Making a living by fishing is not easy. The hours are grueling, with pre-dawn wake-up calls, and everything must be prepped before heading out. That's followed by a long and exhausting day, staying out for hours on end in order to catch the most fish. The people who make their living this way are very dedicated and many of them are incredibly passionate about mother nature. You’re about to ready about three fishing buddies who headed out on what they thought would be a mundane day on the water, only to discover something incredible. Without knowing much about what they were seeing, they were instinctively aware that they needed to help. Their story will both surprise you and melt your heart.
Three Friends Bought A Boat Together
Friends Cliff Russell, Mallory Harrigan, and Alan Russell were longtime fishing buddies. They enjoyed fishing so much that they went in together and purchased a boat so they could open a commercial fishing operation.
Experienced in the sport, the trio of Canadians were well aware of what types of fish were available and what the local restaurants and markets were interested in. It was unknown, however, what they could expect once they started heading out to fish on a daily basis.
They Loved Working Together
Alan, Cliff, and Mallory were close friends as well as business partners. They were always there to help each other out, no matter the situation. Although many friendships are strained when people start working together, theirs stayed strong.
Even though they got physically beat up by the demanding nature of their work, the friends didn't complain. In fact, they looked forward to what experiences each new day of work would bring.
A Good Feeling About The Day
There was nothing special about this particular day, but Mallory was eager to get started and had a good feeling about things. She even arrived at work early to get everything prepared.
Once Alan and Cliff had joined her, the three ran through their daily pre-launch list of things they had to bring with them. Forgetting something, even if it seemed trivial on land, could cost them valuable time and resources once they were out on the water.
They Set Sail
As this was part of their daily ritual, the three were used to the tasks involved with prepping the boat. They usually told stories and jokes as they worked together, just the way any long-time friends would.
Mallory, Alan, and Cliff had a great outlook for the day. They were heading out to catch crab off the coast, and had perfect weather for the task. The water was calm as the boat headed out for the day…
The Cages Are Dropped
After the friends located a great spot to crab, they turned off the boat. This was a place they always had luck catching huge hauls of crabs, so they dropped their lines. The crab cages sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor.
They'd had a great few weeks, and were really hoping to score big today on one of the last outings of the season. Was Mallory’s hopeful feeling about the day a sign that they’d have their best catch ever?
The Day's First Catch
As experienced as the three friends were, the tasks they had to complete while crabbing were second nature. As the cages lie in wait below the surface, one person would steer the ship while the other two watched the lines.
They started hauling in cages and were astounded. This was their best catch ever! Not willing to give up during this streak of luck, they emptied the cages and decided to do the whole thing again.
A Second Location
What a great day so far! The three fishermen had hit treasure with their first drop and were prepared to continue with another record-breaking haul. They decided to head for colder waters.
Of course, the further they ventured out the riskier conditions grew. There were some amazing sights out here. Herds of seals gathered on icebergs they passed. Way out in the depths, there were no birds to be seen.
In the Labrador Sea, where the trio of friends was fishing, huge icebergs floated adrift. Boaters need to pay very close attention out here… one false move and they could all be doomed.
At this point, Alan was acting as lookout when he saw something on top of an iceberg off in the distance. He brought it to Cliff and Mallory's attention, but none of them could tell what it was. Mallory surmised it was probably a lone seal.
Alan Was Bothered By The Sight
Although Cliff agreed with Mallory's theory, Alan couldn’t let it drop. Over all the time this group had spent together they’d seen lots of different types of animals in the sea. Nothing seemed strange about this to Cliff or Mallory, and they couldn’t understand why Alan seemed so disturbed.
He just had a strange feeling about it, based on how the animal they saw was moving around. He didn’t think it was acting like a seal at all. They brought out the binoculars for a better look…
Taking A Better Look
Although time was of the essence if they wanted to catch more crabs, the friends just couldn't resist investigating that animal off in the distance. They decided to try and get closer to the iceberg in an effort to identify the creature.
As they neared the iceberg, a chill wind picked up and gave them an unsettled feeling. Then, they saw that there was fur on the animal – wet fur. It was probably close to freezing alive in these conditions. All thoughts of another crab drop were put on hold.
They Had To Learn What They Were Dealing With
By now, the friends were extra curious but also extremely cautious. They had no idea what exactly they were dealing with, and they were also in dangerous and unknown territory. Alan reassured everyone that they were doing the right thing by checking everything out.
As they were all such close friends, Cliff and Mallory couldn't help but go along. If this animal needed help, then they were going to do their best to assist.
Nearing The Unknown
It was important to move extremely slowly and cautiously through these danger-filled waters. There were icebergs and lots of ice chunks freely floating around, and one impact could be devastating to the boat and its passengers.
Making things even more tricky was the fact that the waves had started to pick up around them. Mallory, Cliff, and Alan were in threatening conditions, indeed. But they kept going in search of answers…
More Dangers As They Neared The Iceberg
A huge, frigid gust of wind suddenly hit the boat and surrounding sea. The strong whipping motion started jostling the iceberg. The friends had no idea how the unknown animal would respond to being shaken like this.
What if the creature was so scared that it jumped from the iceberg? Landing in these freezing waters would mean certain death. Mallory kept her eyes on the iceberg, anxious to track where the animal was.
Nearing The Iceberg
Of course, the friends were concerned about a few things at this point. They were concerned about their safety and whether they could continue to avoid icebergs. But they were also terrified for whatever it was that was stranded on the ice, nervously moving back and forth.
Even direr was the fact that the day was half over by now. Daylight was going to run out soon if they couldn't complete their task quickly.
