Where dinner comes from

Coos Bay, Oregon                  Friday Aug 14

We entered the Coos Bay, Oregon channel before noon. It was an easy morning entrance into the harbor with no notice of seas kicked up by the bar and only a small adjustment required by current.  In Coos Bay, you enter into an era where the men do the hard work and the women aren’t much in appearance. It is a working man’s town.

The culture is working class — men with beards and knee-high rubber boots and drab clothes silently trudge to their boats, or gather in a small groups for low conversation around a 60’s pick up truck at dockside. Here the bonds are strong among the men who get their livelihood from the sea and give their lives back to it.

Do you know where your fish come from? In the high-tech, urban world of Seattle (my home port these past six years) no one need give a thought to the source of our fish and more than turning the sink faucet and expecting water. Food vendors fill their goods in the wee hours of the night and voila … food and flowers and fuel show up in the morning as if by magic. The obvious answer is that it fish come from behind the glass case at the market — as effortlessly as pointing a finger at the one you want.   No!  We have arrived upstream at the source of our dinner — Coos Bay Oregon.

In spite of their best efforts the fishing fleet shows the relentless/inexorable decay from the sea environment. Their common enemy is first and foremost rust… followed by maintenance, and then depleting fish stock, and fuel bills and the profit to remain in business next year. This is a life you can love only if you’ve grown up with it from birth, and you have salt water in your veins.

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