Letter: I’m Staying Busy, But What More Can I Do To Get Through the Fishing Season?
My name is Krystyna, and I am brand new to dating a commercial fisherman. This is my first trip. Honestly, I’m struggling. I’m trying to find ways to cope and stay strong such as having a countdown calendar and sending him text messages a couple of times a day(even though he’s completely out of reach of service). Something that we agreed on was that, even though we are miles apart, we would watch the sunset together every day, and while we do that, I try to get to the water because it helps me feel closer to him. I’m trying to stay as busy as I can. I don’t really have anyone to talk to that understands what I’m going through.
This is a 9-day trip with seven days completely out of phone service. The captain doesn’t believe in phone calls home; the sat phone is strictly for emergencies. I have an app on my phone so that I can see his boat, and it will also notify me if a distress call is made from the beacon. My question is, what else can I do to help me get through this trip and the following trips?
Fishing Season First-Timer
Thank you so much for your thoughtful question and patience as I took the time to find an answer of the same weight.
First, your budding romance – the love, the longing – is what so many good love stories are made of. It’s the poetry of our lifestyle, the ebb and flow as seasons progress, no matter how long, or short the separations may be. I’m sure many Partners of Commercial Fishermen nod to your letter because they’ve been there or stand where you are now.
…which is one of our biggest challenges – finding a flow when everything is swirling around you. Even the most independent POCFs can get sucked into the emotional whirl and forget their footing, but there are ways out.
The first thing that came to mind was the sunset idea is super romantic, but after a while, it begins to hold you back from settling into your incredibly special and unique life on land as a Partner of a Commercial Fisherman.
As POCFs, we are forced to cut the chord a bit more than other relationships, and the silver lining is that we can cultivate a rich, independent life that fulfills us as women. My favorite advice from my mom is, “Learning to be by yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself.” Being a POCF means we’re on the fast track, which is a good thing.
Speaking of track, I don’t have a tracker for Chris, but I’ve noticed in our community that being super aware of location is helpful for some yet heightens anxiety for others. I can understand how nice it must be to see their location if you haven’t heard from them in a few days. But many of us have found that sending a prayer/vibe/energy into the ether and trusting their skills to fish safely is good enough. There are no wrong answers. What brings the most peace to your heart is right for you.
If you wanted more connection, y’all could invest (or ask Santa or a generous relative) for a satellite phone that he could use to text you. But even then, it builds the expectation of regular communication, which leads to disappointment because commercial fishing does not lend to that. Work, eat, sleep, repeat is the game. Fishermen are so worked that keeping up with messages can also be one more load to carry, too. Multiply that if they fish in a different time zone, too.
Food for thought: If you like the connection of sharing a sunset with your partner but feel rushed or guilty if you can or can’t make it, set a timer on your phone to the sunset where he is. The little ring or vibration will remind you that your love is thinking of you, too.
The most important way to get out of a rut is more than staying busy. It’s going deeper to find a passion that reflects your purpose in life and what truly lights you up that is separate from your friends, family, and/or partner.
What does that look like? It’s different for everyone and can change (and that’s ok!). Think of a hobby or project that you love and can return to again and again when your partner is away, home because of bad weather, or when you need time to yourself.
Here’s a list of activities POCFs do when their partners are away:
Team sports (Check for local adult sports leagues)
Hanging out with friends
Sharpening up cooking skills
I hope I’m not unloading too much, but it seems you’re ready for the goods. Please keep me posted on your exciting new chapter in life. I wish you both a safe and bountiful season. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions. Thank you for being here, FSFT! and I send you a big hug from Ojai, California!
Can you relate or have suggestions, please share in the comments below!
If you liked this, you’d love Letter: “How Do I Handle My Emotions When My Fisherman is Away?”