WORKING ON THE EDGE by Spike Walker

WORKING ON THE EDGE

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Gripping, true-adventure account of crewing on deep-sea Alaskan fishing boats. In 1978, Walker arrived in Kodiak, Alaska, with $20, one skipper's name, and a determination to hook a berth on a crab boat. That year saw an unprecedented increase in the numbers of king crab on the continental shelf, boats fishing them, and prices paid at the canneries. Working on shares, a skilled deckhand could easily make $60,000 in one seven-week season. Walker, whose last job was as a lumberjack, discovered on his greenhorn cruise 80-mile-an-hour winds, 20-hour stints of pulling 450-lb. crab pots, and the right way to knot and coil rope, taught to him by Suzey, a 20-year-old fireball who gave quarter to no fisherman. As Walker became saltier and the fishing intensified, he crewed on boats that made up to $213,000 in one day. Ship capsizings, men washed overboard, collisions in fog banks, sailors swimming to barren islands in 39- degree water, and dangerous Kodiak bears are the stuff of this modern-day gold rush. Equally interesting are Walker's tales of nights ashore in the boomtowns: ten-foot lines of cocaine on the bars, $174 rounds on the house repeated 16 times, and, from old tars, yarns of fortune, disaster, and death. Skillfully written and intelligently observed with all the muscle, beauty, and energy of a 145-foot Alaskan fishing boat making way through the treacherous waters of Shelikof Strait, hard by the 8000-foot passes in the Aleutian mountains. (Sixteen pages of b & w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: June 21st, 1991
ISBN: 0-312-06002-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991




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