Growing up in Pacifica, CA, Laura has never lived out of earshot of the ocean. Her life of adventure began at an early age, travelling all summer with her family in their Chev camper-van. Memories of the ocean begin for Laura – as they do for so many of us – exploring local waters with her father at the helm. From a career in fibre arts, to conducting salmon spawning surveys with Fish and Wildlife, to purchasing and co-captaining the salmon trawler F/V Animal Fair with her best friend, Laura is a woman after our own hearts who wears many hats – entrepreneur, scientist, artist, and ocean going gal.
What do you love most about the ocean?
I have always lived near enough to the ocean that I can hear it when I sleep. I can smell, taste, and feel the salt in the air every morning when I look out to see what the ocean is doing that day, and every time it’s exciting, whether it’s beautifully calm or amazingly rough and dangerous. There is a constant and powerful pull to step outside and take it all in, to be present.
Who first got you hooked on the sea?
When I was little my Dad would take my brother and me out sport fishing on his Boston Whaler in Half Moon Bay and San Francisco Bay. It was a fast little boat, and we went out in fairly rough weather. My brother and I would sit on the cooler in front of the steering console and hold on, giggling and grinning ear to ear, while the little boat would fly off of the waves and then come crashing down over and over again. It was like the most exciting roller coaster ride in the park. My Dad was always so proud of us for holding it together, not getting seasick, while we caught and cleaned whatever we were after that day in the little wash well at the stern of the boat. Those days with my Dad are what made me feel comfortable working on my best friend’s (now business partner’s) sea urchin boat and eventually buying our salmon trawler, the F/V Animal Fair (http://www.salmonluni.com/).
When you close your eyes and think about your favorite time on the water, what do you see?
At the end of a long productive day of midsummer salmon fishing, the sun is setting and the cloud-filled sky is lit up with colour. The ocean is calm and the sunset is reflecting off the water. We’re heading with speed towards a great and familiar anchorage. Dinner is in the works, and a good night’s sleep will follow. My work on the ocean has evolved into an opportunity to become a provider of fresh, healthy, high quality seafood to my community. It’s so satisfying to see our customer’s faces light up when they come to pick up their fish and to know that all of the work it took to get it to them is appreciated. When I run into them later in town, they’ll tell me about the wonderful meal they had with their family or friend who was visiting. I know that I mean a lot to them, they also mean a lot to me, and we support and respect each other.