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Author Topic:   It's gonna tear your heart out.
Sal DiMercurio posted 08-18-2006 03:07 PM ET (US)   Profile for Sal DiMercurio   Send Email to Sal DiMercurio  
The Sockeye Salmon run in area "T" usually gets going around the 22 - 23 of June & runs unilt about the 17th of July.
All the canneries run at full capacity during the main part of the run & the people that work [ college girls, including my daughter Jeannine ] work 16 hours a day to process the fish.
My daughter speaks fluent Japanese & is the translator between the Japanese buyers of the Salmon roe & Alaska Packers [ DelMonte ] managment.
Most of the fishermen are from the lower 48 such as Wahington, Oregon & Calif.
After the Sockeyes finish running the canneries close down & the workers go home.
My daughter was done working at the cannery & was allowed to go with her husband to fish for silvers.
She could handle a boat better than most men as she was my oldest & went everywhere with me & I let her run the boats.
There's was a group of Slavonian fishermen [ my son-inlaw Chris included ] that stayed to fish for Silvers [ Coho ] in Ugashik, about 100 miles South of our base.
They had a buyer [ ship ] that would buy their fish & provide fuel & food.
Chris would do anything for me, & respected my opinion to no end.
It was now August 17th & I called my ex wife to see if she had heard from Jeannine, as she [ daughter ] would call from the boat via single side band or cell phone if they had service.
She [ ex ] said she calls every 2 days & is due to call tommorow.
I streesed to her to tell Chris that I am saying it's now time to leave Ugashik because it's the beguining of winter there & the wind can come up & blow over 100 mph for a week straight.
I have fished that area & it's one rough SOB.
She [ ex ] told Chris what I said & he agreed to leave tomorrow night on the big flood, so they could ride the 9 knt current the 100 miles they needed to travel.
It was the 1th of August at 11:pm & they were traveling with the other 5 boats in tandom, one in back of the other about 100 yds apart.
It was getting dark & the Southesat wind was blowing about 35mph coming from the shore.
The "Hard Tac" [ son-inlaws boat ] was the 5th boat back & mt daughter was beat & told her husband she was going below to try & sleep.
She went below but coun't beguin to sleep because it was so rough everything in the galley & bunks was flying around from side to side & up & down.
These boats are onlt 32' long & 12 - 14 ft wide ] .
Jeannine hears the boat behind them say on the radio,...."CHRIS" why are you so far off coarse ?
Jeannine listens & there's no abswer,....she jumps up & goes up top side & chris isn't at the wheel & she throws on all the halogen flood lights to light up the whole boats,.....he's not on the boat..................
Jeannine grabs the mike & yells Chris is "NOT" on the boat, he fell overboard & she has no idea where he fell off or why he was outside.
She turns the boat around thinking if he fell off he has to be in back of me & she is now crosswise in the waves & it's all white.
She puts the throttle to wide open in a panic & has no idea where to look & she tells me a voice told her to stop now & look w2ith the spotlight.
She turned on the powerful spotlight & goes out on deck hanging on to the railings as tight as she can & she see's Chris with his arms up in the air in a big white wave.
She guns the engine to get closer & comes out & grabs a line [ rope ] & throws it but the wind is to strong & she can't throw it hard enough.
She puts the boat back in gear & goes to where she saw him last hoping she didn't run him over because she couldn't see him in the rough waters.
She ran out on deck screaming his name & she see's him right there only maybe 10 - 15 ft away & throws him a line.
He grabs it but it's so rough the jerking of the rocking boat pulls it from him.
She throws it again & lays flat on the deck & he grabs it & she is pulling him towards the boat with everything she has & a huge wave washes over the deck taking her overboard with it.
Sge grabs a tire thats used for a bumper thats tied to the boat & reaches out & grabs Chris & they lock arms.
Another monster wave picks the boat up & slams it down on top of Jeannine causing her the loose her grip on Chris.
She again grabs a tire reaches for Crhis & he sinks just 3 ft from her.
By now the other boats are all around her & Chris comes up again about 20 yards away from one of the other boats.
He is so tired he can't stay afloat as he has on hip boots & sweat cloths.
One of the guys on the other bot put on a suvival suit & gos in the water to try & save Chris but he goes down, never to return.
Jeannine went out of her mind for months after that & is just now coming back to normal.
She lives On the island of Maui where they had just bought a piece of land & he [ a contractor when not fishing ] was drawing up the plans to build their dream home.
They were also in the process of adopting a 2 year old girl that was in Bosnia, Chrise's first cousin & they [ parents were both killed by serbs ] .
We both [ Jeannine & I ] had faith that if anyoine could survive, it would be Chris & I really had visions of him walking out of the tundra still alive for months & months.
We hired search planes everyday to fly the area to see if they could spot anything or a body,. but nothing ever showed.
One report was a large bear dragging what could have been a human or dead sealion into the brush bvut nothing was ever found.
I left alot out of this story because for some reason my server kicks me off after about 1/2 if I don't change pages.
Sal
Sal DiMercurio posted 08-18-2006 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Sorry for all the typos but I was typing as fast as I could & couldn't take the time to go back & read what I wrote for fear of being knock off line.
Sal
PeteB88 posted 08-18-2006 03:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
No words. Sorry man.

