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 onĀ  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!

Bollocks!

 

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.

2748. L Dub (13)

The unofficial king of L Dub, Dun Sum has created this magnificent and rather weird long fantasy seascape, making excellent use of a wall that is otherwise difficult to paint. He has skilfully written his name – somewhat disguised – to the left of his main character. In the feature picture you might be able to make out SUM, the DUN is a little too far away.

Dun Sum, L Dub, Bristol, January 2020
Dun Sum, L Dub, Bristol, January 2020

The character is a wonderful imagined creature of the sea, part hermit crab, part jelly fish, part squid wearing a fine pair of what look like ski-goggles. the character is accompanied by a couple of other creatures including a six-armed starfish (not as uncommon as you might think in the natural world. A fun and unusual piece.

1840. Upfest 2018 (81)

It wasn’t until Upfest this year that I discovered that I already knew The Hass, but under another name (there is a clue in the piece itself). It would seem that he has two street personas, one for his profession as a designer, and the other for recreation. I can tell you now that all of his work under whatever name is brilliant, and this piece is emblematic of that.

The Hass, Upfest, Bristol, October 2018
The Hass, Upfest, Bristol, October 2018

I am always going to favour an underwater scene and this one takes some beating. It really creates the impression of being under the sea, with the skylight creating a small shimmer at the top of the piece. There is a great story here, although it rather defeats me…the diver’s face looks like a carved pumpkin, but might be a skull.

The Hass, Upfest, Bristol, October 2018
The Hass, Upfest, Bristol, October 2018

There is a ship in a bottle that morphs into the diver’s helmet and octopus tentacles all over the place. Another nice touch are the goofy three-eyed fish from The Simpsons that also make it into Louis Masai’s coral reef piece from this year’s festival. There is another The Hass piece just off Park Street that I must photograph when I get a chance.

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 baitĀ  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.