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.
November 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.
Mamainse 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