Salty Tales is the diary of my first sea voyage as a Fisheries Observer; 111 days on a Portuguese stern trawler during a stormy North Atlantic winter.
The trip began one October night in 2001, when I transferred from a fishery patrol ship to a rusty old trawler more than 200 miles out at sea, somewhere on Newfoundland’s Grand Banks.
My predecessor had left a note in my cabin which read:
“Careful of the ship’s nurse – he is a bit too touchy feely if you catch my drift. Don’t believe the figures the Captain gives you – he’s making them up, and go careful around the crew – one of them was killed 2 weeks ago when he got caught in the winch was cut into 3 pieces. His brothers and cousins are onboard, and they are pretty cut up about it! Have a good trip!”
I’ll share extracts from my diary – 111 days in the North Atlantic involving decapitation, hurricanes, mutiny and a dog named Pirate ‘live’, but 16 years to the day later, starting on the 18th October 2017.
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8th February 2002 I booked an aerobus which picked me up from the hotel and delivered me on time to the airport. It only cost 2.5 euros for a door to door service – absolute bargain. Portugal seems to have really nailed their public transport network. The flight was uneventful other than a bit of … Continue reading Day 114
7th February 2002 I awoke after a fantastic sleep showered and packed. I paid the bill at reception and ordered a taxi to the train station. I was feeling more alive now and less of a space cadet. I was ready to bust out my Portuguese and attempted conversation with the taxi driver. I can’t … Continue reading Day 113
“A brilliant idea- that we can read your diary. Who wouldn’t wan’t to read someone’s diary for starters? It’s brilliantly written- A great build up with the anticipation of a big event and the emotions described so well. As always, your delivery of humour is just brilliant. I really can’t wait to read the next bit.” – Vikki Sutherns
“They say only the ones who go there knows how it is. Reading you it’s like being there again. Against all odds I miss it, don’t ask me why. Maybe is the feeling of belonging to the few who witness it in first person.” – Dani Fox