36. Delay and treachery

Some readers of this blog may not know that it is called Natural Adventures because it was started as a digitisation of a journal I kept during an adventure I had in the Falkland Islands in 1988 when I was a young man. I was a fisheries scientist working for the Falkland Islands Government, and at this point in the Journal had spent several weeks at sea on a Japanese squid jigger called the Koei Maru 30, and very much looking forward to some shore leave.

For context, it might be worth reading chapter 1, ‘An ill wind‘.

The full series of posts are in the ‘Falkland Journal, 1988′ category of the Natural Adventures blog, to be read in reverse order (from the bottom up).

Wednesday 13 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Well, I’m jolly batey (pissed-off) this morning. I have been told that in fact we’re staying out for a day longer than planned because, well, I don’t exactly understand why. Still, it has really pissed me (and many of the crew) off.

There was I this morning thinking that my sampling was the last I was going to do and feeling a little sad about it, when in fact I shouldn’t have done.

Actually, I’m not going to do a sample tomorrow – I’m going to be laid back and do gangion (jargon) counts only! So there!

I have just finished ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ what an incredible end – I never guessed. So Clever. I wish I could create something like that. A most enjoyable book, despite me taking so long to read it.

Thursday 14 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Once again a miraculous sunrise – if nothing else, I shall miss these when I leave these islands for good.

I have been racing through William Golding’s ‘Rites of Passage’ which is a topical and easy to read book. I am enjoying it.

A small bird (a petrel of some sort – perhaps a white-chinned petrel) (more likely a storm petrel) was sitting in the squid gutter. I took some piccies of it – poor thing is very bedraggled – I don’t know how these birds get in such a state – perhaps it is a disease or something – I don’t know.

Storm Petrel, Koei Maru 30, South Atlantic, July 1988
Storm Petrel, Koei Maru 30, South Atlantic, July 1988

Well, tomorrow we really will be in Stanley and my feet shall embrace terra firma for the first time in 34 days – what a luxury it will be, not to have to compensate for thee rolling of the ship – it is wearisome in the extreme.

A cutting:

Basking shark article, Falkland Islands, July 1988
Basking shark article, Falkland Islands, July 1988

Perhaps the Marine Conservation Society will be relevant to me one day – I hope so – it is a body I admire and would like to be involved with – perhaps I’ll drop them a line.

Friday 15 July 1988. Koei Maru 30/Port Stanley, Emma’s Guest House

A dull day, but home time. Up early.

So many problems – arrived in Stanley – the crew were all in good spirits.

The meeting with the Fishing Master, JJ (the Falkland Fisheries chief officer), me, Okida (the vessel owner?) and Crag went dismally. JJ insisted on 120 days. What a bloody nightmare. Poor Phil will have to take the brunt of the crew’s discontent.

It is all such a cock up, and working on the KM30 will be a nightmare for observers.

SHIT, I feel like a traitor, and they treated me like one. So sad.

My desk at Fishops, Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, July 1988
My desk at Fishops, Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, July 1988

I listened to granny’s tape letter – so good to hear all her news. Very sweet. I love her all the more for hearing it.

Went to Sean’s for chops with Phil – got very pissed – Back to Anna and Sean’s and then very, very drunk – a nice welcome home.

Saturday 16 July 1988. Port Stanley, Emma’s Guest House

I’m feeling morose. I have just realised how short my UK leave is. It is depressing. I’m also concerned about the long-lining. I am so angry with the Ice Master, who is being incredibly immature and hurtful – the Fishing Master too.

Phoned home and D and they all sound well. D sounded a little down, I can’t wait to be with her again. I miss her so much – this week will be a trial.

Crag has handed in his notice and will be leaving in late August. This is very sad. After he goes, there’ll only be Sean, Phil, Drin, Dan and Liz. I’m also depressed because I’m going to be spending a lot more time at sea when I come back, on a ship that hates me!

35. Sunrises

Some readers of this blog may not know that it is called Natural Adventures because it was started as a digitisation of a journal I kept during an adventure I had in the Falkland Islands in 1988 when I was a young man. I was a fisheries scientist working for the Falkland Islands Government, and at this point in the Journal had spent several weeks at sea on a Japanese squid jigger called the Koei Maru 30, and very much looking forward to some shore leave.

