The Halloween Storm of 1991 was a notorious example of the cruel indifference of nature. When all was said and done, all six members of the Andrea Gail were missing and presumed dead. Three independent weather systems combined for a storm that occurs only once every hundred years. Gale force winds and a number of rogue waves brought on by the cataclysm of a hurricane and Nor'Easter pounded and tortured the swordfish boat. While some had hailed Georges Bank as the most dangerous fishing grounds in the world, I do not think anyone on the Andrea Gail expected to die this way. I found this novel very haunting and found myself very angry at the end. These men had wives, girlfriends, mother, fathers...In general, all had friends and families that needed them and they left them behind upon their demise.
This book really made me feel horrible for the victims' families and friends.The victims did not just simply die — they disappeared off the face of the earth completely and were never properly laid to rest. This is why the event has been heralded as “The Shipwrecked Story No One Survived to Tell”. To be honest, that statement itself is incredibly haunting. The camaraderie of the fishermen is very well documented. The statement “and that a bartender put the money away for safekeeping says a lot about how fishermen chose their bars” (Junger, p.19) tells me that this is a close knit community.
As someone who has lost a parent, I know how hard it is for families when they lose a father. I know firsthand how hard that experience is — it took years of therapy and reflection to truly deal with my father's death. However, I feel lucky that my father was properly laid to rest and that my family had the closure that I can imagine these families yearn for. I personally could not imagine how it must feel to never truly know if your father is dead — even if the circumstances are the most hostile towards human life that one can imagine.
I found myself very angry with the companies that backed these fishing expeditions due to their lack of concern about human life. Even though it has been heralded as “a storm that could not possibly have been worse.” they decided to try to sail back to risk losing their catch since their ice machine broke as the storm developed near the coast. Quotes like “For 150 years, Georges, off the coast of Cape Cod, had been the breadbasket of New England fishing” (Junger, p. 22) and “When the Hannah Boden unloads her catch in Gloucester, swordfish prices plummet halfway across the world” (Junger, p. 36) show just how long the tradition of fishing has been a part of New England's economy and history. From cod to swordfish, fishing has fueled the economy for many years.