I hate hip boots extremely dangerous.

Speedo66 posted 08-18-2006 04:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Speedo66  Send Email to Speedo66     
Sal- Very sorry for your loss. Your title is certainly on the money.

Steve

Sal DiMercurio posted 08-18-2006 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Steve, the canvas I bought from you is perfect for my 15.
Thanks,....it is as you said, brand new.
Sal
Binkie posted 08-18-2006 06:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Sal, Oh, man, thats the worst, what can I say, I`m so sorry,

rich

seahorse posted 08-18-2006 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
Sal,

I know how you feel and what it does to you when you lose family like that. You have my sympathies, my friend.

Sheila posted 08-18-2006 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Sal, I am so sorry for your loss... when did this happen?

Wishing you and all your family peace.

DANO posted 08-18-2006 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for DANO  Send Email to DANO     
After spending 7 years in the UCCG as a Boatswains Mate, I know what it's like to see "loss" but nothing ....NOTHING compares to family. the bright side...... lost at sea... the most noble, honorable way to go. not by the hand of a drunk driver or a drive by or any other careless way. at least they were doing something they loved together....

I'm deeply saddened and you have my utmost, and heartfelt condolences Sal... May the good LORD's grace shine upon you and your family ......

DANO...

Sal DiMercurio posted 08-18-2006 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
This happened 10 years ago tomorrow, but the pain stays, you just don't cry as much when you think of it.
Seahorse, your son goes through my head far more than you might realize.
I find it soothing to talk about it.
My daughter is normal again, but it was a long slow haul.
Sal
VI Jamie 22 posted 08-18-2006 08:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for VI Jamie 22  Send Email to VI Jamie 22     
Sal, Sorry for your family's loss. I am a firm believer in living life, not running from it. Your son in law must also have believed that. My thoughts are with your daughter, I hope that she takes the time she needs to get better.
HuronBob posted 08-18-2006 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
Sal,

you and your family will be in my thoughts. In another week it will be 16 years since I lost my oldest son. The pain is always there, but thankfully so are the good memories..

(and... in the future when you don't want to get bumped off line (a common practice for ISP's to get rid of folks that aren't active and have just left a computer on), just open a second browser window and hit a new page every fifteen minutes or so, it tells them you're still active and they don't knock you off line.)