For context, it might be worth reading chapter 1, ‘An ill wind‘.

The full series of posts are in the ‘Falkland Journal, 1988′ category of the Natural Adventures blog, to be read in reverse order (from the bottom up).

Sunday 10 July 1988, Koei Maru 30

Today is full of promise. The sun is shining after a glorious sunrise which began with a deep blue-purple and a sliver of a crescent moon in a cloudless starry sky. The orange glows in the East then began and heralded this lovely crisp day.

Sunrise, South Atlantic, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Sunrise, South Atlantic, Koei Maru 30, July 1988

Another great bit of news is that I am to return to Port Stanley on the 14th, this coming Thursday. The Fishing Master also said that they would still be fishing when I returned from the UK and that they would have a party before returning to Japan, He is a real Jekyll and Hyde – I never quite know which mood I catch him in.

Today has fulfilled its promise, mainly in that it is nearly over. It has been sunny and clear, which lifts the depression which sets in during the gloom and overcast days. A few more Barry please. (an in joke with myself)

Now watching a Japanese war film – a little tactless I think, considering I’m English, but not to worry.

Japanese war film, doodle. Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Japanese war film, doodle. Koei Maru 30, July 1988

Monday 11 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Having looked forward so much to today’s radio session, I actually forgot it in my forgetfulness… eh?

I was instead having lots of fun in the factory deck. Abe is a great bloke – always poking fun, always playing the monkey. Very funny. I’m glad that people aged 28 or so can still be complete fools, it is refreshing.

Wrote possibly my last letter for a while to Mum and Ad. Talked about Abe and Mr Chiba.

Couldn’t get to sleep at all, I’m so excited about getting back to Port Stanley.

Tuesday 12 July 1988. Koei Mau 30

After three and a half hours sleep, I went to hold 4 and took loads of ‘crew at work’ piccies. I also took some photographs of one of the loveliest sunrises I’ve ever witnessed. The wispy clouds touched with pink. I wish it was a slide not a print!

Crew preparing baskets for the day's fishing, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Crew preparing baskets for the day’s fishing, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Abe and Abe the Bosun, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Abe and Abe the Bosun, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Crew on deck 4, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Crew on deck 4, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Young crew member with squid-baited long-line baskets ready for deployment, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Young crew member with squid-baited long-line baskets ready for deployment, Koei Maru 30, July 1988

Wrote a letter to D, telling her that I’m going completely bonkers. I am.

I am very tired, but have enjoyed today very much. The more I do this work, the more I enjoy it. Abe got me to top and tail and gut my hake today, which was a good compromise because it meant they readily gave them to me, and it also kept me busy.

I am mortified – I am devastated.

My final link with childhood – the bracelet I have worn every day since my A-levels has just broken – I feel torn and weak like Samson without hair. A great sadness for me. In tatters, I feel like crying but am too tired.

Bead bracelet broken, doodle, Koei Maru 30, July 1988
Bead bracelet broken, doodle, Koei Maru 30, July 1988

Actually, I don’t think I will ever sleep again. Or will I? 18:00hrs 12.7.88 – Bracelet RIP

34. Close to home

Some readers of this blog may not know that it is called Natural Adventures because it was started as a digitisation of an adventure I had to the Falkland Islands in 1988 when I was a young man. I was a fisheries scientist working for the Falkland Islands Government and at this point in the Journal had spent several weeks at sea on a Japanese squid jigger called the Koei Maru 30.

For context, it might be worth reading chapter 1, ‘An ill wind‘.

The adventure continues… (prompted by Cannibalrabbit to post about the Falklands again)


Thursday 7 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Once again we aren’t fishing – Today I think it was more of a holiday than bad weather, although the waves are quite big.

It has been a newspaper reading and letter reading day. It is weird, but I am loitering in late May and early June at the moment – London marathon and things like that.

I suppose Wimbledon is happening round about now. I feel detached from summer, it snowed for a while here today, so I find it difficult to connect.

Africa still calls. I yearn.

17 days and I will be home – Yahoo.

In reading my letters I discover that my mother writes excellent letters, they are a real inspiration. Alex too wrote a very good letter indeed.

Is Jasper really getting hitched? I sincerely hope not. Getting married has to be a questionable act.

