By 1969, the Alaskan king crab fishery, like Klondike gold and North Slope oil before it, created a mad rush to extract another lucrative Alaskan resource, and early participants reaped fabulous profits. Their success attracted corporate interest, but traditional Pacific Northwest shipyards were swamped with orders. One company turned to Bender Shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Bender built shrimp boats and oil rig supply vessels for the Gulf of Mexico, but had never constructed a vessel for the rigors of winter crabbing in the Bering Sea. Bender finished the Scottie, in December.
Two college students with summer commercial fishing experience learned the Scottie’s owner planned to have a small crew deliver the boat to Seattle via the Panama Canal. Dreaming of a tropical cruise through sun-drenched Caribbean waters, they signed on. With their long Christmas break, they naïvely expected to be back to the West Coast in time for January classes.
“What could possibly go wrong?” they reasoned. The answer: “Everything!” With an inept, hard-partying captain and faulty mechanics, Scottie sailed into a massive Caribbean storm. They barely escaped the nightmare with their lives—and one outrageous, thrilling sea story.
Stephen Orsini fished commercially on purse seiners in Southeast and Kodiak Alaska and has sailed extensively. With articles published in National Fisherman, Oceans, The Compass, Sailing and Sailing World, he saved the delivery of the Scottie for his first full length book.
“A great sea story. Anyone who likes sea stories, whether fiction or real, will like this.”—Bruce Cole, past editor of the National Fisherman.
“The scene at Sears cracks me up. All the fishing cooks I’ve ever known have just grabbed stuff of the shelves”—Dean Adams, author, Four Thousand Hooks
Illustrations / maps / 158 pages (2022)
ISBN 978-1-63864-000-4 Paperback