Soaking Area of Wash House, Fur Seal Processing Plant

Recorded on October 2, 2003


We're in the wash house here.

It's a fur seal processing plant that I was involved in, in the processing days.

Approximately 32 years ago was the last time we used this building for fur seal skin processing.

And we're in the soaking part of the wash house where the skins are brought in and they're thrown in to this tank through these windows that open up, off of a dump truck, we'd throw then in here.

The capacity of the tank is 250 skins.

This is our salt water that we soak them in, the salt water comes from the ocean.

As we go back you can take a look at this rack that's hanging up here, that had a counter weight to it, and we would lower it down into the water on top of the skins, pressing the skins down.

Someone would stand on top to hold the skins down and put a block in here to hold this rack down.

We also have racks on the bottom that are held down by swivels, that's these here, otherwise they would float to the surface.

And the only reason we put 250 skins in here is the floatation would actually, if there were more skins, the floatation of the skins would start snapping the timber on these racks.

After each use, these tanks were totally, all the racks were lifted out and washed down because we'd get little fish and other aquatic life from the ocean.

And also, the side effect of having this much cold water in a concrete building would actually change the temperature in this building to 10 degrees lower than it is outside, and our ambient temperature in the Pribilofs if 45 degrees Farenheit, so you can imagine that we're working in a processing plant just above freezing.