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A Dungeness Crab and then Hypothermia?

A Smoldering Little Heater


My buddy and I went trolling for King salmon off Hungry Point.  We had lead weights, flashers, herring we had jigged for bait and 130 fathoms of fishing line on each pole.  Jonny ( future founder of Alaska Seafood Guys) had a light-weight trout pole to amuse himself.  After making three pass without even a nibble we decided to pull our lines and try Jap Creek across Frederick Sound.   Jonny wanted to leave his line in, no harm in it.  

My buddy and I chatted away until we heard,

“I caught something.”  

We figured his trailing line had snagged a bull whip or seaweed.  It was a Dungeness crab!   That started a new trend. Next time Jonny and I and his slightly older brother Shawn (the future Operations Manager for Alaska Seafood Guys) went fishing for Dolly Varden (sea-going trout).  Shawn helped me tie up the boat at Kupreanof, Alaska.  Shawn and I were ready to cast in the eddy behind the dock, Jonny was going to try to snag crabs from dock. That’s when Shawn and I heard the splash and scream.  

 Jonny had tried to jump from the float to the boat and hesitated.  Hesitating when boarding is a dangerous thing to do here often leading to concussion and drowning.  

I grabbed him by the handle of his kid’s life vest and yanked him out of the water.  Shouted to Shawn to cast off and headed back to Petersburg. Shawn went below and gave him his dry sweater. Proverbially you only have 15 minutes in Alaskan waters before death. But Jonny had been only in for seconds. Once home, with dry clothes he said

“ Why are my teeth chattering?”  

The best way to warm someone slightly hypothermic is body-to-body rather than concentrating on the arms and legs.  So I put him on the couch next to me and wrapping us in a blanket.  Little kids are like smoldering little heaters. In a few minutes we were both sound asleep


Author – William Moulton