>Following the crab fleet

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Well it’s quite busy out here now.

The weather has improved greatly and everyone is ready to fish. With a larger number of crab boats comes a large number of crab pots and their floats. When a crab pot is put into the water it is attached to a line that has two marker buoys on the end. These buoys float on the top of the water to mark the position of the pot and provide a method to retrieve the pot from the bottom. A crab boat will deploy a crab pot about every 100 yards, and the water depth in this area is about 50 fathoms (300 feet). A line of these buoys is called a string, though one pot is not connected to the next; each pot stands by itself until recovered.

The hazard for everyone out here is that you have to navigate your ship through these strings of buoys, and they’re not always easy to see as the waves tend to obscure them until the last minute, then its, “Left full rudder.” followed shortly after that with, “Right full rudder.” This maneuver is used to keep the ship’s screws (propellers) from getting entangled with the line leading to the pot. While there is little danger that a crab pot will actually be sucked up into a prop and damage the ship, it is much more likely that we would cut the line and the crab pot would be lost forever. So we try to avoid this as best we can. The pots are expensive plus they continue to catch crabs until the biodegradable side panel on the pot eventually gives way. At nighttime there is no way to see the buoys at all so we tend to move away from the pot boats altogether when it’s dark.

Today’s pictures are from the two crab boats we boarded. The first two are of Scandies Rose. The third and fourth pictures are of our boarding team in the small boat with BM2 Chris Crockett as the coxswain (pretty tough looking if you ask me). The last two are of the Arctic Lady. You can see some the marker buoys I was talking about stored aft of the wheel house on Arctic Lady.
Commander Jones

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