Corey Wheeler Forrest

Tell us about a memorable time on the water.

Weirdly, my most memorable and important times on the water is probably when I should have been the most scared: falling overboard, boots filling up with seawater, and nearly being crushed between two boats; a squall with hurricane-force winds; a lightning storm coming in with such force that the air crackles and leaves you breathless.

F/V Maria Mendonsa

I work on the F/V Maria Mendonsa. She was designed specifically for the trap fishery in 1962 by George Mendonsa and she's named after his mother. She's big and getting old and a little rusty but she's always taken care of us.

“I am often left feeling humble, raw, and pretty insignificant."

The livelihood of fishing and making your living this way is to experience the pure wildness, power, beauty, and often times relentless monotony of the sea. I am often left feeling humble, raw, and pretty insignificant. The ocean is a powerful teacher when you realize how little control you have: you get to know yourself (and others) pretty well out there. I often remind myself that there are always going to be those days when you just have to let the storm pass, go with the flow, adapt, and keep afloat.

If you could only fish in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Exactly where I am: Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island. I grew up watching my father and grandfather make their living and feed people from here. I married my husband on the beach here. I worked with my kids on my back when they were small and share my passion and knowledge with them as they get older. It's where I feel most myself and at home.

“I consider myself pretty lucky"

when I think of the cast of characters I've learned from along the way, but I have to say that George Mendonsa, a trapping legend and more famously known as "The Kissing Sailor" worldwide, stands out. Being the first and only female on a large all-male and predominantly old-school crew could have gone differently and wasn't met without some resistance. I ended up on the crew because my father happened to be short-handed one day and once I started I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I knew that I was going to have to prove myself to the rest of the crew and it wouldn't matter that my father had faith in me. I worked hard and never missed a day. Once I established that I wasn't going anywhere or wasting their time, it didn't take long for George and the rest of the crew to take me under their wings and show me the ropes.