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Unless otherwise credited, all words and photographs are © David Ritchie and may not be used without permission.

Jan 6 There are hard, physical jobs and there are hard, physical, dangerous jobs. Fishing is such a job. There are days when the lakes are calm and the water is warm, but the danger of drowning or injury is still present. And there are days when the water is violently rough, cold and unforgiving. Yet the fish tugs still need to pull nets, earn a living and get home safely.

Often, the most dangerous place to be is near the shore. As rough as the water can be offshore it is much worse near shore, where deep water meets the shallows. The water is pushed ashore where it rears up in confusion. The outgoing water from the previous waves crashes into the incoming current. Rocks and sand bars are extremely dangerous.


Storm2.jpgNovember gale, entrance to Mamainse Harbour    photo courtesy of Ted Smith


The following tale was shared by Ted Smith, a crew member of the Last Time, fishing out of Mamainse Harbour, Lake Superior on November 4, 1984.

“Driving around in a big storm on autopilot.
Got off Coppermine rock.
Bottom comes up from 400 feet to 30 ft
Big combers and we dove into a wave and never came up in time. 

A big wave hit us on the port side and took out a side window and caved in the puller door. Started a turn to get it on our stern, so we could do something with that window.
Took 500 gallons of water in the wheelhouse… water running across the wheelhouse floor down on the deck
Smashed the coffee pot back in the bunk. 
(Captain) Homer (Jim) Greenslade brought it into Mamainse. Kind of a scary time.”
Kind of scary? That must be an understatement, it would have put most people back on dry land permanently.
The other Last Time crew members were MikeHopkins and Bob (Houndog) Ottley. My thanks to Ted Smith for the story and photos.


Superior Storm    photo courtesy of Ted Smith


Mamainse Surf copy.jpgMamainse Harbour   photo courtesy of Ted Smith

They’re brave souls who fish in that weather, on those waters. Much respect, and thanks for your cooperation and information.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”  Mark Twain