“Girl you really got me going” – The Kink

Abe, crewman, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands, July 1988
Abe, crewman, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands, July 1988


Friday 8 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Spoke with John Barton this morning – it seems he wants me back by the 15th or so, that is fine by me, but when I broke the news to the Fishing Master he was not at all pleased – sometimes he is such a miserable sod.

The weather is still pretty poor, although there has been no snow or rain today.

There is so little that I can write about these days, I think boring is the phrase or word I would use to describe my life at the moment.

I pity Phil having to take over from me – I reckon He’ll get a pretty hard time of it.


Saturday 9 July 1988. Koei Maru 30.

Well if we do get into Port Stanley on the 15th then this is probably my last Saturday ever on the Koei Maru 30 – a joyous occasion, since each day of the week I spend here will now be my last of that day. I am scoffing my rations accordingly but will leave a few bits and bobs for Phil.

Why am I so bloody organised? I have devised loads of forms for Phil to fill out while he’s on board and have given him tons of info about how to get by. The truth being told, I don’t trust that he’ll do as good a job as me because he probably doesn’t give a monkey’s.

Coastal snow, Falkland Islands, July 1988
Coastal snow, Falkland Islands, July 1988

I have rediscovered my 0.70 Rotring pen which I used to often use for my lecture notes and diary etc back at Newcastle. Oh God, I miss my undergraduate days, they were a lot of fun and very exciting. The thing I’ve noticed most about being here is that I am not a kid any more and I can never be again – this is my biggest regret in life. If I had a wish, I would wish I could begin again – suffer the pains of school, puberty, embarrassment and the joys of discovery, adventure, exercise, childish fun.

It may sound pathetic, but I also consider a lot how good it would be to be a father – my time will come, but I am very excited about having children and being everything they could want from a father. Enough pondering. (Little did I know)

33. Thinking of home

Some readers of this blog may not know that it is called Natural Adventures because it was started as a digitisation of adventure I had to the Falkland Islands in 1988 when I was a young man. I was a fisheries scientist working for the Falkland Islands Government and at this point in the Journal was out at sea on a Japanese squid jigger called the Koei Maru 30.

For context it might be worth reading chapter 1, ‘An ill wind‘.

Previous chapters (in reverse chronological order) are listed here.

The adventure continues…


Sunday 3 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Today I had a lovely lie in – woken by the bell some time around 5am and then by the generator at about 6.15 or so. What it means of course is that I shan’t be able to sleep again tonight.

A bird is on  the deck, seemingly knackered, perhaps dying – I gave it some fish livers which it is eating quite happily. I hope it lives – I may take a piccie.

It is a dolphin gull and I think it has thrown in the towel – poor thing – I wish there was more I could do for it.

Watched Lethal Weapon (4th time) ace film, and smoked loads of ciggies and drank lots of beer and whiskey and am now ready for bed. I miss Deb so much – especially now when I know ‘home time’ is only three weeks away.

Whiskey and cigarettes, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands, 1988
Whiskey and cigarettes, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands, 1988


Monday 4 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

One year ago today we sat in the Annex (one of the residences at Bangor University where the overseas students lived) garden stuffing ourselves with home made beefburgers and cake and chicken and potato salad and beer and wine and it was a lot of fun – fighting off the mozzies as the chill of the summer evening set in, lighting fireworks and basically having a good time.

I will never forget Moyo’s dancing or Pia’s shirt. Andy Brooks threw a good party and I was happy. How can it all be a year ago? It seems so unfair that life slips by like this.

My cabin, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands 1988
My cabin, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands 1988

Life is sometimes a big disappoitment – never waste it, remember it and live the memories, enjoy them – they’re all we have when we die. Memories are all that is left. I remember Jeremy Jones with a good heart – he lives on in my mind. So sad. I shed a tear every now and then. How can he be gone? That’s it, he’s over.

My seagull has disappeared – I pray that it lived and flew off.

Sleep once again accompaned by a wee dram of scotch.

Slept well for a change (probably the five steaks!).


Tuesday 5 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Spoke to Liz on the blower.

I should be getting back to Port Stanley round about the 17th or so, but in looking at this I realise that it is a Sunday, so it will have to be the 15th or the 18th – it will be fun breaking the news to the Fishing Master!