BobL posted 08-18-2006 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for BobL  Send Email to BobL     
Sal,
We all love being on the water otherwise we wouldn’t be on this site. There are dangers and as careful as we are, bad things can happen. Nature can be unforgiving. That was a “tear your heart out” story. My sympathies go to your family. I am glad for Jeannine that time has helped to heal her loss.
BobL
hooter posted 08-18-2006 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
Sal, your story touches me on many levels, tonight. Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury wrote a story Ah've had tucked away in mah mind for some 50 years, now. It's 'bout a colony of people on Mars, all of 'em the corporeal forms of writers that once lived on Earth. Don't 'member how they got to Mars, but the fact they was dead to Earth in a physical sense was well established by the more prominent names in that Martian community, names like those of Messrs. Poe and Hawthorn and Clemens, and Messrs. Dickens and Plato and Julius Caesar. Occasionally one of the crew would disappear from the community never to be seen again. Simply gone forever. And Mr. Bradbury postulated in this story that each disappearance coincided with the destruction on Earth of the last printed copy of a book written by the unfortunate author.

Love writes its own stories on our hearts. And somehow, Ah associate that story of Mr. Bradbury's with the now many ghosts of friends and loved ones that Ah keep alive in this old head. Somethin' like that community of the unearthly, people long dead to this planet, are always speakin' t' me on unexpected nights in dreams of often entertainin' clarity. As though the inside of mah head is not unlike that neighborhood on Mars. And in this way mah old friends live on, the various kinds of loves continue, and problems we may have been unable to resolve in life have been laid at peace, most of 'em. And it's been a rule that even the most brutal specifics that Ah may have witnessed in the time of a friend's passing, those details have grown subordinate to the greater images Ah carry in mah heart of that person's finer self, the things he or she gave to mah person through they ezample and givin'.

May you and your famb'ly continue to grow in peace and consolation, Sal. And may that fine young man, Chris, live on in your hearts' with tender care:-!

Sal DiMercurio posted 08-18-2006 10:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Hooter, I love your thinking my friend, I know exactly where your comin from.
When I'm fishing alone, I'm never alone because Chris is with me & so is my dad & my best friend Patrick that checked out on me out of the blue 3 years ago at 59 years old.
Man we really get into some heavy conversation & if anyone saw me talking to these guys, they would just figure I lost my shooter, but I do feel their presence stronger than I think normal......almost scary.
Thanks for your input, now I know I'm not as nuts as I sometimes think.
Sal
Sheila posted 08-18-2006 11:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
I've been sitting here indulging in a little pity party (rare for me) because I am ill. Tomorrow I was scheduled to attend two baby showers in honor of my daughter and anxiously-awaited grandson, who is due in a month. Then on Sunday I was to join the rest of my family in honor of my mom's 70th birthday. It now appears that if all goes my way, I might be able to attend the evening shower and/or my mom's birthday bash. If all doesn't go my way, I'm to be admitted to the hospital tomorrow after my recheck with the doc.

Reading this thread has given me a much-needed and humbling perspective on the really important stuff.

Sal, you're not nutty. My beloved grandmother passed away suddenly, at age 64, twenty four years ago this Sunday (that's right, she died on her daughter--my mom's--birthday). I talk with her all the time....just don't have the long distance bill that I had when she was still in the flesh.

Royboy posted 08-18-2006 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
Sal, what an amazing, heroic, and touching story of love and courage in the face of a furious sea. It's proundly unfortunate that sometimes the trials of this life are simply too great to overcome during this life. It's for this reason we were made in His image: with an eternal soul. Tears are only for the living, who must endure life the very best we can; There are no tears in Heaven, where comfort is complete. You are in my prayers.

Roy

towboater posted 08-19-2006 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
I cant imagine your Daughtors grief. That she was below deck (I know that when a salt goes below in rough seas, they are either sick or dead tired) and still had the savy to recognize something is wrong, turn around in seas rough enough to toss a man overboard and find him at night is heroic. But Im betting, in her mind that wasnt enough. And for you, her grief is almost like losing two persons.
I know, when you live and work on the water, you dont wear lifejackets...they just get in the way. Im very sorry for Chris, sorry for your daughtors grief.

