Growing up in Alaska, it never occurred to me to hunt fish from their side of the surface.
I'm a huge fan of breathing, and being underwater has ruined the experience for me every time. So, when Tamasese expressed an interest in spearfishing in the cold north Pacific I immediately volunteered to be the designated driver.
I pondered offering my services as a dive buoy, but in the end we decided that I would be most useful on-shore where the risk of drowning myself and others would be minimized.
Before I met Tamasese, I didn't know anyone that could dive 90 feet straight down into the ocean on one breath and come up minutes later with a smile and a fish. He once went on vacation and ended up saving a local diver from drowning.
Like Hughey, he's a person you want along on any sort of outdoor adventure because along with being great company, he increases everyones odds of survival.
I pondered his chances of success as we walked down to the water, stepping over half consumed salmon carcasses left by bears. He was at quite a disadvantage, diving in cold unfamiliar water in an untested wetsuit with no dive buddy and targeting a fish species he'd never pursued before.
Tamasese waded out, leaving Powell and myself at the water's edge, and silently disappeared into the gray Pacific. I turned to Powell to explain why the circumstances made it unlikely that he would shoot a fish-when he surfaced with a fish. I was thankful that I'd kept my comments to myself. Minutes later, another fish.
I'm convinced Tamasese could harvest an entire run of salmon singlehanded.
Luckily for the fish, his wetsuit tore from armpit to neck- flooding his suit with icy water. Hypothermia was a distinct possibility. There was some debate over whether we could continue, but Powell and I had already finished the snacks.
We determined that these factors together presented too great a risk, and called it a day.
Read Part 3 (which contains the salmon recipe)