Friday, 4 December 2009

We are sailing again.

It might have been the fact that my happiest days at sea were on the Olive Tree, and that this short part of my life on the Girl Margaret, although holding some adventure, while bringing the modernization of the fishing that I desired within my grasp, was not the happy place I wanted to be, hence maybe the hesitancy of continuing with the blog, but with my readers support here goes.

The short periods of time I had at home were not the happiest either, and it was no hardship when I had to return to the sea, and leave my wife and son behind.
So many changes had been made in my life over the last couple of years as I was following my instincts to make a better life for myself, with not much thought of my family.
The sea was my life, and I was selfish when it came to the crunch, choosing the sea above all else.

The second last week at the herring aboard the Girl Margaret saw quotas coming in, meaning we were only allowed to land a certain amount of fish for each nights fishing, and if you were lucky enough to get your quota early in the night it meant you were back in port long before the market opened, where we would sell our catch to the highest bidder.

It happened to us on one such occasion, when we had our quota aboard before midnight, with so much herring that we passed some onto another pair of boats to help them, rather than throw the fish back into the sea dead.

We were only an hours steam from Tarbert, and by the time we moored up it was around 1am, so I thought I had a good nights sleep ahead of me until it came time to discharge our catch, but as usual the boat was spied coming in and two or three folk, even at that time of the morning had come down to see us.

The crew new the folk here as it is not all that far from their home port of Campbeltown, so true to form in these places, we were invited up to one of the men's house for a drink owing to the fact that the pubs were shut.

Only two of us accepted, me of course and another guy called Kenny, who enjoyed a dram even more than me.

When we entered the house I noticed it looked very plain, and it was clear that this man lived alone, (lacking a woman's touch was putting it mildly.)

A bottle of whiskey was produced from a cupboard, which between the three of us was downed rapidly during the conversation about the fishing, (what else) and on seeing the bottle was empty I stood up ready to head back.
No sooner was I on my feet when another half bottle appeared from under the seat cushion our host was sitting on, and when that was finished another was produced.

It was daylight when we set off back to the boat to land our catch very drunk but able to manage the work that lay ahead of us, and by the time the landing was over and the hold filled with boxes again the drink had almost worn off.

The cook had our dinner ready for us, and once it was scoffed, we had two hours sleep before setting off to try for our next nights quota, which did not come so easily this time.
Maybe it was punishment for the night before, but it took us all that night, into daylight hours, taking four tows, before we reached our quota.
No rest for the wicked, ran through my head as we finally set off for the market, with no intention of anymore drink that week.

Well my intentions were good at least.

There is no denying the hospitality of the people in these ports, which is second to none, but sometimes it is better to refuse, rather than be sociable type of person I am, or glutton for punishment as the case may be, because sleep is one thing you can never catch up on no matter what you may think.

After another poor nights fishing, and word of herring at the Isle of Man, another adventure loomed.........or so I thought.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. How you managed to drink and still fish is beyond me.I am so pleased you continued sharing your stories with us.

  2. Oh I can't wait until the next did you work and drink don't you really wonder now...
    where did the time and constitution of our bodies go too.

    Dorothy from grammology

  3. You are back to posting again! Welcome back :)

    I love to read your writings and to learn about your interesting, adventurous life at the sea. I think, it's (almost)usual that men at the sea do like to drink...I heard that often... :)

    Sue's Daily Photography

  4. The drinking had to confuse your "sea legs" a bit!

  5. Oh man, I would have passed out!!!!

  6. Interesting this passion for the sea, for escape. You certainly have a wonderful story to tell.

  7. Happy to see that the “muse” continues to flow giving us another outstanding story.

  8. Hi Donald I shall think of you whilst cooking my fresh sardines for tea!That is after I get back from the pub!

  9. Another enjoyable story. I missed reading about your adventures. I will try to be more regular around here. Thanks for stopping by my blog.