Bristol Bay is a place you survive. Many people don't. They are taken by the swift moving tides, frigid waters, weather, wildlife, or unsavory characters.
There are more returning sockeye (red) salmon to Bristol Bay than any other part of the world. The area goes from a few hundred people to thousands for one month a year as everyone tries to catch their fortunes in a very limited area and time span. It's rugged, untamed, and deadly.
Here is the actual picture of our family drift boat that I patterned Sonya's after. I even kept the name as she is fishing two types of gear like we do.
The following pictures are of the Naknek River and her drift fleet. As luck would have it all these pictures were taken on a fairly nice day, which is few and far between. You can see how close the fishermen and their gear are and how this creates a very dangerous situation.
Here is how Garrett describes his surroundings, once Sonya travels out of his sights and he can focus on his something besides her.
Now there was a woman. Full mouth, full breasts, full hips. The trifecta. He’d never been able to resist that sexy combination. She must have sensed his scrutiny for she glanced back over her shoulder. He smiled. She frowned. He smiled wider. This summer was showing some promise.
Sonya sidled up to her four-wheeler, and Peter jumped on behind her. Nikolai had commandeered the other ATV for him and his wife. In a cloud of dust, they took off rumbling down the dirt road.
Garrett was definitely showing up for dinner.
Waiting for his own ride to manifest, he took a moment to look around. South Naknek didn’t have the postcard beauty of the Kenai Peninsula that he’d flown out of that morning, but it had a rough and ready appeal. An appeal that fit his mood as of late. He could use some getting back to nature and there wasn’t anything but nature at present. He’d spent too much time indoors, riding a desk, and needed some space around him. Nothing but space here. The only building next to the dirt-packed runway was a six-by-eight shack with a broken window and a doorway with no door. Someone with a sense of humor had painted a sign on the shed that read, “South Naknek International Airport.”
There wasn’t a tree to block the wind or the view. Bright green tundra with the bloom of summer ended in silt cliffs that broke the ocean as she tumbled her destructive way to shore. Industry dotted the coastline in the form of canneries to help process the catch of the “Red Salmon Capital of the World.”
1. Katmai National Park, with the largest gathering of brown bears in the world, is just fifty miles up river of South Naknek. As a result, we have a LOT of bears to deal with every summer. They're after catching fish too.
2. Many of the Deadliest Catch boats tender fish for us during the season. To name a few, the Northwestern, Cornia Marie, Kodiak, Marverk, and my favorite, the Time Bandit. I have met Andy and Jonathan Hillstrand, and have sailed aboard the Time Bandit during a hell of a storm where I spent most of it throwing up. I gave the Time Bandit a little cameo in HOOKED.
3. The Pebble Mine--with the largest known gold deposits in the world--is located between two major river systems that flow into Bristol Bay (the Kvichak and Nushagak) and threatens the watershed of the last wild fishery in the world. You might want to take a minute and click on the link to see the potential damage this mine could do to the fragile eco-system of Bristol Bay.
Remember to comment to be entered to win one of three digital copies of HOOKED on release day.