Sunday, April 11, 2010


Today it is cool and very windy. For the first time in Melbourne, its actually chilly! I had all the intention of being productive on my science paper yesterday but that fell apart as I watched Seinfield, ate grilled cheese sandwiches and had a nana nap. Today was a bit different. I got groceries, organized my paper works, started on my paper again and cooked a cauliflower curry.

a friend of mine is going to alaska. i thought of alaska. it has been 8 years since I've worked in Alaska at one of their fisheries. They are, to date, still some of my favourite memories. I know most American kids have their summer camp memories and this is the closest I could equate to that. I went up to Alaska for two summers in a roll, working as the microbiologist there, screening their caviar. It was new, scary and if you have never worked in a cannery, you would not know what its like.

It is wet and it smells like disinfectant. your toes are forever numb because it is so wet in those rubber boots. that crappy instant coffee every few hours was so very good, the crappest coffee with the most beautiful scenery. You sit on the pier, it's 2am and you stare out into the darkness. in 3 more hours, you'll be back at work. I close down the lab and put on my raingear to help the girls pick odds and ends out of the last bits of caviar. They are tired, as am I but Paulina Rubio is on and who can resist that music. There is a last surge of energy amongst the production line, as if to give it all we got so that everyone can go back and have at least 2 hours of sleep.
Sometimes, I get so sleepy, I have to step outside of the lab to do some mannual labor to wake myself up. Or sometimes, Dan, the pink salmon manager will knock on my lab window and motion his head towards the pier. I would meet him at the dock. We take our boots off and the socks, the sweater as well. It's the only way to wake up. You shouldn't think twice because today its a 30 feet drop into the icy glacial water. your feet grasps onto the edge of the pier that is soaked with water, it's always damp here. i don't thrust myself out, i simple step off. it is a long way down and my stomach screams and in that milli second, i ask myself why I'm jumping. i hit the water, it cuts, it hurts, it takes my breath away. the impact feels like a thousand slaps, stinging slaps. there are jelly fish around me, no whales this time. i make a huge effort to push myself up, the jump was so long and hard that i have gone down further than i expected. i quickly swim towards the pier ladder and it is covered with barnacles. it is unearthly freezing in the air, dan and i walk quickly to his car, all soaked with gravel inbetween our toes and he drives me back to my dorm.

that is how you wake up in alaska.

1 comment: said...

Reading this makes a mother shudder.
But, I have been there, too, different place and summer occupation. But, I do agree..experience and memories are precious!