Letter: “Advice for the First Season Apart?”

I love hearing from y’all and giving the best advice I can, and this email is no exception. It’s been a while since I posted an exchange between a fellow POCF, and this reader (who will remain anonymous) speaks of concerns every newbie partner of a commercial fisherman has experienced one time or another. Plus, it’s *loaded* with links to the best advice I’ve got to survive your first season. She even shares a Crab Wonton recipe. 🙃  Just a couple of gals trying to survive the POCF lifestyle… Ready to get personal? Let’s dive in!

Hi, Megan.

Really happy I came across your material. I’m not sure how I came across your Instagram, but I’m really grateful I did. I met my partner this year, and he’s left a few months earlier this year, but he just left for the crab season this morning.
It’s our first year together, and we spent the holidays with his family (his dad is also a commercial fisherman with a sweet, intelligent mom and family who know the routine so well). I couldn’t be happier, but also my heart hurts more than ever right now. Thank you for making sense of the first year being the hardest, and it will get better. I have plans to be super busy and have great support, but maybe you could offer any advice…if you have the time!
I’m also a writer, spent a lot of time with blogs and marketing, and coming across yours was awesome. Forums are cool, but I love that you spend the time to make it inspiring.
Thanks! X

Hi, X!

I am so totally flattered and honored to have brought you some relief as you navigate the waters of dating a fisherman. I am all yours, so please let me know what questions you have, and I’ll answer them as best I can.

But it sounds like you’re off to a great start! The fact that you’re a writer (heck yeah, It’s like we’re family!) is such a supportive way to keep your mind focused. And it sounds like you have other plans to stay busy and a support system, so it looks like you are in good shape! Mentally and emotionally, I understand it will be tough. Even though Chris and I are five years into our relationship, it still stings when he takes off – even for one overnight! I understand the long-distance dating/worrying that comes with seasonal work as well. I ride the rollercoaster every summer when he ships off to Alaska to fish for salmon. Girl, I get you!

There’s also a private FB group I’d love for you to join. We have over 70 other partners of commercial fishermen in there, and it’s a sweet little support group that’s always live. We’d love to have you! 

So, yes. Absolutely! Please let me know what specific questions you have, and I look forward to learning how I can best assist you. Thank you so much for reaching out! I am so glad we’ve connected. 🙂 

Dear Megan,

Ahh yeah, “the sting” would be a great word to describe it. I’m worried about him too. He’s been doing this work since he was a kid— I’m not so much worried about his safety or work conditions, it’s just pretty hard to deny all the emotions of a perfect relationship just disappearing, and I’m his first real girlfriend willing to do this…I was so mad this morning wishing I had more of a warning that he would lose service, but IDK, I guess it doesn’t make much of a difference.
His birthday is in a couple of days, though, and I’m hoping to come up with something. Any thoughts or ideas you’ve come up with before?
Another random question, but food is my heart; mind sharing a recipe you go to when you’re feeling blue?
Thanks for listening 🙂

Dear X,

I see that you joined our private FB group! Yay! So happy to have you!
I remember when Chris said he wouldn’t have service, and I was like…Wut? I’d be bummed if I randomly found out, too, but isn’t that the way? Sometimes our partners think we get it, and I don’t know how many times I’ve reiterated to Chris that this is new to me! I don’t understand! It gets better. Just make notes on what you’d like to communicate with him when he returns.

As for his bday, the best way to connect with your man is through a care package! I usually send about 2-3, depending on how long the season. This post will show you the best ways to send a care package to a fisherman. Also, here’s a collection of other blogs that may help! When you reach the bottom of the page, choose “VIEW MORE,” and more will pop up!

I know you’re feeling kind of down that he’s gone, but it will soon be something you, dare I say, look forward to. This kind of relationship is perfect for independent women, which sounds like you are! 

Food is such a great question, though I am SO not a cook. When Chris was gone during the first part of the pandemic, I relied on frozen pizza and quesadillas. I know, I know. But you bring up a great idea. Maybe I should look up “recipes for one” that are creative and yummy. Speaking of, what’s your go-to meal?

Hey Megan!

Thanks so much for all your info; I might repeat it in the future too. Being a writer, I think SO much, and it’s nice to go back to concrete thought. So, it turns out he did have service! He was just sleeping all day—kind of my fault for not doing my independent part and getting away from the worries.

It always takes him a bit to get back, but when he does— it’s like, Okay. Overthinking much? Haha! Even though he’s not here, he still impresses me with how patient, realistic and kind he is.
He can also get photos, so a couple of cute outfits, and I think I made his birthday work out virtually. 🙂 As far as food— my guy loves the simple stuff without much spice. It’s a great balance to me overdoing it, kind of like real life, but the go-to fave is crab wontons:

Wonton papers
Egg for egg wash
Cream cheese/sour cream/green onions for filling
*fresh crab for filling or omit (lol!)
Veggie oil for frying

The folding process has a little technique, so they don’t burst, and it’s kind of meditative, to be honest, and they fry up so quick! I can send ya a video if you’re interested 🙂
I’m not sure how to make duck sauce for dipping, and I totally cheat and just pick some up at the Chinese restaurant nearby, or I usually have some from leftovers.

Is Chris on a job, or do you have some downtime together? Oh, and I forgot to ask, are you East or West coast? Talk soon. Thanks, Megan!

Hey, X!

So glad that he has service! If anything, now you know what to expect in the future if he doesn’t! I definitely get overthinking, especially in the beginning part of a relationship. We’re writers. We’re wired that way. Great idea to send photos, and I *know* he loved seeing your face while out on the cold water!

Chris is fishing lobster out of Channel Island Harbor, slightly south of our current home base of Carpinteria, California. I am an East Coast girl at heart (from Charleston, SC), and we’ve always wanted to do the bicoastal thing, so this may be the first year we do it!

It’s been so nice “talking” with you! Thanks so much for reaching out, and I’m always here if you need me!🐟

If you like this, you’d love How-To Long Distance Date a Commercial Fisherman.

Do you have any questions or concerns about the commercial fishing life or just want to connect? Please share in the comments below or email me at meganwaldrep@icloud.com. I’d love to chat with you!

(Feature image photo by Tim B. Motivv)

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