By GRIFFIN SHERO
On the rainy day of Aug. 29, 2013 at Homer High School, I talked to an old cranky sea captain about his summer adventures in Cold Bay. The Captain’s name is Clayton Smith. Captain Smith has worked at the school for more than a decade and spends his summers as ship captain in the Bering Sea.
Captain Smith stated that this summer he had spent it all working out of False Pass, Alaska. His job was to go around to all the commercial fishing boats on the fishing grounds to collect and buy the fish that had been caught. Once he purchased the fish and they were loaded on his boat he took them back to the fish processing plant at False Pass to unload them so they could be processed for customers.
False Pass is at the very beginning of the Aleutian Islands, about 50 miles west of Cold Bay and 600 miles from Homer, Alaska. Captain Smith said, “My best memory of that was one night on the Bering Sea. We had the most beautiful sunset I think I have ever seen.”
Captain Smith says, “coming home” is a true statement for all fishermen who spend week after week away from home and their loved ones each year.
Captain Smith said, “dealing with a deck hand” was the hardest part of fishing.