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
“I’m saving up several days at a time, then enjoying a quiet read. It makes me think of my life experiences on board various ships in different parts of the world, but mostly makes me think of my Dad and what it was like for him on his first trips away, he started out on steam ships!
I did laugh out loud a few times, brilliant stuff!” – Ruth Eley
“OMG! This is building into a disaster movie!” – Peter Collard
“Who’s going to play you in the film?” – Rachel Ganuszko