Processsing deck, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands 1988
Processsing deck, Koei Maru 30, Falkland Islands 1988

I must be barmy bonkers.

Wrote a letter to Deb in which I told her that I smoke now,

God I wish I didn’t – my lungs now are burning and full of shit. I am in very poor condition. I dislike myself at the moment.

I wish I was home – I wish I didn’t have this blasted job.

Sod the expeience!

Sod this!

I miss home, and I’m ultra pissed off and my cabin is too hot and I’m sweating!



Wednesday 6 July 1988. Koei Maru 30

Slept terribly, only to wake up this morning and celebrate a day of no fishing. What makes today even better is the fact that we are sheltering from the rough seas in the shadow of Pebble Island.

I therefore am relatively happy

Very little else to write about – these non-working days are very long indeed.

31. Long, tiring days

This is another of my infrequent posts which is what Natural Adventures was originally set up for. For those of you unfamiliar with my Falkland Islands journal I will offer a quick recap. In 1988 I landed a job as a fisheries scientist working with the Falkland Islands Government on a contract just shy of a year. This blog is a faithful digitisation of the journal I wrote on that trip. For me, this is a catharsis, for you it may be an insight into the mind of a 24 year old on an exciting and challenging adventure.

The scene is set in the first post ‘An Ill Wind‘, which you might like to read for context.


Suday 26 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Aah, at last a day off. I slept so terribly, the rough sea rolled me about something rotten. It is a little better now, but would have been terrible if we had tried a set (setting the longline) this morning.

I think my stomach bugs are caused by the sashimi! my body just isn’t used to it. I must confess that the raw tuna is excellent.

Wrote letters to Mum and Ad and to Deb.

I have been considering a reply to Karen’s rather frustrated letter in which she seems to ask ‘what are we doing here?’ or something similar.

I’ve thought of many answers, but some may seem a little brutal, and sinceshe thinks I am a brute anyway I don’t want to upset her again.

Began to write my schedule for other scientists (I refuse to call them observers) who will work on the KM30 while I am on leave, namnely Crag and Phil.

I am still furious about my tax position with PDA – this company seems to be nothing but trouble.


Monday 27 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

A beautiful sunrise – I wonder if I will see such lovely sights again when I return to the UK – for starters I don’t think I will ever be up in time!

I hear Africa calling

Africa calling

Possibly cos I’m listening to African Sanctus at this moment.

Some more pretty corals today – I should be able to build up quite a good collection.

Several albatross were caught up in the lines today – I think they go for the squid bait  when the line is deployed and get caught up, dragged down and drown – it is very sad indeed. I also thought it was unlucky to kill an albatross, but maybe that is only if it is intentional.

Black browed albatross and giant peterels alongside the Koei Maru 30, 1988
Black browed albatross and giant peterels alongside the Koei Maru 30, 1988

Not long now ’til home.


Tuesday 28 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I’m getting sick and tired of saying long, tiring day, but today really was – I hope I get some decent sleep.

Had a good radio chat with Elizabeth today – she’s also due for a break in August. She gets two holidays in the time I’ve only had one! RAW DEAL!

The fishing was ace today – I hope it puts egg on the Fishing Master’s face – the crew were working fairly close to capacity I reckon.

5 tons/day, yeah pull the other one shortie!

Zone IV has been the best covered so far – all this is quite a laugh really.

Wrote a letter to Beth – very sweet of her, Charlie and Carl to write, but thwen I suppose I did write first. Letters are my life-blood.

Watching ‘With love from Oregon ’87’ for the third time – what a terrible drama, but a gorgeous half Indian (red) (OMG – we don’t say that these days – native north American) half Japanese girl of about 16 in the starring role.

I now feel at ease with all but two of the crew – ‘Rolf Harris’ and Iagi – they don’t seem to want to be friendly. I’ve made good friends with the grumpy old man – he’s really quite a good bloke.

Abe and Abe, crew members of the Koei Maru 30
Abe and Abe, crew members of the Koei Maru 30

Aah – shower and bed – nice.


Wednesday 29 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

A short day – it became too rough to set more than 60 lines (baskets). It was all over by 7.30am. So I decided to sleep, to make up for lost sleep last night – unfortunately this means that I won’t be tired and won’t be able to sleep tonight – vicious circle.

