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AK Wild Woman: Astrid Rose (Lessons from a Kodiak Fishing Family)

August 18, 2015 3 Comments

It's mid-August in Kodiak which is synonymous with peak salmon season in our life.  This year we're navigating things a little bit different because I gave birth to Silas Finley Rose 3 months ago.  I am learning that being a mom is challenging in ways that I never knew possible - my emotional and physical self is pushed to it's limit regularly and the logistics of taking on this wild world with a little human is like driving in the fog- sometimes you just have to wing it. It goes without saying that there are many adjustments you have to make once you're a mom, but there are some that I have vowed not to- things like my love and need for the outdoors, gardening, community service, spontaneous travel and finding ways to spend time with Nate (dad) while he's out fishing.  I will now be doing these things but with baby in-tow. 

 Yesterday, Nate called me on the track phone saying that there was a good weather window, they were in a calm bay and there was a tender leaving the cannery dock in 40 minutes and that I should hop on.  Oh and also, they needed more groceries.  I didn't even have time to think about whether taking such a young baby on an adventure like this was going to be a good idea, I just did some mad scrambling and made it happen.  And now here we are, Silas and I on this boat, a backpack and a baby carrier, hanging with dad. 

Every time I go on the boat, I'm reminded that although I love this fishing family lifestyle, boat life is not for me. I am the land-based part of this operation that provides encouragement and countless other things that make it possible for Nate to be out all summer.  I don't fully understand how four guys live on a 42 foot fiberglass seiner all summer with 64 square feet of cabin space so gracefully.  I don't understand how they make multiple meals a day with nothing but minimal dishes, a skillet and a mini-fridge.  I don't understand how these salmon folk find endless creative ways to problem solve mechanical issues, combat boredom, find new interesting ways to get the salmon in the net and on board. I am puzzled that they don't seem to be bothered by seasickness.  I don't understand how salmon cycles and winds dictate where the fish will be and when. And I might never understand the passion and dedication that it takes to love salmon fishing so much that that's how you choose to make a living. 

But what I do know is that I will encourage Silas to learn these things from his dad who will undoubtedly teach him well because I feel that they are important in character building.  His dad will also teach him through this lifestyle, the importance of hard work, the importance of salmon to our family and livelihood and what it means to be a good steward of the resource that gives us so much.

 

As I sit here daydreaming about how lucky Silas is to learn these things from such an amazing person, I'm left wondering what he will learn from me. It gives me goosebumps to think that my actions and attitude will also help shape him.  And while I will undoubtedly teach him about plenty of non-fishing things, in regards to fishing, I will show him how to be adaptable because if there's one thing I've learned about this coastal fishing life is that you have to be.  I will show him to observe and appreciate nature.  And together Nate and I can show him the importance of family by making time for each other with short mini-trips like these. 
That's why I'm here, on a boat with a three month old winging it for a couple of days this lovely August.  I realize he's still too young to learn many of the things we plan on teaching him, but even at this young age I feel good about putting efforts forward to instill curiosity and a sense of wonder. I love that we will be able to tell him about these adventures when he's a little older so he can be proud and build on the memories. In the meantime he can dream about all the things he sees along the way and consider himself pretty lucky, just like how I feel that he is now a part of our life.  
We met Astrid Rose, pictured above with darling son Silas through friends in Kodiak this past year. Astrid is a huge part of her community organizing Galley Tables and putting together Kodiak's Salmon Life Social. Astrid is the true definition of a modern homesteader too! We're in awe of her subsistence lifestyle - incredible garden and knack for putting up fish and game, berries and jams and other delicious treats to feed her family and community. 


3 Responses

Robin
Robin

August 21, 2015

I have the sense Astrid has been amazing her entire life. I met her while she was in high school and a natural leader in among students and in the community. I think many of the teachers, myself included, anticipated she would go into some type of political/social career field. She had such energy and incredible problem solving skills. I remember thinking she could change the world. And look, she has! When I watch her posts on FB and read her blog I realize she is changing the world in her love of family, her new son and her partner and mate, Nathan. She still invests in her community and still provides social energy in the example she lives for the other young AK wild women who grow and thrive in Kodiak, Alaska, and around the world. In Fact, Kodiak has provided a rich nurturing environment for many of the young Alaskans who grew into young adults on the island. Rock on Astrid! I can only imagine the adventures that a wait you and your family!

Iris Nash
Iris Nash

August 20, 2015

As a new mommy myself, and as a fisher woman who intends to live aboard year round, it’s always awesome hearing new stories. Inspiring lady and beautiful family!

Kaitlin Fulp
Kaitlin Fulp

August 20, 2015

Silas is one lucky little guy to have such a beautiful mom inside & out and a Dad who does a pretty awesome job of providing for his adorable family doing what he loves. Very cool Rose family, very cool.

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