#32 - Fishing for Diamonds

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 12:21 pm by LaLonde Jewelers

When I would travel to Alaska to appraise jewelry, I would have to take a side trip from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula. This would require a 40 minute flight on a small 8 to 15 passenger plane. This was fine, I liked flying, but there were times that it got a little hairy. I had flown several times on this route and knew the lay of the land. A large mountain range to the left, endless tall pine forest below and ocean to the right.

Usually the plane was nearly full of passengers, but this time I was the only person beside the pilot.

It was cold out, kind of raining, with no visibility. I thought I was flying inside a Ping-Pong ball. Usually when there are other passengers you have someone to talk to and you feel comfortable. But this time only the pilot was there and I didn’t want to interrupt him. I figured that he needed to concentrate.

So I was left with my thoughts, slamming into the mountain, splashing into the sea, or landing in the tall pines.

Then I would look at the pilot, who was about my age of 30, I thought “he doesn’t want to die”, so I said a prayer and held on.

It seemed like a long ride but we made it.

Later I went on the same flight and it was summer time so plane was jammed packed with passengers. These people were mostly fishermen. You see it was fishing season on the World Class fishing spot ‘The Kenai River’. I’m telling you people come from Japan, Germany, South America and all parts of the United States.

The pilot usually loaded the plane himself, which he did while the 15 or so passengers are standing right there. As he is loading all the fishing rods and gear and glancing at the passengers, you could see in his mind was calculating the weight. He gets to my box that has my microscope and says “We can’t take this on this flight.” Well I protested, “I need that. I have appointments and I need that to do my job.” He said that it can go on the next flight which will be there in an hour and a half.

When I finally got my box and showed up late to my appointments, I started to explain to the clients about what had happened. These were local people who lived year round in Kenai and as I spoke I could see in their faces that they already knew what I was just learning...

...that a 45 lb. King Salmon caught in the Kenai River was far more important than an appraisal on a 2 carat diamond!


Written by Dan LaLonde

© LaLonde Jewelers 2019