A few days after we got back from camping at Denali we took our annual pilgrimage to Kenai to go dipnetting for salmon. It's always a bit comical the way we pack up our little car for dipnetting, and this year even more so because now we have 3 kids. But we've been enough times now that we've got our system pretty well figured out, even with a baby.
As an added bonus this year, our friend Sarah came down with her two girls and camped with us, even though she wasn't fishing. It was immensely helpful to have some one else to help out around the camp and for the girls to have friends to play with. We've also been lucky in that we've always had nice weather when we've gone dipnetting.
When we got there we watched all the other fishers and saw that no one was really catching, we set up camp and had a leisurely dinner.
The tides were much higher this time than the past times we've been. While we were eating dinner the tide came right up to the front of the tents. We were on the very back of the beach so we were fine, but the waves came just a few feet from some of the tents in front of us.
Later on, the run picked up a bit and I started catching. Sometimes we get lucky and catch two in the net at the same time.
After being pretty slow most of the day, it picked up quite a bit in the last hour before closing time. I caught almost all of these just in the last 45 minutes before 11pm, when everyone is required to be out of the water, which is when this picture was taken.
We caught another 9 the next day for 18 overall. The fish weren't running as fast this time as we've seen a few times in years past (certainly not like last year when we hit the peak day and we fished for less than 2 hours and caught 26), so we did pretty well considering. A lot of people we talked to who went the same weekend only caught 2 or 3 so we were feeling pretty good about our 18.
After we get back from fishing, it takes another full day to get the fish filleted and packed. There's a lot of slime on the skin of the fish, and lot of people don't bother scrubbing the slime off, but if you don't, the salmon will start to taste really fishy after being in the freezer for a few months. We're careful to get the slime off, and as a result, our salmon never tastes fishy, but it does take quite a lot of scrubbing to get the slime off. Well, Marel had the idea to try some potato peeling gloves, the kind we've seen on infomercials, but she wasn't sure where to get them. We checked Bed Bath and Beyond, which we thought was the sure bet for something like this, and they had never heard of them. I thought I remembered seeing something like this at New Sagaya, one of the Asian markets. So I checked there and, sure enough, they had them--straight out of Japan. Marel was pretty proud of herself for thinking like the Japanese when she saw the picture showing how to scrub a fish with the glove. And, in fact, it was significantly faster using this than the standard kitchen scrubber, so it was well worth the $3.99 we spent on it.
These last few pictures have nothing to do with dipnetting, but they don't really have a post they belong to, so I'll put them here.
One day Celia discovered that she could put her bike over the puddle in our driveway in such a way that it rested on the training wheels, but the back wheel could spin freely. They had fun for a little while making a little fountain, but before too long I think their backs got wet and they stopped.
We had quite a lot in our garden this year. We planted tomatoes in our window early in the spring, with the intent to move them outside once it got warm enough, but I guess we weren't really paying attention, because before we knew it, they were too big to move (growth happens fast with the nearly 24-hour sun. Like we said, we're proud of giant vegetables up here). The one in the middle had a vine that went all the up to the ceiling, back down, and then back up again. We also had a good crop in the boxes on our porch, and we even took over one of the communal beds along the fence (not pictured) since no one else was doing anything with them. Overall we had a beautiful Alaska summer.