Maybe you read about the 4 pipe fitter pals who were coming home from a annual Canadian Fishing trip. Two in the pickup cab, two in a camper & pulling a boat. The driver fell asleep, drove off the road and one guy in the camper was killed. These were all great pals. 2000 people attended the funeral in Portland. Paying respect to the deceased was one thing, but NOBODY, not nobody was pointing a finger at the driver, instead, everybody tried thier best to console a man who felt guilty of killing his best friend. This wasnt something planned, it came from everybodies hearts. Tho most of us have never experianced that kind of grief, we can understand. I dont think it is something you should or ever will "get over". But there is no reason you cant become a wiser and more humble...a better person in the course of dealing with your recovery.

Sal, I am a little rushed today also. Im on my way to shuffle a couple of barges...in fact, now Im late. It is a good wakeup call for me...I NEVER EVER wear a vest, today, Im gonna put on my friggin vest on outa respect. No BS. Thanks. God speed in your recovery.

DANO posted 08-19-2006 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for DANO  Send Email to DANO     
Sal,
I hope the day finds you at peace. I sat on my deck this morning thinking of you, your family your tials and tribulations, the frailty of life itself. It is Sunday. His day. A day of rest. A day that I try to put aside all the time to reflect on my accomplishments, my shortcommings, the things I need to be better at. A better husband, a better listener, a better coach, a better father, a better teacher, a better person........... Today, I spent a good hour reflecting on the blessings that have been bestowed upon me by our Father... for it is He who has decided to give me the things in life that I have. He has decided that I am worthy. Whether I feel I am or not. What I choose to do with His gifts is up to me. Until the day I meet Him. Then I will have to own up to all the dumb things I have done in my life. I just comfort myself in knowing that He has a sense of humor. I get the feeling that we are all pretty much in the same boat so to speak. I don't even know you or anyone else in this forum but I feel a kinship with a group of people that mean well and would do for anyonr what was needed at the time because we all think alike when it comes down to it. I guess what I am trying to say is I thought about you, your daughter, your son-in-law, and the circumstances around this day and what it means to you.... and I gave a hearty thanks for what I have and a request for the BIG MAN to give you and yours a feeling of warmth and love on this very special day. Peace be with you Sal...

DANO

whalerdoc posted 08-20-2006 12:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerdoc  Send Email to whalerdoc     
Sal,
It was 52 degrees and raining sideways here in Anchorage today. Termination dust on the peaks, gusts to 60 on the arm.

My heart goes out to you and your daughter.

I grew up in Michigan. A bard from Canada used to sing of the witches of November. Here in Alaska, they come in August.

The next time you are up here, I would be honored to buy you a beverage, if your are so inclined. Please get in touch if so.

WD

The Judge posted 08-21-2006 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
I have been on boats ALL my life....literally. My B-Day is 8/9 and I was in a crib in the back of our 61 Nauset on Labor day weekend under an umbrella. Another words it is in my blood. My parents insisted on me going to college so commercial fishing was never in the works. After watching 3 seasons of "Deadliest Catch" I now know I was never cut out for that type of work(physically) even though the sea calls to me in that fashion. I always wanted to be a captain...I still am on my boats:) Point is when we do things for so long we take stuff for granted...the little stuff. Same goes for marriage and friends. I wrote a post a few months back when my wife's maid of honor died from an anurism @ 39 about how it is NEVER too late to tell someone how you feel. At least your daughter & Chris had that moment when she briefly held him in her arms at sea. Damn...getting weepy here! Anyway the other "little" thing we skip is safety. Now a days with those "little" auto inflatable vests & $300 EPIRBS, accidenst are less fatal if used. When the weather gets rough or you are on deck alone....PLEASE wear a PFD or an EPIRB out there. People like Jeannine & Sal will thank you.

I lost 7 friends and family this year and it is only August, I hope the next 4 months are quiet like the hurricane season so far....God bless you Sal & Jeannine.

