Meet the crew,

the bird, and

the boat


It's all in the family, because we're too cheap to pay someone else to do it.
The Bird Who Rules Us All

The Captain

The Navigator

The Deck Boss

The Boat That Keeps Us Afloat

On A Completely Unrelated Note

This bunk was my own private space on the Royal Pacific when I was a teenager. When this photo was taken, I had just upgraded my bunk by adding a shelf at my feet — it felt pretty uptown!
Harvey, Stephanie and the Fat Cat in the late '60s. Judy had asked for a "putt-ing-around-the-lake boat", inadvertently kick-starting Harvey's career as a commercial salmon fisherman. If you've gone to all the trouble to build the boat, you have to find out how many fish it holds. Right?
The Boat That Keeps Us Afloat
Our boat is the EZ-1, a big red steel boat out of Ilwaco, Washington. The EZ-1 has taken us from Alaska to almost across the International Date Line while albacore fishing. It was only 30 miles to the dateline but Harvey turned left to follow the fish — much to my disgust, as I really wanted to cross that line. The stats: 60’ feet long by 20’ feet wide, with the wheelhouse on top. The fish are caught on the back deck and then transferred up to the front deck where the referigeration unit sits.
Harvey and his son-in-law Mike built the EZ-1 about 10 years ago. It was hard, hard work up in a cold cavernous shed in Blaine, Washington. Mike, who until he married me had been a computer technician in Silicon Valley, wore himself out trying to keep up with Dad. Our first trip on the EZ-1 was up to the Valdez oil spill — and what a story that was.
On a completely unrelated note
The Wild Pacific logo comes from something that happened 25+ years ago. Dad was fishing salmon off the northern California coast on the 42 ft Miss Judith (the boat he built after the Fat Cat). He and his friend knew that the weather was coming up, but they decided to try to fish just a little bit longer. In the morning the waves were so high and steep that dad’s running partner could see the sky and sun underneath the hull of Dad’s boat when it topped a swell. He clicked a picture (since lost, alas) of the sun shining under the Miss Judith. I asked Dad a couple of years ago what he was doing out in weather like that. “Being stupid,” he replied. But to me the image still brings to mind the freedom and the wildness of the Pacific Ocean and the adventure of making a living off it.
The Navigator
One time, while sitting on the back deck Judy turned her head to watch the water over the railing. Just then, a massive eye slowly lifted out of the water. The eye, attached to a massive whale she later identified as a Sperm Whale, stared at her for a moment. Then the head submerged, only to come up again a little farther from the boat - this time the whole head came out. The whale watched her watching it for a few minutes, as if it was trying to make out what in the world she was. Then it quietly sank again. It was like an alien encounter.

Judy never set out to be part of the fishing industry — she thought a nice government job in some warm weather town would be nice. But once it was clear that Harvey wasn't the office sort, she joined in.

About 10 years ago we were frustrated with the albacore markets — we had to rely on big canneries to buy our fish, but these canneries much prefered buying cheaper long-line albacore when they could. It was Judy who first said, “We can do it ourselves.”

So, navigator as always, she wrote in her calendar: Start cannery.

The Deck Boss
Stephanie Cosky Hopkinson is a fisherman’s daughter living on dry land. She is a writer, past marketing and research professional, and lover of animals. Any time you come across the personal pronoun ‘I’, that’d be me. I caught my first fish when I was 3, a small salmon in a little ‘pond’ next to the Sacramento River. We tossed the fish back, but I was hooked. I have to admit to taking the ‘Captain’s Daughter’ route to fishing – when it got really cold and windy and nasty outside, I’d go cook dinner while my brother or husband had to stay outside and work. Sexist? Yep. But when the choice is between sliding around on a wet deck and sorting through fish or making mac and cheese in the warm cabin … I’ll take the cabin.

I take care of the company while the folks are at sea - phone calls, orders, that sort of thing. I also do most of the writing, website stuff, and design.

The Bird Who Rules Us All
Koko is my folk’s African Grey parrot. Koko has been fishing since before he had real feathers. He’s a real talker, keeping us up on events like “It’s raining outside” and “Where’s Harvey?”. When he wants Harvey or Judy in a hurry he makes the ‘emergency engine room alarm’ beep. They always come running to that one!

This bird has it good. He has a big cage in the main cabin that has a clear view of the albacore fishing action, a smaller wheelhouse cage for those long night watches, and a sunbathing cage on the upper back deck. Best of all, he has 24-hour companionship with his humans.

While ashore, it's not uncommon for people drop by the boat to visit Koko and have a cup of coffee while watching him play with his own mug on the table.

The Captain
Harvey Cosky comes by fishing naturally. His great-great-grandfather was a salmon fisherman on the Columbia River in the late 1800’s, until his untimely demise at the hands of a rival fisherman during a salmon strike. Harvey was 13 years old when he built his first ‘boat’ on the banks of the Columbia River in Astoria, Ore. and put to sea. This first trip was cut short when a passing Coast Guard boat stopped and the Captain insisted on picking Harvey off the sandbar, leaving his boat behind. “I didn’t need any help,” Harvey says. “I was just waiting for the rising tide.”

Harvey does all the boat stuff, making sure they get out and back safely. Like all fishermen, he has a wide range of skills in everything from engine work to refrigeration. When ashore, he takes care of getting the albacore canned and orders out the door.