appear and transported. But apparently they were active even earlier.
I thought our delay for departing was because we were waiting on Jim but as it seems that was not the case. Maybe Harry was giving me a last moment to renege or maybe he was reconsidering the decision of me. Regardless shortly thereafter we then prepared our departure to the remote beach.
I was actually excited for the change in routine. I’ve acclimated to cannery work too easily. Settling for the 16 hour daily work and soon foregoing seeking the adventures promised that have attracted me out to Alaska in the first place.
These coming two weeks was the exact reason I was here. Devil may care of my ignorance and necessary skills needed. I would learn them on the go.
About the Author
I have always ended up in unexpected places. So I present a collection of my tales told over the years. Places that due to circumstances I might never go on my own accord.