Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Fisher Poet

We set off to the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon this past Saturday. Astoria is located at the mouth of the Columbia River where fresh waters first taste the salty sea of the Pacific Ocean.

Astoria is a historic little fishing town and every year for the last thirteen years, the Fisher Poets Gathering has been held here. Fisherman from Alaska, down to the Pacific Northwest, California, and even Rhode Island come to read their poetry here, providing a brief and often haunting glimpse into the lives and souls of these amazing fishermen.

Our first stop was to visit the fishing vessel Cold Stream, which was docked in the harbor.

It was built in the 1950's and upon climbing aboard, it was evident that it had many stories to tell from its days and nights at sea.

The most fascinating aspect of touring this boat was meeting its Captain. Can you guess which man in the above photo is the Captain and which is the reporter? Captain Dave, seen to the right in his wool plaid shirt, is a man of a different era.
Being in his presence offered such a vivid glimpse into an industry that is a labor of love, yet evokes the wisdom of time and sacrifice. In him we met a soul who remains beautifully distant from this modern world.

You can go here to read one of his poems.

We were captivated by him. It was his rugged nature, his friendly smile, and his generosity to open his boat, his home, to people like us, curious to see a sliver of what life may be like for a fisherman out on the open sea.
The Captain encouraged people to play with the switches, turn things on, open things up...this made someone in particular quite happy.

Here's Mr. Happy behind the wheel.

...and here he is examining our coordinates - tied to the dock.

While Hubby went down into the belly of the ship to check out the engine, I found myself absorbing the domesticity of the boat. How would it feel to live here for weeks on end? Could this little boat offer comfort amidst the surroundings of a deep dark sea?

I loved the old brass hardware. It is beautiful, with the knobs shined smooth from so many strong hands having turned them over and over through the years.

The hot stove made the cabin quite toasty. I imagined that it is surely the heart of the boat.

Old open shelves act as half medicine cabinet and half spice rack.

Although everything looked tired and weathered, still so very strong.

The paneled doors rested on their hinges as we sat quietly in the calm bay.

It was a pure bliss for Hubby as not only did he get to play Captain that very morning, but afternoon lunch was enjoyed at a local brewery.

And me sampling his beer. I'm thinking..."I wonder if that bakery next door has any cupcakes. "

They did.


  1. What a cool thing to do! The photos remind me of coastal New England so you must have felt very much "at home."

  2. I bet that was fun! I wonder if the Captain knows how popular the weathered wood, copper hardware w/ nice patina and teal interior paint is with women? Probably not...if he only knew. ;) Very nice and I love your blog!
    ☺ Celeste

  3. That bakery next door makes the yummiest scones. :) Love it there. Your photos of the Captain and his boat were great, and I love all the weathered wood and crusty interior. Thanks for sharing!

  4. What an adventure! I just love the interior of that boat...the peeling paint, the old stove, the doorknob. And that rugged sea captain! There aren't many folks left out there like that. It must have been an amazing trip. Thank you so much for sharing this! Absolutely LOVED it.
    xo country girl

  5. What a FABULOUS weekend!!! My husband is a fisherman and I don't think he would have returned home with me after hanging out with the Captain. His dream is to be a commercial fisherman off the coastal Carolinas.
    It's hard to even imagine that lifestyle-the sacrifices, hard work, probably even loneliness. I'm sure however, he couldn't imagine himself living any other way. You captured him and the beauty of the old boat beautifully.
    Do you think the Captain even realizes how beautiful the "weathered-ness" of the boat really is?
    It really is a blessing to have the opportunity to meet unique and special people.
    I thought my day at the auction was fun - I would have swapped weekends with you in a heartbeat! :)

  6. We used to live on the Oregon coast, in the Oceanside, Rockaway Beach area, and you have really made me miss it this morning! My husband also would have loved going on that old boat and playing with all the "toys". :) Sounds like a fun weekend!

  7. Hi Teresa, We saw the scones! Everything they made looked so very delicious. We split a scrumptious carrot cake cup cake! It was their very last one - it was just waiting for us to gobble it up! So good! Trina

  8. I love Fort George! I work In a little town about 20 miles south of Astoria, Cannon Beach! Looks like a great trip!

  9. That is so cool that this post was about Astoria. I grew up in Seaside OR and miss the Oregon Coast SO much. My dad worked in Astoria for most of my childhood at a construction company that builds the big docks that the ships dock at. Glad to find a fellow Oregon Coast lover! The Meritime Museum is really cool too...if you haven't been you would love it!

  10. What an amazing adventure Trina. I love that part of the country so much and I would have loved to have heard those poems and seen that boat. I'll jump over to read Captain Dave's poem now.
    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  11. Oh my...I just read the poem.

  12. Hi Trina
    This is a great post! I loved reading it, and I love poetry, so will look it up.
    I was surprised at how small the wheelhouse was. I thought there would be more room in there.
    Looks like you both enjoyed your day, though I suspect hubby more than you!
    Best wishes

  13. What a wonderful day out on the water. We live in an area where working the water is a way of life for many. The boat you visited has a timeworn beauty that you captured in your photos. Thanks for sharing and glad you and hubby had such a fun day!

    Kat :)

  14. Hi Trina,

    You should have warned me that I would need a tissue to read that poem. Father and son poems kill me regardless of the subject but this one is so sad.

    I bet it was great getting out of the farmhouse. I did this weekend and feel like a new person. I'm such a homebody and am so content to stay here but getting out now and again is good for the soul.

    Your day looked fantastic. Now I want a cupcake.


  15. What a lovely story, thanks for taking us there. It's amazing what we find when we look closer at people! Rx

  16. glad you had a wonderful weekend doing something you love with the one you love the most....gotta tell you...I had images of that movie The Perfect Storm with George Clooney etched in my mind the whole time I was reading the post!!! :)

    ps...I like the captain's ruggedness, too. I'd love to sit and hear his stories!! What a wonderful honor.

  17. Whata cool day out - thanks for taking us with you!

    your images are really lovely, great shots. julesx

  18. Oh Trina, I loved this post!! Great memories of the Oregon coast and beautiful time-worn photographs! So glad hubby had such a great day, and loved seeing you sip his beer. You're such a cutie!
    The Captain's poem was wonderful and bitter-sweet.
    Great post!

  19. Hi, what a wonderful afternoon! There are so many interesting, giving people out in the world - you just have to find them!

  20. Thank you for sharing! So beautiful! We are on the other coast, up in Maine. If you are ever over here, be sure to let me know...we have a 30' sailboat (but shopping for a larger one, my only request is that this one has an over!) that we sail and sleep on during the summer. You are welcome to come for a sail! Maybe we will even have lobster rolls, since me and my Captain (yes, he is a bone-a-fid real Captain) also have our recreational lobstering license and haul our own traps during the summer. :) Thanks for sharing.

  21. What an interesting way to spend a weekend. We love to head down to the Astoria area in the summer time. Last summer we spent four days in Ilwaco, WA in an that used to be a church - beautiful place. There were lots of fishermen there who looked a lot like the Captain!

  22. Loved the pictures. I grew up commercial fishing in Alaska with my family on a boat not much different, so these were a great reminder of my childhood. Would love to make it down to the festival someday, it's amazing how many fishermen write poetry out on the water... something about being out there is just so inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  23. God Bless the Captain...his poem just about ripped my heart out! Bless him!

  24. The poem touched me to the core. It made me smile and it made me sad. Beautiful...and to add his son's picture at the end. So moving. You were so very thoughtful to add that to your blog.

    - Laura -


Thank you for leaving your thoughts. Kind regards, Catherine

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