Crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Skilled crewmen battle frigid temperatures and rough seas all so we can enjoy those tasty crustaceans when we go out to eat at a fancy seafood buffet. Fisherman literally put their lives on the line for our appetites.
When crab fishermen set sail, they expect to encounter plenty of different sea creatures in their quest for crabs. However, as one Canadian fishing crew found out, sometimes an average day on the job can turn out to be anything but normal.
Mallory Harrigan and her boyfriend Cliff Russell, two crab fishermen from Labrador, Canada, woke up early one morning to set sail from William’s Harbour to go crabbing. Little did they know, they were about to encounter something unlike anything they’ve ever seen…
Mallory, Cliff, and the rest of their crew spent several hours loading their ship with the appropriate equipment. After everything they needed was stored securely in their vessel, it was time to set sail.
During this particular time of year, the crabs were thriving on the seafloor and catches were usually plentiful. The job was tough, the hours were long, but it was always worth the effort in the end.
The team was prepared to take on a massive haul. They were used to returning to town with thousands of crabs. However, that day they’d be hauling ashore a much different kind of cargo ashore.
The boat was slowly drifting through the harbor, and the crew was laughing and telling stories of past ventures. There were hundreds of small ice chunks floating around them, but it didn’t concern anyone on deck; the ship was designed to break through on the frozen obstacles.
The ship was a few miles off the shore when the crew noticed a flurry of seagulls that seemed to be circling one particular chunk of ice. Naturally, the crew had to sail closer to see what all the commotion was about…
From a distance, the crew could spot a small grayish animal on a piece of an iceberg. Naturally, the crew assumed it was a seal, as seals were prevalent around the harbor. But, with all the chaotic energy the seagulls were displaying, they weren’t so sure.
If the animal was a seal, it would have gotten in the water to avoid the seagulls’ frantic wrath. A crew member slowly pulled the boat up to it and the entire crew had a sudden and stark realization…
There, atop the ice and completely stranded, was an arctic fox. The poor animal, who changes the color of its coat in the winter to match the surrounding snow, was terrified. He watched the ship approach with a desperate look in his eyes. How did he end up miles away from shore?
The crew assumed the chunk of ice the fox was stranded on was originally attached to the shore, but it broke off while the animal was attempting to catch a meal. Now, it was time to step in and rescue the little guy, but how?
The fox was sitting too far in on the iceberg to reach by hand, so the crew rammed the front of their ship into the ice and broke off the chunk the fox was resting on. As soon as he fell into the water, they scooped him up with a net, but was it too late to save his life?
The fox, having no idea the crew was actually trying to save him, fought long and hard with his rescuers. But he eventually tired and the crew brought him onboard. Once there, they placed him in a makeshift bed so he could warm up and gather strength.
However, he was so frail the crew didn’t know if he would survive the journey back to shore — he’d been freezing for so long! Things weren’t looking good, and everyone onboard knew it.
For the first few hours of the trip back the fox refused to eat any of the crackers the crew placed on his bed. Then, one crew member had an idea that changed the animal’s entire demeanor…
They gave him a can of Vienna sausages and what a difference it made! The fox perked right up and ate the snack like it was the first meal he’d eaten in days, and it very well could have been. Not long after he finished, the crew pulled ashore, and it was finally time to say goodbye to their new furry friend.
The fishermen gave him a few more morsels of food to hold him over, then they left him in an old abandoned doghouse where he could shake off the harrowing ordeal. The crew hoped he would run back into the wilderness, but he wasn’t going anywhere too quickly.
The fox seemed suspicious of his surroundings initially. He peered his head out of the doghouse and surveyed the land, making sure the coast was clear for him to head back into his habitat. Then…
He darted up the hill and was gone! He had Mallory, the team, and a stomach full of delicious sausages to thank for his renewed strength. The crew headed back home, more than satisfied with their day’s work.
The crew never ended up catching any crabs that day, but what they experienced was so much more meaningful. If it weren’t for Mallory and the rest of the fishermen, the fox would have faced certain death.
Mallory said she still sees the fox exploring the coast of William’s Harbour from time to time, and it always brings her back to that special day at sea.