It’s funny but however hard I try I just can’t conjure up any original thoughts – I have none, so my diary becomes a dull, dreary account of my days and not an abstract random selection of my thoughts. I hope the reader (if any) will bear with me. It must be obvious that I’m not very happy at the moment, perhaps this can explain sume of this mundainity (is there such a word?).

As I write I often wonder if any of my children or grandchildren (if I have any) will pick up my diaries and read them. Perhaps they will understand me better for it and see into who I am a little more clearly.


30. Overslept

Just a quick recap – This blog ‘Natural Adventures’ was set up so that I could digitise a journal I wrote while working in the Falkland Islands in 1988. The Haiku and street art took over completely, but every now and then I like to get back to my roots. For any readers who have not seen any of this Falkland stuff before, it is worth getting some context from my first post ‘An Ill Wind’.


Wednesday 22 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I think I have a slight stomach bug – I am not sure of the cause – it causes only a little pain, but it’s there. Today will be a long day again, 450 lines deployed. Wrote letter No 49 to Deb. That isn’t bad, 49 letters and cards in 106 days since I’ve been here. Admittedly, they aren’t as long as they were, but they still keep coming (going).

The Desire (one of the patrol vessels) came – yahoo – and delivered loads of letters and papers – I am glowing. It has been a very good day.

A school of dolphins passed by and I took some snaps, some new fish came up, I got some lovely corals and a hairy winkle (pardon?!).

The fish, the best one, unfortunately ended up as sashimi.


I now smell really fishy!

All my doubts and fears about Deb have cleared away – I’m a happy bunny – Mum and Karen and granny’s letters are all ace. I still want to get home though.


Thursday 23 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

My stomach bug continues, but it is mild. My shit is like liquid ‘caramac’, but not quite so tasty I’m sure.

It has bee an idyllic day – calm and sunny – loads of photos (none very good)

The catch has been good – I would guess at about 2.5 to 3 tonnes of Kingu (Kingclip). I hate this work and I want to go home – all my letters (which I received yesterday) are now haunting me. I don’t think I’m content here – I could not live this way for the rest of my life.

My last duty of the day (changing my camera film and sticking the slide reference number in my journal) before showering and turning in. These days are so long, I don’t have much time for reading or letters – a shame really, but it is good that I am occupied.

Saw some ace penguins hop out of the sea Vertically onto a patch of floating kelp. It was very funny. I thought I was in for a superb sunset, but I was wrong.



Friday 24 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

My bug seems to be over, which is a relief. So many birds today.

What I’m thinking right now is why do I get spots?

Now I know ‘Queen Mab’ properly. Now to set about the whole part of Mercutio. Will I ever achieve it?

Amongst my letters was one from Granny G. She had sent me a tape, but I never received it, which is a terrible shame – it would have had all the family news in it. I still don’t know if Simon and Sue are married yet. Nobody has mentioned it to me. (Reading this paragraph now in 2017 rather breaks my heart. I would love to hear my grandmother’s voice on a tape trapped in that year of 1988.)

29 days and I’ll be home! yahoo. Until then I wait.

Articles about the Falkland Islands
Articles about the Falkland Islands

My cabin is a tip – I love it like this – my papers and magazines all over the floor, a full bin, folders strewn everywhere. A mixture of work and leisure.


Saturday 25 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I may as well use up this space (alongside an article I stuck in my journal) it seems such a waste otherwise. A beautiful sun rise but not a beautiful day. It is choppy, the waves are cutting across our path and the ship is rolling like billyo.

Times article about the Falkland Islands, 25 May 1988
Times article about the Falkland Islands, 25 May 1988

So many people have said how vivid my letters are – I can;’t believe them. Frankly I think they are dull, uninteresting and badly written, but there we are.

Yuk! I’ve just disposed of a tin of custard down my gob – in times of hardship one loses all self-pride – It’s so true.

I forgot to mention that I am now an expert in chopstick (hachi) management. Pretty bloody cool.

28. Cottoperca gobio

Any readers who have not encountered this story on my blog before, I recommend you take a quick look at the first entry ‘an Ill Wind‘ to provide some kind of context. As you can see, this is the 28th excerpt from my 1988 journal, and it will appear meaningless without some context setting. The full catalog of chapters so far is in the ‘Falkland Journal, 1988’ category on the left of this page.


