Thursday, June 5, 2014

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea" – Isak Dinesen

Fly like an eagle
In a little over a month from now our "team" will be back on the rough waters off Alaska, fishing for the 11th or 12th year (I can't remember for sure) for those beautiful King, Coho and if necessary, occasional Pink salmon. Every year as I fill out the required papers and my fishing license application, literally signing my life away, I always have second thoughts before I sign my name to the release of liability form. There is one paragraph in particular that makes me swallow hard, and causes me to reconsider if the salmon, halibut, bear, eagles and whale sightings would be worth my life. Here is how that paragraph reads:

Trip Activities & Risks: As part of your Trip you will travel by small plane to and from the resort. You will use steep ramps, cross what are often wet slippery docks; load and unload yourself and gear onto and from small planes and boats; fish in what can be rough water; and come within close proximity to wild animals. You may also choose to hike on the trails near the resort. These activities and those not specifically stated entail risks including, but not limited to: slipping and falling; water hazards; drowning; exhaustion; hypothermia; prolonged exposure to cold water; boating and/or navigational hazards; cold, heat, sun, snow, rain, fog and wind; guide misjudgment; negative reaction from air or waterborne bacteria or virus. In the event of an accident, there could be prolonged delay in obtaining medical assistance. Due to the remote areas in which the resort operates, evacuation to medical facilities could take 24 hours or longer. We could also experience communication failures and breakdowns or faulty equipment. Please understand that the description of activities and risks is not intended to be a complete listing of all possible activities and risks, and we ask you to acknowledge that the Trip may include other risks that could result in property loss or damage, physical or emotional injury, or death.

Death? Did they say death? I know they legally have to cover their ass, so listed are the remotest of possibilities. But if you are a somewhat paranoid like me, you must admit, they are possibilities! Yes, yes, I know that driving my car is much more dangerous or drinking the local tap water, but still, when you see it in writing it just does a little number to your nervous system.

But still, there is something about being out there, on that open ocean that makes you want to come back for more, risk it year after year.  It is truly a cleansing experience, a baptism of sorts. So, with only a moment's hesitation, I take a deep breath, exhale and grab my pen.

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