An Outline Becomes Visible
Finally, the group had maneuvered close enough to the iceberg to try and identify the creature that was stranded on top of it. The first thing the friends noticed was that it had four legs and was shaped like a dog. This wasn't somewhere anyone’s pet would have strayed to, though.
The poor, shivering creature was soaking wet. In these temperatures, Cliff, Alan, and Mallory had to act quickly and bravely in order to rescue the stranded animal.
Finally, An Identification
This was not a dog at all! It took a few minutes to process, but the group realized that the animal they'd been approaching was an Arctic Fox! There was no time to solve the mystery of how it ended up on the iceberg. That would have to wait.
Birds had begun to circle the weakening animal, which was not a good sign for the poor thing. The friends were intent on saving it.
Time Was Running Out
Teamwork was vital in this race against the clock. The group knew this, but did not know one key thing: would the fox even trust them to help?
You can never predict the behavior of a strange animal, and they had no idea what kind of interactions this fox had with humans in the past. It was possible that even if they reached the freezing animal, it might not allow them to rescue it.
What Was Their Plan Of Rescue?
The group had to come up with a plan in order to get the fox to come to them. This was no time to act rashly. It was key to make the animal feel as comfortable as possible so they kept their voices as soothing as possible and also held their hands out in the hopes the fox would approach.
Although the fox's instinct probably told it to run away, it had nowhere to go. It simply stayed there and stared, not moving.
This Required Patience
Although the fox showed no real interest in the humans, it kept its eye on them since it had nowhere to go and nothing else to do. The rescue could take a long time at this rate.
The group didn't want to give up, but their patience was wearing thin. Just as they least suspected it, the fox took a step toward their boat. Mallory, Cliff, and Alan held their breath to see if it would put its life in their hands.
They Couldn't Believe It!
Much to the group's shock, the fox approached their fishing boat. However, in its weakened state it was unable to leap aboard. The freezing cold animal looked helplessly to Alan, who in turn gently lifted it and brought it on the boat.
They knew that they had to get the fox warmed up, and fortunately they had plenty of dry towels on board. But how would the terrified fox behave now that he was in such close proximity? This was still a dangerous situation even if they’d crossed one major hurdle.
It Tried To Run
Most any scared animal will try to run if it's unsure of its surroundings, and this Arctic fox was no different. Everyone’s hearts sank as the fox suddenly got up and leaped off the boat. It then swam quickly in the direction of the iceberg they’d just rescued it from.
The group followed in their boat until finally, the tired fox didn’t have the energy to go any further. Alan picked it up once again and brought it aboard. It cowered in a corner, knowing there was nothing else it could do.
Heading Back Home
As Mallory steered the ship back toward home, Cliff and Alan made sure the fox couldn't get away again. Its life would be in huge jeopardy if it tried another daring escape attempt.
The next thing to do was to warm the fox up somehow. The men searched the boat for any way to keep the fox comfortable and warm, and they didn’t take their eyes from it for one moment.
A Comfortable Bed
Mallory thought the fox could use somewhere warm to go during the long voyage home. Fortunately, Alan and Cliff found a plastic bin that could act as a crate for now. They also discovered some sawdust that would give the bed some much-needed insulation.
The fox's new bed was placed in the spot that got the most sun at that time of day, in order to help warm him up even quicker.
The Fox Was Really, Really Tired
At this point, Alan had already handled the fox a couple of times so he once again gently lifted the animal and put in into the makeshift bed. It only took a few moments for the tuckered-out fox to fall fast asleep.
The group was relieved that the fox was getting some much-needed rest as they raced back to the shore. They knew that they would need to get it off the boat soon to make sure it would survive this ordeal.
A Short Nap
There were only about 30 minutes left to reach the Canadian shore, but they knew that might not be enough time to get their precious cargo to land.
Cliff took over captain duties from Mallory and adjusted course. Unfortunately, the fox woke up just them. It was still exhausted and scared. Mallory thought maybe feeding the fox could help the situation and give him some much-needed sustenance.
What Do You Feed A Fox?
Although the boat was full of fish and crab, the fox was completely disinterested in either when Mallory offered it. What on earth would they feed it while they were still stuck on the boat?
In the crew's personal stash of food, Mallory discovered some canned Vienna sausages. She soaked them in water to soften them and put them right in front of the fox. It did the trick! The fox ravenously ate them all down. Who knows how long it had been since the fox had last eaten?
Docking The Boat
After that hearty meal of Vienna sausages, the exhausted fox went right back to sleep in its sawdust bed. And at long last, the ship reached the shore. As the group attempted to dock the boat, however, the noise woke the fox up right again.
Mallory used a soothing voice to speak to the fox, just hoping to keep it calm until they were securely docked and they could finally take it off the boat.
Where Would The Fox Go Now?
Once they were safely back on shore in Canada, the friends needed to figure out what to do with their new animal buddy. It was already dry, warm, and full of food so this was the last big decision they needed to make.
Once again, Mallory was the one who had the answer. She recalled an area close to the docks that would be safe for the fox to be released back into the wild.
There Was Already A Shelter For The Fox
Mallory recalled that this area she'd remembered even had a structure, possibly a makeshift doghouse, that would be the perfect place for the fox to stay warm and dry while he adjusted to his new environment.
This location was somewhere near the bluffs, about 10 minutes from the dock they’d just left. The friends searched the area, with Cliff carrying the fox in its plastic bin as the rescue mission came to a close.
A Complete Success!
The friends finally found the doghouse that they'd been looking for. The best thing to do, they figured, was to leave the fox in his bin near the doghouse and let him sniff things out on his own.
It wasn’t long before the Arctic fox emerged from the makeshift box of sawdust and went over to the doghouse. It went right to the door and investigated everything. Cliff, Alan, and Mallory knew right then that the fox would do well in its new home.