Monday 13 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Spoke to Drin on the radio. JB is at this moment on the Right (one of the Falkland Islands fisheries patrol vessels), trawling. It looks very much like I’m on my own. I spent two hours talking to the Fishing Master. He and I now are in good form – he is a good man and cares for his crew. The contract should have included a certain amount of input from him. It was worked out by imbeciles who knew little about the fishing operation. I understand that now.

I have just been watching Crocodile Dundee, but at the critical moment have been cut off – a subtle lunch hint I think.

Spent the evening with Sato (gold tooth) and Naganuma and we watched a couple of porn videos. They became boring very quickly – the only interest I have is trying to understand why the hell people perform in such videos…are they desperate for money? or exhibitionists? very strange.

Tuesday 14 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

40 days to go!

I can’t believe that this is all I had to write on this day! wrote to Louise and Deb.

Prepared for fishing. Did some ace drawings I reckon.

Wednesday 15 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Stand by at 0200 hours – what a nightmare. I hardly slept at all before and I had difficulty afterwards. False alarm, the sea was too heavy, so we moved to the southeast (Zone II).

Spoke with Drin and some idiot on the Falkland Right. People really piss me off sometimes.

Oops I think it was Dave ‘intense’, the one who I didn’t know.

I have arranged for Mr Ikido to deal with the problem of trawlers and traffic – delegation, that is the key to power.

Smoking still – I wish I would stop, but the day drags on so.No smoking before 1200 hours but maybe 4-8 after that. I am looking forward to going home, not least because I’ll be able to stop. (Something that took a further twelve years to conquer!)

No more pictures today. I think that stand by tomorrow is at 0300 hours. Bed early tonight.

I am watching a Japanese TV drama (It’ll last for hours) about blackmail – they really go in for these ‘video dramas’.

My spots under my stubble are still flourishing. I feel fairly ugly at the moment, but my spirits are high.

Thursday 16 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

What a bloody day. Quite exciting really, but very tiring and bloody annoying when the bastard Fishing Master holds you responsible for all the problems.

Caught this amazing monster fish, like a giant goby or blenny and called Cottoperca gobio – yellow, green and gold with a beautiful dorsal fin. See photos.

The whole long-lining process is a bit of a miracle. A production line for the set – really primitive, but thoroughly effective.

Saw a whole bunch of gentoo penguins, loads of albatross too – a real wildlife day. It would be great if I didn’t have to bloody do something! 30 more days of this – I may go bananas!


I’m so bloody tired I feel like a zombie – I may if I’m lucky, grab 6 or 7 hours sleep tonight. I pray for bad weather!


Friday 17 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Another long hard day. Some very interesting things coming up, so I was happy. I got some corals, with any luck I could get them home to Deb, or add them to my collection.

I am still motivated by marine life – there were loads of echinoderms and possibly crinoids today, as well as some ace fish, but none of it what the Fishing Master wants. He and the crew are restless.

Unknown spp, caught by the long-liner Koei Maru 30 in Falkland Islands waters June 1988
Unknown spp, caught by the long-liner Koei Maru 30 in Falkland Islands waters June 1988

A penguin was gaffed up.

The sea was rough today and waves were pouring into the factory deck.


I am once again very tired and want to go to sleep, but I’m sure that, like last night, I won’t find it easy.

Roll on July!

19.Turning Japanese

Wednesday 4 May 1988, Koei Maru 30

It is almost the end of Wednesday. Yesterday was quite a busy day…by yesterday I mean last night. Although there were very few squid, I managed to do two samples. I also helped remove the viscera from the bodies for my second sample. These squid will be used as presents for the crew’s families.


I cannot eat my breakfast yet because all the crew members are asleep in the ship’s mess/saloon. I must wait until the ship stops, although I have no idea when that will be.

Thursday 5 May 1988, Koei Maru 30

It is just as well that I drew those pictures, because I wrote practically nothing yesterday. Instead I read and wrote letters. This evening I have hurt my back again, just a little twinge this time, but a warning

We have sailed west to the edge of the zone. I would not like to leave it. I think the Argies have some fishing patrol boats of their own, and I would not like to be boarded by an Argentinian fisheries officer.

