17th January 2002
Yes, the celebratory day of Thursday is upon us once more and I have a similar story to tell as my last entry…rougher than a badgers arse yesterday and today we are steaming back to the fishing grounds. Dobbin was more akin to a bucking bull in some rodeo last night and I managed to get little sleep.
In rough weather it is obviously important to keep the bow into the oncoming swell and so at night they use a big floodlight on the bow to give some warning of the approaching waves. It sheds hardly any light through my porthole as it faces out towards the bow. When the waves crash over the bow however the temporary wall of white water reflects the light back illuminating my cabin so that it suddenly flashes bright and then it goes pitch black again as the water goes over the light and obscures the light all together. It’s a real light and sound show with waltzing waters.
I got some very good news yesterday from the captain but I am very sceptical, I am learning to take what he says with a pinch of salt. The news came in two parts; firstly if the weather is okay tomorrow we’ll be servicing with the Christina (an all too familiar and ill-fated story) and secondly we are going to sail home next week. I’ll explain why we could be going home early. The owner of the ship gave instructions to the captain to re-fuel by tanker, this is because it would mean we could fish until the official end of the contract and therefore make him more money. The captain however is stressing because the tanker is in the north with a backlog of 20 ships to service before us. We have enough fuel on board to stay here until Sunday and get back to Portugal, or to stay until Wednesday and make it to the Azores to refuel.
The simple answer would be to sail north and wait our turn for the tanker, but here is the problem; the Canadian Coastguard Fisheries Patrol ship LJ Cowley is also in the north and our holds are illegally filled with regulated species. The Captain is quite open about that. If he waits here for the tanker to come in a week or so we won’t have any fuel to run away with, and so are sitting ducks for the Cowley. So at the moment the plan is to linger a bit down here in the south and if the tanker doesn’t arrive before Wednesday we’ll head for Portugal via the Azores for some fuel on the way.
You know how earlier I was saying that we might service with the Christina and return home next week…well, no longer. Yes, that exciting plan has now been scrapped and we won’t be servicing with the Christina tomorrow or leaving before the end of the trip. Maybe you’ll understand why I take what Cappy says with a pinch of salt? I just received another bit of news to make it a round number of three…MRAG have lost their contract with NAFO and so I am unemployed after this trip. All observers are going to be replaced by the new company as from 15th February. Anybody want to kick me in the balls?