From Harbor to Home - Spring Postcard from Cordova
For the fishing families in the community of Cordova springtime comes with the anticipation of long working days aboard the vessels that fill our small boat harbor.
Everyone shares in the excitement of anticipating the rewards of our summer labor, not the least of which is fresh wild salmon on the table. Before the commercial fishing season begins however, there is still some maintenance that must be done in the harbor and at home.
Sabin and Casey Landaluce are one of the 540 families who gillnet each summer in Prince William Sound and on the Copper River Flats. Back at the Landaluce home, preparations for the fishing season take the form of spring cleaning, namely sorting out the freezer and discovering the remnants of last year’s subsistence harvests whether it be berries, game, or fish.
Like most Alaskans, the people of Cordova have their own creative ways to prepare frozen goods from the previous year, homemade favorites that will be shared with friends and neighbors at small potlucks around town throughout spring.
The life of a commercial fisherman demands efficiency and the Landaluce family incorporates this spirit into everything they do. Casey’s go-to freezer recipe for Miso Udon With Salmon Meatballs artfully utilizes the whole fish to build a hearty and aromatic broth, perfect for those days when the anticipated warmth of summer has not yet taken hold. Like many things, including work and joy, this warming meal is best when shared with others.
The Landaluce family spends the spring months preparing for a busy salmon season. Sabin wraps up any pre-season boat maintenance on the F/V Clean Sweep, their 32 foot bowpicker, as Casey continues the never-ending hand work of mending gillnets. Gregorio, their young son, is Casey’s constant companion and joins her at the net loft where he plays or naps while she ties the knots to build the net that will catch a year’s worth of salmon.
Letting a little one tag along during pre-season work may sound exhausting but for Casey, seeing her son grow up around the salmon fishery that supports their family is a source of gracious energy. “I’m thankful to do something I love with him by my side.” She says about the long days mending in the loft.
Net mending, like motherhood, is a practice in the art of patience and intention as well as the understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.