I am now looking forward to a bit of time in Port Stanley, I have been out at sea this time for three weeks now! I would quite like a bit of fun time on a patrol vessel – I would like to use the gymnasium.


Slept very badly once again. I may have to resort to a couple of stugeron fairly soon. Watched Deathwish – a good film despite having seen it twice before and it being in Japanese! Another week is over. Three gone, how many left to go?

I want Stanley (nowlookatthemessyou’vegottenmeinto) soon. I cannot eat much more of this rich food without having a heart attack.

Friday 6 May 1988, Koei Maru 30

Not a bad day. The best part was hearing from John on the radio that I would be picked up by a fishing patrol boat on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Obviously a lot depends on the weather, but I live in hope. Otherwise I could be stuck on here until about 20 May – this would be terrible.

I may have made another real blunder on the radio, when complaining to John that the conversion factor is way out. He seemed to brush it aside casually and changed the subject pronto. oops!

I had three beers (and 3three cigs – God they’re bad for you) and watched TV and slept, and slept, and slept.

Curious dreams:

  • Busking competition in a library, some trendy geezer borrowed my guitar and played it from the neck, letting it dangle…


  • Jim and I are going to a pub in Highgate full of weirdos and under-age drinkers – I try to order a bottle of cider for Jim and two pints of bitter for me. It takes an hour for me to get served, during which time Tippy (my step brother) appears with a rucksack on his back. Jim has disappeared when I get served, somebody nicks my bottle of cider and I get furious and rude, but end up with a beer tipped all over me in the struggle.
  • Working in a bank with a whole bunch of moaning graduates. Mealtime is £10 a head to eat at the bank, with yellow lobster, cucumbers, lettuce, salami, but nothing to drink, so we all trundle off down the road…it becomes Covent Garden…to a small shop to get some orange drink from a kind of pump, which I can’t operate. Too bad, I only get half an orange drink. I return to the bank, the front of which has turned into a pub, but the bank is inside, to find that most people have now finished their lunches. I contemplate this and decide that sandwiches are the best way out of this terrible situation.

11. Land Ho!

Wednesday 6 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

My breakfast (actually yesterday) was steak again, with prawns, chips and macaroni. 3 enormous steaks was all I could manage. I am beginning to tire a little of them, but I do love them so.

The time is going quickly now. The days drift from one into another and I’m sure that in no time at all I shall be home on holiday. I think for me Italy has to be the answer.

I have just eaten a fruit salad that had some peculiar jelly-like cubes in it. They were clear and disintegrated much more easily than jelly. I asked Abe what it was and he said it was made from ‘sea leaf’ so I take it that it is agar gel from seaweed. It was completely tasteless and probably only in the fruit salad as a cheap filler, like sawdust in sausages.

From the same conversation it looks like we will be returning to Stanley on the 9th or 10th of this month – it is good to know that it is sooner rather than later!

Thursday 7 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

I can’t help thinking that my diary and my mind’s capabilities are being severely disrupted by the volume of letters I am writing – they are sapping my inspiration. I also feel cheap because of them – I write many of the same things to people – sometimes using exactly the same words…

e.g. Houses in Stanley – Allotment garden. ‘Well to do’ shanti town.

Reading a great deal – David Copperfield. Theroux.

Zzz snore! – I only hope that those to whom I am writing enjoy the letters I suppose it is better than no letter at all.

Her waggoner, a small grey coated gnat,

Not half so big as a little round worm

Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;

Her chariot is an empty hazel nut 

Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub,

Time out o’minds the fairies’ coach makers.

And in this state, she gallops night by night

Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love

O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight;

O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;

O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream;

Nananuma has been very sweet. He has made an order for cornflakes and milk for the next voyage – what a good bloke.

It is at this moment as I write (10 minutes to 7am) and it is still not light, and very little sign of becoming so.

Friday 8 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

Radioed Crag today – I definitely have a month off in Britain. Much of the conversation was about getting picked up, time in Stanley etc…


I have talked with the crew much more over the past couple of days. The poor chaps care only about one thing – sex – they wait with eagerness to get to Montevideo, so they can see ‘street girls’. I find this very depressing – they discuss very little else.

