Two Boats. A Story by Jenny Gore Dwyer of Deadliest Catch

“Two Boats” Guest Post by POCF Jenny Gore Dwyer

Intro by Megan Waldrep

I read this story with tears in my eyes, so get ready for a heart melter. Jenny Gore Dwyer exudes a full spectrum of the Partner of Commercial Fisherman experience, from running a business to building a family and the passionate, adventurous love that make POCFs blush because we get it! We love the smell of diesel, too!

That’s what I replied to Jenny in our email. I also gushed about how she’s been a role model through emails and the stories she’s posted here on the blog. The richness of a commercial fishing relationship is exactly why I wrote that first blog about dating a fisherman and why so many others find it now, too.

Jenny’s story reminds me that we love our fishermen so much that it hurts. But it hurts in ways that make us face our fears and push us into the women we are meant to be. The growing pains of a partner of a commercial fisherman stretch us to new levels as strong, independent, loving women. And Jenny exemplifies that. Here’s Jenny:

Commercial crabbing fishing vessels Brenna A and Jennifer A in Alaska
FV Brenna A and FV Jennifer A, Ketchikan Alaska 2018

“Two Boats” Guest Post by POCF Jenny Gore Dwyer

It’s just a picture. Really.

Two boats. Tied to the dock. Preparing to offload fish. Working. All is good.

But the dream it represents brings the woman to her knees with grief.

What can she see in those boats?

A man. A man driven by the love of the game of life. His life, his dream. A man, standing on the deck in Carhart overalls, red sweat jacket, and blue eyes, twinkling. Always the mischievous blue eyes twinkling just for her.

What can she remember?

A man, a woman. Working side by side, words unspoken as they anticipate the other’s action. Children. In life jackets. Holding hands, walking the dock, walking the deck. Helping to paint with buckets of water and brushes. Laughing with glee and a bit of disgust as they poked salmon eyeballs. Playing with glacier ice, because the man had to stop and get Alaska ice cubes for the children.

What can she smell?

Diesel fuel, lube oil, hot engine room air, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, sweet seawater, and fresh salmon. Diesel fuel on the skin of the man after a hard days work, the woman’s favorite aftershave and aphrodisiac.

What can she hear?

The swish and gurgle of the fish pump. Music blasting from the one deck speaker that hasn’t blown out. The banter of deck boss and dock boss. The chatter of bullshit between the skipper and plant manager. Machinery. Finely tuned machinery, running pumps, cranes, slime lines, and winches. Above all the noise, she hears the man whispering in her ear, “we’re almost done. I’ll meet you in the shower.”

Photo by Bri Dwyer of three boats featured on the Discovery Channel show, Deadliest Catch
A fleet of three is “a continuation of a dream,” as Jenny said. “Pat would be so proud.” Photo by Bri Dwyer, Jenny’s Daughter-in-Law 🙂

What does the woman want to see, smell and hear more than anything?

The man. The man with the Carharts and twinkling eyes. That’s all.

But it’s not to be. The man has left this world, taken by ALS, a disease unimaginable. But still. He still seems to be leading the way, moving forward. Walking down a new dock at a clipped pace on a mission. Perhaps carrying the dream for the woman to see…occasionally throwing her a lifeline from his place in the universe.

She feels it.

The woman will walk this dream, this unexpected life…her own way.

With a spine of steel, she will stand tall and face the headwind.

In the process, testing, bending, breaking, and repairing. Opening up to experiences long thought gone. A balancing act in many ways.

One day at a time.

Just one day at a time, as she rediscovers life is good.

His story. Her story. Stories all around. The best part of the new, although bittersweet, dream; watching the stories yet untold by the glacier ice children and their children.

It’s just a picture. With memories and futures abound.

– Jenny Gore Dwyer

Incredible, right? What part of Jenny’s story most resonated with you? Would love to hear your heart; please share in the comments below!

For more of Jenny’s writing and the work she’s doing with the ALS community, visit crabbymama.netTo support ALS Therapy Development Institute, visit


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