Plotman posted 08-21-2006 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Man Sal, I don't even have any words. I hope your daughter has been able to find some peace in this world...

David Livingstone posted 08-21-2006 07:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Livingstone  Send Email to David Livingstone     
Sal, thanks for sharing. I read your post a couple of days ago and didn’t know what to say. Yesterday I wore my PFD over my raingear while out cod fishing - I was still thinking about your post. Today is the first day of my fishing vacation. The wind was east 15-20kts. Might of gotten over the bar in the Montauk but years ago I remember Gramp sitting in the car reading the evening paper while I fished for trout on an east wind. He told be to go ahead but he wasn’t leaving his cup of tea. I can still hear him “when the wind is from the east it is fit for neither man nor beast”.
A few years later I was lobster fishing with Mervin the last year before he retired. The same wind, maybe little more out of the northeast. Mervin and I pulled down to the dock in his old blue Chevy 1/2 ton. He use to keep the boat up the bay at a little dock that offered more shelter than the main wharf. He looked at the wind and said -
“I don’t think that’s worth scuffing up the gear for”. He opened his lunch can and gave me a blue berry muffin. We sat there for the next hour swapping stories and laughs - me mostly listening. I was at Mervin’s funeral a few years later. Sitting there, I couldn’t help but smile remembering all the stories.
Today I left the boat on the trailer because I could still hear the wisdom of Gramp and Mervin and I still smile as I remember the stories.

Sal, thank you again for sharing and helping me think about the fisherman that I miss.

All the best to your and your family.

David

PeteB88 posted 08-22-2006 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
HIP BOOTS - The story has been on my mind since I read it. I mentioned that I hate hip boots which were mentioned in this tragic story. No one knows if Chris would have had a chance if he were not wearing hip boots. Many of us fish so we need to be aware that some gear is not safe.

I just want to say if you own hip boots and use them for fishing throw them away. They might be fine for mucking stalls or cow pastures but they should be banned from the planet for fishing esp around fast moving water.

I recall several drowings over the years with anglers wearing hip boots - and I recall one version of the story about Jim Teeny's (famous flyfisher) dad reportedly had on hip boots when he slipped or stepped into a hole on the Sandy River years ago. They found him hung up on a snag later, spotted him from a helicopter as the story goes.

There are alternatives like neoprene full chest waders which have some floatation - even the new gortex light weight waders should be worn with a belt to keep water out. Nothing wrong with wearing an inflatable vest as well.

I'm going to remind my buddies to be careful off shore esp when running a dozen lines off downriggers for salmon.


My .02, our hearts out to you and yours Sal.

Robob2003 posted 08-22-2006 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Robob2003  Send Email to Robob2003     
Sal,

Words are inadequate.

God bless you and yours.

Bob on Tampa Bay

adaco posted 08-22-2006 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for adaco  Send Email to adaco     
Sal:

What a terrible tragedy.

But what incredible heroism on the part of your daughter. I can only imagine the emotions you must go through over what happened... and what might have happened...both good and bad.

My thoughts are with you.

Barrie

CatBoatSailor posted 08-22-2006 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for CatBoatSailor  Send Email to CatBoatSailor     
Sal, Thanks for sharing.
Jakwolf posted 08-28-2006 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jakwolf  Send Email to Jakwolf     
Sal, you know I hold you and your family dear to me. As usual during the anniversary weekend you were showing me and Jake some spots out of Malf Moon Bay. I know what kind of heart you have, and I'm sure Chris did too. Bless you bud. Randy
Eric Giles posted 09-06-2006 07:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric Giles  Send Email to Eric Giles     
Sal, a lot of people will travel safer after reading that critical event from your life. I read it through a couple of times, then just had to print it out so I'll never lose it. Sal, there's a couple of notice boards I could put it on, where it'll do a lot of good if read by young sailors, our local yacht club for one and our recovery ship for another - can I please do that?
Sal DiMercurio posted 09-06-2006 08:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Absolutly.
Sal

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