Friday, July 27, 2012

Fishing boat turning back to nature

The Eagle 
I enjoyed many summers of my youth working in Cornucopia, a small harbor on the south shore of Lake Superior.  Johnny Sveda, aka "Kerchunk", one of the old commercial fisherman was still working his nets when I was there in the 1970's.  He would go out early in the morning in his fishing boat, The Eagle, hoping for a catch of  Lake Trout, Whitefish, Herring and or Ciscos/Chubs.  You could often see his boat returning, surrounded by a flock of seagulls, scavenging the fish innards that were thrown overboard, as he filleted fish on his way back into port. 

Kerchunk was a large, stout man who aways had a mouth full of chewing tobacco, which he would regularly invite me to enjoy.  Seeing the brown stains around his mouth and missing teeth, I refrained. I always admired his tough work ethic and generally friendly disposition and his occasional dirty limericks.

On a recent visit back to Cornucopia I noticed Kerchunk's boat, The Eagle, was on exhibit at the beach.  Despite being roped off and sitting high off the ground, the boat was decomposing.  

While there are still a few commercial fishermen working on Lake Superior's south shore, I'm confident that there will never be another like Johnny Sveda.     

R.I.P. Kerchunk.

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