Gone Fishing

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.

mush sleeping on float

Me hard at work!

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 tale story…

Start with the first diary entry, or use the Table of Contents below to view different sections.

gone fishin

Table of Contents

Diary:

Image Gallery

Map

Glossary of Terms Used

Crew Listing

The Faxes

Pay Stubs

Thoughts 2 Decades Later (November 2017)

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