The fishing community in Kodiak is reeling after the disappearance of two Kodiak fishermen who were lost when their crab boat, the Scandies Rose, capsized and sank on New Year’s Eve.
The bodies of Capt. Gary Cobban Jr. and his son David Cobban were not recovered. A Coast Guard search and rescue team found only two of the seven crewmen, Dean Gribble Jr. and John Lawler.
“I just wish the other guys would have made it. I kind of feel bad now that I’m here and they’re not. Sending some love to their families,” Gribble Jr. said in a YouTube video.
Since the accident, the fishing community in Kodiak and in other areas has come together to remember the missing fishermen and raise money for their families.
A fundraiser on Facebook — “Families of the lost on F/V Scandies Rose” — has raised $41,299 of the $65,000 goal. In just five days, 714 people have donated.
Homer resident and fisherman Marissa Albaugh started the fundraiser.
“If something like this would have happened to me or my family I would want someone to do this for my kids, Albaugh said, her voice shaking. “Just being on the water, it hits really close to home. I just felt compelled, like something was burning inside my soul to do it for these people.”
Within the first hour, Albaugh’s fundraiser had collected $5,000, she said.
“We want to take this thing bigger than what is already,” Albaugh said. “My team wants to reach out to bigger corporations like canneries.”
Albaugh’s friend, Deb Rhoades, along with seven other people, is working to collect the funds.
“It’s just really devastating to lose people. If you are part of a big fishing family, it just hits home,” Rhoades said.
Albaugh said the money will not only be allocated to the families of the missing crewmen but also the survivors.
“The team just wants to do as much as we can for as long as we can and whatever we can,” she said.
Another fundraiser was started by Seattle-based Hailey Engstrom and her brother. Their father was a deck boss on the Scandies Rose for many years and recently retired, and their grandmother worked as a cook on the boat.
“They are not only losing their loved ones but also the income that they live off of,” Engstrom said about the family members of the five crewmen who disappeared.
Her fundraiser is called “Scandies Rose Memorial” and has raised $2,710 raised of a $10,000 goal.
She is working with Albaugh’s team to put the funds in a trust for the families.
‘Whatever it takes’ is a saying on the Scandies, so that’s what we will do,” Engstrom said.
She knew Gary Jr., from when her father worked on the boat.
He was an amazing fishermen “who really knows what he is doing out there,” Engstrom said.
“He was just very just kind of unstoppable. And then his son David was the sweetest guy. He was very innocent and he would always try to help me with tying my knots. He was kind of a nerdier kid but super sweet and really funny as well,” Engstrom said.
Holly Matthews is another fishermen who worked with Gary Jr. and David while tendering salmon during the summers.
“This loss is going to leave a huge hole in the community in Bristol Bay,” Matthews said.
She said Gary Jr. was different than many of the captains who would stay in the wheelhouse doing paperwork while their crews would interact with the salmon fishermen.
“Gary was down interacting with everybody,” Matthews said. “He was really personable. He was out on the deck saying hi.”
Matthews recalled Gary Jr. joking around with her and her sister and offering them food when they were exhausted and giving them “lots of cookies.”
“He and the Scandies Rose were literally loved by everyone,” she said. “Gary was the kingpin of all Bristol Bay tenders.”
She described Gary Jr. as gentle, smart and kindhearted and said he had a pulse on everything— people often depended on him. She remembered his voice as calm and kind with a special tone, she said.
“He was constantly on the VHF radio helping solve everyone’s quandaries, answering questions and giving weather reports to help keep us all informed and safe,” Matthews said.
A memorial service will be held during Crab Festival in May in Kodiak.