8. Sleeplessness and a Penguin

Just to recap, this blog is about an incredible adventure I had in 1988 when I was a young man. It is a faithful transposition of my written journal into a digital format. I had trained as a marineĀ biologistĀ and fisheries scientist, and was offered a contract to work in the Falkland Islands. I am now about three weeks into my trip, and have been at sea for some 12 days.

Sunday 27 March 1988, Koei Maru 30.

Good ol’ Masamitsu gave me his business card today. Unfortunately I was unable to reciprocate this kind gesture.

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I couldn’t get to sleep for ages – my mind was active – thinking about some most obscure things.

– Like when Adam died and R&C came over and I hid in the garden, because I was ashamed of grief. I didn’t want to see R so unhappy.

– And the time I was to walk down Muswell Hill Broadway in my pyjamas and dressing gown…the ultimate humiliation.

There were other thoughts too. I couldn’t sleep. The result of this is that I have slept until 5.30pm and shall probably forego my stroll around deck. Needless to say is is another clear blue sky – the albatross patrol the boat in their usual manner – I suppose they are waiting for scraps.

My pen is running out – I fear I use more ink here than ever I did at Bangor on Newcastle University. it is just as well I brought plenty of spare cartridges. What a clever boy!

It is strange to think that for each entry or most entries in my diary for each day, I have slept between the beginning and the end somewhere. Eh?

Monday 28 March 1988, Koei Maru 30

Well, only one sample last evening. There were no squid in the early part of the evening and there seemed little point in sampling from so few squid.

Quite an evening for wildlife though – at about 1am I saw, in addition to the black browed albatross, the black/grey birds – ugly little things, and the fast flying swift-like which flit over ther waves (Storm Peterel). I also saw a penguin and a seal which was frolicking about.

The jigs picked up another hake and also a penguin. The poor thing was in shock, and was not enjoying the bright lights or my orange suit. It even looked a little sea sick. I was unaware of how large penguin feet are. It seemed to be uninjured though, and was released when jigging was over.

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I asked (rather naively and perhaps insultingly) if it was going to be eaten – Abe said certainly not and looked astonished at my question. I was always led to believe that the Japanese ate everything there was to be had from the sea.

Tuesday 29 March 1988, Koei Maru 30.

I could not, but could not sleep. I set down at 4am and lay for four or five hours without sleep. Radioed Port Stanley and spoke with Crag – it was good, and tried to sleep again but couldn’t for at least an hour. Then I slept until 6pm. Completely bonkers.

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I am a little annoyed. It seems I have made little or no impression yet with the work I am doing and also with the Department itself. I don’t know, but I don’t feel as though they really care much about me, only the project I am working on. I can’t see that I’m an unlikable chap, I try maybe too hard.

I seem to be going through a bit of a bad patch – perhaps it is too much Dickens. I didn’t write any letters yesterday, in fact I didn’t do much. I am in a slump again and must act on it. I miss Deb and want to see her, or at least read her letters. I am now half way through this voyage, and nearly 10% through my contract.

I am keeping my earring hole open by daily putting a paperclip through it. Unhygienic but effective. I left all my earrings at home.

I wrote again to Mum and Ad. It’s funny, but I never seem to be able to express myself as well on paper (especially in letters), as when I compose things in my head. Perhaps I should make use of my tape recorder.

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Boring, Boring Chelsea

Chelsea strut their stuff

‘we deserve respect’ they bleat

no! You earn respect

 

by Scooj

I was prompted to write this following the Arsenal v Chelsea match last Sunday. It was a nil nil draw, which saw Chelsea play a negative defensive game. At the end of the match, the Arsenal fans sang ‘Boring boring Chelsea’, which was an ironic self-reference to the days when Arsenal were boring and used to grind out results without flair or class. That team were labelled ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’

Chelsea are a bit precious, and have been complaining to the media that they should be respected. So, despite leading the Premier League by a country mile, they have not endeared themselves with the British public, and this side unfortunately, are unlikely to remembered as anything other than efficient. They need to earn respect not expect it.

 

7. Roll, pitch, yaw

Friday 25 March 1988. Koei Maru 30

I have made friends formally now with the bosun bloke – he is called Abe (Abey) (I don’t know the spelling but that is as close as I can get) – he has been fishing for 20 years, most of that time in West Africa – from Senegal to Angola – for tuna. He learned his English at that time. He doesn’t like working on a jigger for two reasons; it is night work and you miss the days and it is not hot in the Falklands…well, compared to the equator, I should say not.

I am concerned about my weight – I seem to have lost a great deal it has occurred to me on going to sleep early this morning.

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Saturday 26 March 1988. Koei Maru 30

I have established that ‘breakfast’ is at 7-8pm. An odd time. Today I had two steaks – lots of pieces of tuna cooked on the pan and some lettuce and bread – a whole stack of it, with margarine and marmite. I think it all has had somewhat of an adverse affect on my poor stomach. Being 12:30am I can now tick off yesterday in the back – great! It has started up a bit choppy – the ship is rolling quite heavily at times and my stuff gets flung across the floor, or from one end of the cupboard or fridge to the other.

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The clinometer registers the amount of roll – I will investigate. I drank my first coffe from a can tonight while working in the pound – ‘Radar’ gave it to me. It was white with two sugars and Luke warm, but refreshing nonetheless. I was expecting much worse. Having said that, it was like drinking a coffee at the end of a dinner party which had been neglected for a quarter of an hour, due to excessive chat about this or that…what are you up to these days? Well I’m…=cold coffee.

It turned cold last night (today). I was cold in bed but too tired to put on my tracksuit – a tiresome problem encountered many times at Strathmore Crescent, Manor House Road and Holyhead Road. (These were all student digs I had at Newcastle and Bangor Universities).

I am totally absorbed by David Copperfield, I hardly want to put it down, I seem to be reading at the expense of all other things – which is not bad, since the other things tend to be gazing into space, sleeping or writing.