After scouring the sea for two days and nights contact was made by following a Russian trawler loaded with flounder on her way back to the main fleet.
Pulling alongside, the Alaskans hailed the Russian with the aid of a bullhorn. Alexander Shadura of Anchorage, the parties interpreter spoke in Russian. He said something like "Take me to your leader."
This consisted of a Mother Ship, rescue tug, cargo ships reefer ships and trawlers, 58 in all a floating city of some 2,500 people. The Mother Ship, Food Industries, a former Lamport & Holt Trans Atlantic liner Vasari, built by Raylton Dixon in 1909 at Middlesbro, England. Read "There's Nobody Here..."
The Commander of the Russian fishing fleet was Paul Alexander Dimedov, welcomed the party aboard. A native of Petropavosok, 54 years of age, and a veteran of 35 years of fishing, he assured us they were only interested in flounder and were not taking salmon, halibut or King crab. The flounder is a fish that the American have never taken from this area. It was the first time any foreigners had been allowed aboard Russian ships operating off the shores of Alaska and they were welcomed as friends and neighbors.
When the ice disappears (in a month or so) the Fleet will move North and west to fish near the Siberian Coast, returning to the Bering Sea the next winter. It was Saturday but they maintain Vladivostok time so it was Sunday; their day of rest and practically the whole fleet was assembled.
Many women are employed as cooks and domestic help on the reefer ships and the Mother ship. I believe some were seen also on the trawlers. As Engineer of the Deep Sea I was entertained by the Chief Engineer of the salvage tug Orel aboard his ship for dinner and also to see a movie.
The Orel ("Golden Eagle") a modern tug only two years old  built in Finland, as a salvage/rescue tug, 1,151 Gross Tons. [Ed Note: Four 1950s-vintage "Orel" class tugs were transferred from the Soviet Ministry Of Fisheries in 1985 to the Cuban navy, numbered R-21, R-23, R-27, and R-29. All are now decommissioned, replaced by three "Promotey" class tugs in 1972.]
After a day's visit with the Russians, on our return to our base at Akutan, we stopped to visit with the Japanese floating crab cannery Tokei Maru. The ship has been on the fishing grounds off Unimak Island and the Alaska Peninsula since April 16th, and will remain there until mid-July. The Tokei Maru is a typical Hog Islander, built as the Schroon in 1919 by the International Shipbuilding Corporation, Hog Island, Pennsylvania.
She had several name changes including Brush, Alcoa Master, Aurora Borealis and finally Tokei Maru for Towa K.K. and in 1955 to the Nippon Suisan K.K (where she was refitted to) a crab cannery. On March 11, 1965, she sank of Luzon Island when a fire broke out on a voyage from Japan to Bangkok and she was later abandoned.
|Several 46-foot "Kawasaki" boats assigned to Mother Ship|
The Japanese use tangle nets, which are made in 200-foot lengths and joined for fishing. The nets are spaced 300 yards apart and may extend for 15 to 20 miles. A grid system is fo1lowed and a tang1e net field may cover hundreds of square miles of ocean.
When we returned to our base in Akutan Harbor our traw1ers reported a clash between the American fishing vessels and those of the Russians, who sent there boats into the area where the American had located a huge run of crab. They covered this area with tangle nets, forcing the Americans to abandon their efforts and move away from the area. Ralph Jones, vice president in charge of operations [Wakefield] was sent to talk to the Soviets in an attempt to work out some ground rules which would eliminate friction in the fishery so all parties could operate without interference.
We set out again from Akutan and the Russian crab Mother Ship was located 24 miles off Cape Leontovitch on the Alaska Peninsula after two days of cruising.
The refusal of the Russian Captain to permit American aboard his vessel was a disappointment for the crew of the Deep Sea recalling the warm reception they got when they visited the flounder fleet and the presence of the tug Orel alongside the crab factory ship and that c1inched the matter an far as they were concerned.
January 5 1960 to May 13 1960
• Jan 5 - Leave Seattle
• Jan 10 - Arrive Port Wakefield
• Jan 15 - Arrive Trap Point. Start processing crab.
• Mar 15 - Leave Trap point for Wide Bay
• Mar 17 - Wide Bay
• Mar 21 - Agrapina Bay
• Mar 22 - Port Wakefield
• Mar 22 - Wide Bay
• Mar 28 - Leave Wide Bay
• Mar 29 - Arrive Port Wakefield
• Mar 31 - Leave Port Wakefield
• Apr 1 - Arrive Kodiak
• Apr 2 - Leave Kodiak
• Apr 3 - Arrive Sand Point
• Apr 5 - Leave Sand Point
• Apr 6 - Arrive Cold Bay
• Apr 7 - Arrive Akutan
• Apr 7 - Leave Akutan for Russian Flounder Fleet Bristol Bay
• Apr 9 - Leave Fleet for Dutch Harbor
• Apr 12 - Dutch Harbor
• Apr 12 - Akutan Russian Crab Fleet Bering Sea
• Apr 24 - Arr Japanese Fishing Fleet
• Apr 26 - Depart Japanese Fleet
• Apr 27 - Dutch Harbor
• May 5 - Leave Akutan for Sand Point, Port Wakefield, Seldovia.
• May 7 - Leave Seldovia.
• May 12 - Bellingham
• May 13 - Seattle.
My Dad got off the Deep Sea and returned to his more familiar working environment. From his sea time notes, it appears he shipped out as Chief Engineer on the Adeline Foss.
Not included in my Dad's narrative is the fact that the Deep Sea located a sixth fishing fleet operating off the Aleutians. The Japanese factory ship, Soyo Maru, operated by Taiyo Gyogyo of Tokyo, Japan.
She was located 30 nm NW of Cape Mordvinof, serving as a factory ship for a fleet of 31 trawlers. They were harvesting sole to be converted into livestock feed.
We connect the dots in our third and final chapter, "Before the Deadliest Catch: One Sunday Morning," coming soon!