Blessing of the Fleet honors Trinidad’s fishing community

Axel Lindgren: 'The ocean has never failed to provide food for the people'

  • Susan Rotwein served as an emcee for the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Trinidad on Thursday morning. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • Axel Lindgren III, John Calkins and Florine Lindgren face west during a prayer at the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet Thursday morning. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • John Calkins unlocks Axel Lindgren III’s wheelchair during the Blessing. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • A Coast Guard member waves during a flyover in Trinidad on Thursday morning. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • The crowd faces the ocean in spritual acknowledgement for their safety during the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet Thursday. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • Dan Cox walks back with his talisman gift from the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce for his boat Express. After owning the boat since 1981, (and fishing since 1973) Cox sold the Express very recently to Trinidad fisherman and Express Captains Patrick Magann and Scott Smotherman. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • Some art from the fourth grade at Trinidad School displayed at the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • Some art from the fourth grade at Trinidad School displayed at the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet.

  • Some art from the fourth grade at Trinidad School displayed at the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • Some art from the fourth grade at Trinidad School displayed at the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

  • Some art from the fourth grade at Trinidad School displayed at the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

of

Expand
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Hundreds gathered on the bluffs above Trinidad’s bay on a clear and crisp Thursday morning for the annual Blessing of the Fleet.

As people walked to the site where the ceremony was held at the intersection of Trinity and Edwards streets, lively tunes were pumped through the speaker system. Many held warm coffee or munched on donuts provided by the Trinidad Rancheria served outside the Trinidad Bay Eatery.

Dana Hope served as the officiant for the blessing.

“We are so grateful for this glorious, crisp, dry fall day,” she said, “for the opportunity to gather together as a community to celebrate, honor and give thanks for the bounty of the oceans and for those whose livelihoods provide us with its nourishment.”

She honored the many fishermen and Coast Guard members “who have been lost at sea as they are the true inspiration for this gathering.”

And she honored the fishermen who toil long hours to provide food for the area.

“It has been said that Trinidad is a quaint drinking village with a fishing problem,” said Hope. “Well, the life of a fisherman is certainly not for everyone. Long hours, hard work and inclement weather are enough to keep most of us on land. But if you ask a fisherman about fishing for a living, they will often tell you a very different story. They will share about the breathtaking beauty of the open ocean, about the excitement of a great catch, and about the personal satisfaction they feel at the end of their day.”

Axel Lindgren III gave the traditional native blessing facing the four directions. And he shared a story of a sea serpent he compared to the Loch Ness Monster that he said he spotted in Big Lagoon on a duck-hunting trip in the 1970s. He said there were newspaper reports in the 1870s with spottings of the sea monster.

“The body was as big around as a 55-gallon drum,” said Lindgren.

He said his family and his people have been in “this place since the beginning of time” and he blessed the local fishermen.

“We are here on this traditional day of Thanksgiving to give thanks to the Creator for his many gifts from the sea and ask for his blessing and protection for the boats and fishermen and women that bring us the fish and crabs that we eat,” he said. “In all times, the ocean has never failed to provide food for the people.”

Susan Rotwein, who served as an emcee for the event, talked about the pictures and poems created by Rachel Dilthey’s fourth-grade class at Trinidad School.

“I’d like to recognize Rachel and that class,” she said. “Each and every boat captain treasures those pictures. I know that we have a wall that is nothing but all the pictures that have been drawn for us for the last 24 years.”

She said Thursday morning’s event was for “all of you, your prayers and blessings that keep our fishermen safe out on the ocean.”

This year, the talisman shared with the local fleet was a 5-foot buoy stick, which features a hook. One organizer joked while handing out the sticks that “we just want to hook you up.”

Coast Guard Capt. Greg Fuller was in attendance Thursday morning and said the Coast Guard is always invited to the annual gathering.

“The last couple of days have shown us that there is always a tight bond between the Coast Guard and the fishermen,” he said.

The Coast Guard did a fly-by and hundreds of hands waved at the protectors of the coast.

Fuller said the McKinleyville station lost power on Wednesday, but unlike other agencies who were flooded with calls for services throughout and following the storm that hammered the coast, the Coast Guard members did not see that level of activity.

“We were hunkered down and ready to go, but did not have to send people out with 67 miles per hour winds and 40-foot seas,” he said.

Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

blog comments powered by Disqus