This is our third year fishing as a family of three and my oh my, have we come a long way! From carriers to barricades to bikes. At two and a bit, Rex is now running around on deck with his bike and having a go at steering the boat. Dad’s teaching him the ins and out of the boat, starting with time in the engine room to lessons behind the wheel. I can only imagine what this kid will be doing at five or six!
Burning off toddler energy in the confinement of a 50-foot fishing boat comes with its challenges, especially when you’re up against lumpy seas and strong winds. On land, Rex is used to running around outside all day so it’s a big adjustment for him to be contained in such a small area, but we made the best of it and found ways to play and have fun.
Anchorage days were a blessing, with freedom to roam: bikes on deck, bikes on beach, bikes on boardwalks. I’m pretty sure Rex may have been the first 2-year-old to ride a bike on the beaches of the Klaskino Inlet, where we explored the tide pools and built a beach fire. We all took turns coaxing flames out of recycled paper and wet wood. In the end, it was a success. Rex held his first starfish and, with a little bit of searching, we found some less wet wood that made our fire burn brightly.
Most days, Rex and I managed to get on our rain gear and go visit Dad and Maximus in the stern, a place where Rex watched with fascination as fish were landed on deck. At first, I’m not quite sure he knew that they were destined for the freezer! Initially, he commented that the fish were “sleeping.” I don’t think it took too long for him to realize that there was more to their naps… such as sharp knives, scrapers, and scrub brushes. He’s not old enough to handle a knife, but who were we to stop him from picking up the scrub brush and scrubbing one of the fish lying on deck? Were we seeing the beginnings of a deckhand in the making?
All in all, it was a successful trip. Rex had fun, I survived the rough weather, Bruce got to see his little boy thrive on the boat, and Maximus was entertained by Rex’s smiles and curiosity. We were able to successfully work together as a fishing family on board with a toddler. Each year, it gets a little easier. This year, it was scrubbing a fish… next year Rex could have his own bonker and bleeding station in the stern. It won’t be long before he holds the title of “cheeky” little boy!