The swordfishing captain likes to hike to the cove in Surry’s Morgan Bay at low tide to go clamming.
Photo by Greta Rybus
Greenlaw’s sister, Beth, is president of Sea Bags, the Portland-based maker of totes from recycled sails. Greenlaw packed a pair of them on her recent Alaska trips. “I can’t even count how many Sea Bags I own,” she says.
She and her son-in-law, Dan Hitchcock, have grown oysters in Union River Bay for four years under the banner of Downeast Oyster Company.
New episodes of Deadliest Catch air on Discovery Channel Tuesdays at 8 p.m. through September (and stream whenever on discovery+).
She’s the only woman in America to captain a swordfishing boat, but that’s hardly the most interesting thing on Linda Greenlaw’s résumés. She grew up hauling lobster pots during summers on Isle au Haut and started working on a swordfishing vessel at 19. She appeared in Sebastian Junger’s bestselling book The Perfect Storm, about the 1991 sinking of the Andrea Gail, which claimed the lives of her friends. Then, she wrote a book of her own, The Hungry Ocean, a gritty recounting of a monthlong swordfishing trip, which landed on the New York Times bestseller list. She’s since written 10 more books and founded a charter tour business, Linda Greenlaw Charters, near her home, in Surry. It was while piloting a tour a few years back that she found her favorite Maine place, a little cove on the eastern side of Morgan Bay that she appreciates for its quietude. These days, whenever she has time, she likes to hike to the cove at low tide to go clamming.
Of her many pursuits, fishing remains Greenlaw’s favorite, no matter how demanding the lifestyle. She considers herself retired from chasing swordfish, but when pressed, she takes a “never say never” stance on someday unretiring. “Swordfish are alive and colorful when they come on board,” she says. “With their big bills, it’s like catching unicorns.” Last fall, she flew to Alaska to join the cast of season 19 of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, a series that follows the day-to-day dramas of crab-fishing crews on the Bering Sea. She spent weeks captaining a ship, hauling and setting gear, and learning the art of king-crab fishing on the icy waters with co-captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski. She found that her optimistic leadership style and Wichrowski’s grouchy disposition complemented each other. “We were like black and white,” she says.
Greenlaw celebrated the show’s season premier, back in April, by throwing a watch party for 140 of her friends and family at Bucksport’s Alamo Theatre. She’s pretty sure she liked the episode, but she might need to watch it again to get the full effect. “Every time I came on the screen, everyone started screaming and cheering,” she says. “I couldn’t hear a thing.”
Headshot courtesy of Discovery Channel
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