Since there are up to 38 (or so) Hansens involved in this expedition, it really helps to have some routines and understandings about how things happen. Before hand, we get meal assignments so the main meals can be made ahead and frozen as much as possible. We always have 1 fish meal a day, so that's a given.
We also have assignment sheets made out in advance designating fish cleaners, meal prep, clean-up, fish cookers, etc. Everyone gets slotted in to one or more jobs throughout the 4 days. Luckily, there is a whole new generation to take on more of the responsibilities, and the older cousins educate the younger ones on what to do. Like, for example, meal clean-up includes wiping off the tables and sweeping up the big chunks on the floor!
Another key component to making this a real group experience is the boat assignment. Here John is laboring over the assignment sheet.
This becomes a very complicated puzzle with many variables. Reminds me of those logic problems we used to do. The number of boats varies a little, but let's just say 9 on average. Some boats hold more than others, the pontoon carries the most and Josh's boat the least. Certain people know how to run the motors, and how to get around the lake, so they are captains. But we don't want one person to have to captain every day, so that has to be shuffled and new captains have to be trained in. Then there are the littlest people to consider, they have to be in a boat with someone responsible for keeping them from drowning and help with bait and unhooking fish. And there is Grandma, she needs a comfy seat and she never has to bait her hook or take off a fish. And then we shuffle everyone around so distant cousins, aunts and uncles get to spend time together. And some people make it for 3 days, others for 2, 1 1/2, or even 1 day, so that adds to the mix. Out of all of this, we get the master list. Seems like there should be an app for that!
For the most part, we stick to the assignments unless there is a compelling reason to make a switch. I really enjoy the fact that I can spend several hours with 2 or 3 of my family that I seldom can spend time with, and sitting out in a little boat does bring out some stories and laughs and memories that would never happen otherwise.
This year we caught plenty of perch and fewer walleyes.
This is the textbook walleye, and these are the real deal:
Dan and I tied for the largest walleyes, both measuring 24", but I do have to say that Dan's looks a tad bigger. Of course, he is thrusting it out at the camera man to make it appear much more impressive, while I am just trying to stay upright in the wind and rain! Those fish are "in the slot", which means that they cannot be legally taken and they go back in the lake. But the catching is most of the fun, so that works for everyone!
Also the usual northerns, a fish that I don't have any fondness for. They look all snakey and evil.
On the other hand, the one sunny that I caught was a work of art. It was much more colorful than this drawing depicts. Beautiful turquoise and gold coloring.
Last night we had an outing to the baseball park in downtown Minneapolis to watch the Twins play the Los Angeles Dodgers. We suffered a sad loss, but we had a good time.
Dan, mom, dad, Brita and Ben gave each other moral support.
It's wonderful to have opportunities like these, times we will never forget!