I am in a bit of a void at the moment, reading wise; the print in HG Wells selected short stories is too small and I have difficulty reading it. The alternative, Conrad’s Typhoon, is impossible – the dictionary syndrome – it is irritation to a degree. I have a mental block with Conrad.

Saturday 9 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

How odd. I was sitting wondering what to do, trying to shake off a terrible dreariness when:


So off I went. A message came from the KSJ office to say that the ETA for Koei Maru No30 in Stanley will be 7.00 tomorrow morning – they will arrange for me to be collected by the warrah.

This is good news – whoopee! yahoo! A day early

The other bonkers thing is that it has turned out to be bloody cold and when I came back from the radio room it was bloody snowing hard. Can you believe it? Yup. April bonkers showers.

Sunday 10 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

I got up with the sun, although I hadn’t been able to sleep a wink, I feel at least that I have been to bed. It is a very cold morning and the ship has arrived in Berkeley Sound – it is almost enough to make me cry, to see land again – it is beautiful and covered in a light scattering of snow. I must brace myself for the bad news that I might not be picked up until tomorrow – God I hope it’s today. A lovely thought – after my week in Stanley, only half of April will be left and then it will be May.

10. Romeo and Juliet

Sunday 3 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

I wonder how Arsenal did yesterday. I have written to Sean, holding him to his promise of sending me cuttings of Arsenal’s progress.

I have almost finished David Copperfield. What a deeply moving book – I find myself laughing and crying throughout the book. I shall be sad to finish it.

I spend my whole time looking forwards or backwards in time. I keep making plans for Deb and me to go on  a holiday together for a week – perhaps to a Greek island, or to Sicily or to Corsica or to Siena or anywhere – I live in that dream.

I also think much about my school days and the third chapter in my life – Cholmely, but I can’t put it on paper yet. (Cholmely was the upper-junior school that I went to from age 9-11)

I am learning Queen Mab’s speech – this is what I know.

She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes

In shape no bigger than an agate-stone

On the fore-finger of an alderman:

Drawn with a team of little atomies

Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep

I have finished D.C. – I am sad at this prospect. I feel I have myself lived the life of David Copperfield, that I have loved little Emily and that I do love Agnes. Having finished, I am left with the grim reality that I am thousands of miles away from my family and close friends. While Dickens can act to halt progression of my ‘disease’, he cannot cure it. I lived each minute of that book. I know intimately my Aunt, Mr Dick, Dr Strong and his wife Anne, Traddles whom I consider to be a best friend. What a sadness that they are all dead, the author too. Enough mourning. I must read some other books. (It’s lucky I bought so many!). (11 days for Copperfield!)

blog pics  001 10 July 15

A comment from the present day (2015) to put the significance of this last entry into some kind of context. I was never much of a reader in my youth, and only reluctantly read books on into my twenties, preferring to bury myself in my studies, or watching TV. Looking back, I think reading David Copperfield was a life-changing event. There are many of these kinds of events in this journal.

There are also the first signs of a ‘madness’ creeping into my writings, and it feels a bit strange reading them now.

Monday 4 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

Wrote to Pia and Louise B. Both good friends and good company – as before – writing to them made me feel I was with them – what an incredible thing the mind is.

Milk in a ring-pull can!!

blog pics  002 10 July 15

Sabudo gave me a crate of this stuff – he is looking after me very well indeed. what a good bloke.

Continued Mabs:

Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs;

The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;

The traces, of the smallest spider’s web;

The collars, of the moonshines watery beams;

Her whip, of cricket’s bone; the lash, of film;

I radioed Stanley and spoke with Crag. I will wait definitely until the KM30 comes into Stanley/Berkley Sound. I am worried about how much time I will actually get on land. I am also worried that I may be being short-changed a bit. Crag said Drin would be coming in, she has been at sea a month – this is not true, she has been at sea less time than me!

Tuesday 5 April 1988, Koei Maru 30.

Watched ‘Inspector Clouseau’ today on video – what a load of cobbler’s – it was an old film (’60s). The highlight for me was that ‘Catweasel’ was in it, playing a chocolate factory porter/watchman. It was a very weak film indeed, but I’m not sure whether it pre-dates or post dates the Pink Panther films. Wrote to Mr Radford and J&J.