Holly Enderle trolls for salmon in Cross Sound aboard her boat the F/V Pacific Dream.
Holly drives while her cat, Pow Pow, rests on her lap. Holly Enderle trolls for salmon in Cross Sound aboard her boat the F/V Pacific Dream.
Story last updated at 9/18/2013 - 1:52 pm
Few people have what it takes to be the captain of a power troller in the Cross Sound fleet. Holly Enderle, a 25-year-old who grew up in Elfin Cove, is one of those who does.
Enderle got her start long-lining and salmon fishing with her dad, Dennis Enderle. As a teenager, she began deckhanding on his boat, the White Cap II, as more of a permanent job.
"At first it felt like work, and then I kind of fell in love with it. It's so beautiful out there... it's a really great lifestyle," she said.
Later, she fished with her boyfriend, Ryland Bell, also out of Elfin Cove, "until we decided we'd pretty much had it with each other," she said, laughing. "You're constantly surrounded by boys out there. I thought it would be really great to do my own thing. So I decided I wanted my own boat, and I took the plunge."
That was last April; 2012 was her first year as captain, something "much more exciting" than deckhanding.
Once she got a boat, one of the biggest challenges she faced was boat maintenance, something she never did as a deckhand. In the last two years, she's worked on the Pacific Dream's plumbing, soldered its copper pipes, worked on the engine, gotten the boat running again - twice - after it broke down while out on the ocean this summer, and learned about computers while working on her GPS.
"What keeps my sanity most together is having one of my best friends, Maria (DeBari) out on the boat with me," she said. "We try to stay really positive. There are so many different variables."
DeBari echoed this.
"It's awesome that one of my best friends is my boss. It's nice having another girl around," DeBari said. "Holly really impresses me. She's so young, and also being a female out here ... It seems like second nature to her. She's totally on top of it. It's cool we can keep up and make it," she said.
The fishing this year, Enderle said, was "fantastic."
"I've never seen fishing like that before," she said. "It was really hot and heavy right off the bat. We got 500 plus cohos some days, which is pretty insane when you think about the workload that is."
Just the same, she loves the lifestyle. She and DeBari may get carpal tunnel from cleaning 500 fish in a day, but they've also had experiences like twice being surrounded by a large pod of orcas.
"That's just a really cool feeling - these giant, beautiful beings," she said.
Fishing also gives her time to pursue another passion - snowboarding. She won "Queen of the Hill," an extreme, international snowboarding competition in Valdez, in 2011. She also snowboarded with Jeremy Jones in a Coors Light commercial last year. This winter, she and DeBari plan to snowboard at Lake Tahoe, where they first became friends; she also plans to snowboard at Pemberton (in British Columbia) with Bell.
"That's our reward for working so hard in the summer. We just get to play all winter," she said.
Hard work or not, "I had to go off and get my own boat," she said. "The curiosity was killing me."
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- Watch Enderle's Coor's Light commercial at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg0V9rYnFQY.