Day in the life of a roe processor in Naknek

Before we’re off to the hatchery we wanted to write about a day in the life of a roe processor and then when we are on Esther Island we can tell you about a day in the life of a Fish Tech.

Wake up at 6:30, super sore, feet swollen and ready for a new day! Eventually role out of your cot and start putting on the first of many layers, liner socks, socks, leggings, pants, rubber rain boots, 3 shirts and a fleece. Look everywhere for your meal card, find it among-st all the dirty laundry and put in around your neck. By this time it’s almost 7, breakfast time! Lock your door from the outside with your combination lock and head outside of your bunkhouse and down the stairs to “the board”. The board is the source of all information, including the start time for the “egg house”, 8:00 this morning.

Make your way over to the mess hall to find salty eggs, tasteless hash browns, bacon (which is actually really good) fruit salad and you can only hope to be early enough for yogurt! Make yourself a “Naknek mocha” (hot chocolate and coffee). Scraf down breakfast, so you can be sure to clock in at least 15 minutes early,and it’s off the egg house! Down the massive stairs, through the can loft, clock in and continue on through the break room, down the stairs past the warehouse, past the stockroom finally reaching the egg house gear room. Kick on your bibs, put on your sleeves, gloves, face mask and hair net and your ready for action.

For the next 18 hours or so you try to occupy your mind by thinking about every possible subject you’ve never pondered before, waiting for the honk of Joe, the forklift driver. When Joe honks, it means he is bringing the last box of eggs and we only have about another hour of work and then clean-up. Your day is only broken up by mug-ups, the shortest 15 minutes of your life and once you get your gear off and are in the break room, it really turns out to be 10 minutes of your life. Make another Naknek mocha, take some ibuprofen and grab a doughnut, or two, or three. Ask everybody how they’re holding up, then the bell rings and it’s back to work! 12:00, 5:00 and 12:00pm are mealtimes, but your not always positive what meal they are, they all blend together.

Joe honks! Two hours later, you clock out and make your way back to the bunkhouse! Now your day can start, a new burst of energy and you deserve to go down to the bonfire. Put some real shoes on and make your way either down a huge slippery hill of rocks (the shortcut), or across a log over rocks. You make your way down the beach to the bonfire. Listen to some camp fire songs, watch some drunk people try and carry more pallets to the fire, listen to Kevin give you life advice, have some Ukrainians try teach you bad words in Ukrainian and pretty soon, you realize that it’s three in the morning! Back to the bunkhouse to do it all again the next day!

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