Spending days out at sea collecting Dungeness crab sounds a bit daunting for most people. But for Lincoln City commercial crabber Tony Latino Jr., it’s a lifestyle he’s quickly taken a liking to.
Son of Tony Latino Sr., the owner of Tony’s Top Shop in Lincoln City, Jr. has been working for his Dad but has always had an interest in commercial crabbing. Drawn to a life at sea, and not to mention a wealthy bounty for a good catch, Latino had the opportunity to get his sea legs and join a crew for this year’s crabbing season.
“My best friend Tyger Pearson works on the Cape Cleare boat as well as a few other close high school friends, who work down here,” Latino said about how he got started. “I heard how much money I could make, so after walking the docks for a month and having my buddy Tyger ask around, him and his Captain met my boat the Tauny Ann and got me a deck hand job.”
For the past three weeks, Latino has been adjusting to the long days and nights at sea aboard the 63-foot crab boat. Recently, he just returned from a 27-hour trip that was followed by cleaning the boat, offloading the crab and cleaning out the tanks.
He understands it’s not for everyone, but he feels he’s cut out for the job.
“I wanted to do it for the challenge, not many people can do it... we had two guys quit first couple days out,” Latino said. “Being a crabber is an elite crew, not many people get respect down here until you put time in and show you’re tough enough to be around.”
But it hasn’t all been fun for Latino… it’s hard work. He said the first three days on the ocean he faced tough water conditions, sleepless nights and a fast paced working environment. But eventually, Latino started to find certain serenity at sea.
“I had no idea what I got myself into working two days straight on the water… It was the hardest challenge of my life,” Latino said. “But I found I like working all through the night time to the morning. I’m on the dark ocean and it’s peaceful.”
In addition to the calmness he’s found in the ocean, Latino has also formed camaraderie with his fellow crewmates and other fisherman in his short time as a crabber.
“I really enjoy being around the docks and talking to all the other people on the boats and hearing the stories,” Latino said.
Along with his passion for crabbing, Latino has also had a interest in photography. He has taken his photography skills aboard his crab boat and will often take a quick moment to document an average day at sea. This resulted in the stunning photo of the rough ocean waves crashing over the side of their boat.
“I like to take all kinds of pictures all the time just because I like remembering good times,” Latino said. “The first three times I went out (to sea) it was pretty rough like you see in the photo.”
Although he’s still new to the commercial crabbing business, Latino said he’s found a joy for the work he’s doing and plans to do it every year. And as long as he’s living in the Lincoln City area, he should be able to do it quite easily.
“It’s only three months long and it makes enough money to where I can live here and I should take advantage of the opportunity,” Latino said. “Many people live in the city or inland and never have an opportunity to do this.”