How many people can say they did a cannonball off the stern of a purse seiner while in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere around the equator?
I can. I did. Back in my ‘wild and crazy’ days. 😂
This is a 20 year old story of my 7 weeks at sea where I was the helicopter mechanic on a tuna boat operated by Carribean Fishing Company (owned by StarKist). The year was 1997 and I was a mere 25 years old. This was before I was married, though I was dating my future wife and we got married the same year.
I took a leave of absence from the helicopter factory where I was working as a quality assurance inspector, so I could get field experience as a helicopter mechanic on a 225 foot long fishing vessel. The ship was based out of American Samoa in the South Pacific. To get to the ship I flew from LAX (I was living in the LA area at the time) to Honolulu to American Samoa. Made for a long-ass day!
The helicopter I worked on was made at the factory I was currently employed. This model helicopter was one that I started working on when I was still in aircraft mechanic school a few years prior, so it was definitely a machine I was very familiar with.
The helicopter pilot I worked with, Jean, was someone I knew pretty well (small world and all). I had worked with him at a flight school at my job prior to working at Robinson Helicopter. We got along great at the flight school so it was a true pleasure to be working with him again, half a world away.
This is the diary of my experience that I handwrote in a spiral bound notebook while I was on the ship. When I returned home to Southern California, I typed it up on my computer and saved it for the future. There it sat since the late 90’s. I knew someday I’d have a platform to publish my story.
I have that platform now, so here is my fishing
Start with the first diary entry, or use the Table of Contents below to view different sections.
Table of Contents
- 20 July 1997 – Part I
- 20 July 1997 – Part II
- 21 July 1997 – Part I
- 21 July 1997 – Part II
- 22 July 1997 – Part I
- 22 July 1997 – Part II
- 23 July 1997
- 27 July 1997
- 31 July 1997
- 3 August 1997
- 7 August 1997
- 9 August 1997
- 14 August 1997
- 16 August 1997
- 18 August 1997
- 27 August 1997 – Part I
- 27 August 1997 – Part II
- 30 August 1997
- 4 September 1997
- Thoughts 2 Decades Later (November 2017)