As a young man frustrated by college studies he signed up for the Navy, left the hills of East Tennessee and headed out to sea. Some of my favorite photographs of my father are from his Navy days- many years before I was born. They show a much younger man- exploring new places, showing off a new tattoo, fishing from the aft end of a Naval destroyer, swimming in the deep water while anchored in the middle of the Atlantic. His Navy days were something of a carefree life- full of adventure, a BSA 650 Lightning motorcycle, Mediterrean ports and my Mom if the picture albums do an adequate job of storytelling.
As a child, family vacations frequently took place near the ocean- Virginia Beach, Kure' Beach, Hilton Head, Destin, Hawaii, Puerto Valerta. If a vacation didn't involve the sea as far as my Dad was concerned- it was a waste of time. He frequently took deep sea fishing trips with coworkers and later as a company owner sponsored many fishing charters for his employees despite being located hours from the ocean. I also remember one rather humorous adventure that nearly involved my family relocating to Florida- I was only spared that horror by unusually low local wages and a monstrous hurricane that had my Mom packed in the car with my sister and I and a statement that it was leaving in five minutes whether he was in it or not!
So to honor my Dad's love of the sea and adventure, I've decided that on the anniversary of his passing I would mark the occasion by travelling to Valdez, where several companions and I have arranged to pursue some of the most exciting big game fishing Alaska has to offer- the Salmon Shark. By the time this is posted, we will have boarded the Swifty and will be venturing out into Prince William Sound after these wonderful creatures. I think my father would approve.
Photo from Wikipedia Commons
Wish us luck- story and photos to (hopefully) follow!