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.

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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.

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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.

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29. Long-lining

Back to my roots for a moment. This whole blogging experience began in February 2015, when I was taken ill with ‘flu and had to spend several days in bed. For a long time I had wanted to digitise a journal I wrote in 1988 but simply hadn’t had the time. Being Ill afforded me the chance to get started.

Since then I have been increasingly distracted by haiku and street art and feel bad that I have for so long neglected the original purpose of ‘Natural Adventures’.

The full journal can be accesses by clicking on the homepage of Natural Adventures under the heading on the left ‘Falkland Journal, 1988’. For context it is worth reading the first entry ‘An Ill Wind’. Enjoy.

Falkland Islands diary homepage

 

Saturday 18 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I woke at 06:05 with a start and a half – I couldn’t believe that I had overslept by four hours. Panic! Perhaps it was the double mattress.

Sleeping on a double mattress
Sleeping on a double mattress

But there was no standby bell. There was no fishing today. I don’t understand why because the weather has been good, despite a gentle swell of about 15 feet or so. Possibly just to give the crew a rest

The reason I was given was “the parameter” ?? eh? I thought, then I realised they were saying “barometer”.

I watched Mosquito Coast – a good film, but inclined to depress me.

Now King Kong Lives has just begun. I never knew such a film existed – looks like it could be good.

King Kong
King Kong

I quite enjoyed King Kong, the remake, but this film looks slightly laughable.

Today I have spoken no more than fifteen words. This makes me sad.

 

Sunday 19 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Another long hard day. This is more like it! I think that this is ten times better than squid fishing. I’m sure my enthusiasm will fade before long, but the fact that there are only twenty or so bottom long-liners in Japan and this is the only Jigger-long-liner makes me feel quite lucky. This is my baby and I am going to do a good job!

Today some grenadiers, and at last some Patagonian Toothfish. I think the Fishing Master was pleased, hence the saki at supper – it is potent stuff – yummie.

Crew on the Koie Maru 30 processing long-line caught fish, Falkland Islands 1988
Crew on the Koie Maru 30 processing long-line caught fish, Falkland Islands 1988

Last night I had a very vivid dream about Mr Baker (my housemaster at school) as he was when I first met him twelve years ago. I think he is ill or dying or dead, I don’t know why, but I just get that feeling. He was so friendly (in the dream) and knew who I was – he came over to me and started chatting – I felt close to him, like I did in my final year at school. Odd.

Tomorrow I talk to Fishops via KSJ (the fishing agent) – why is it always like this? Fishops radio, like everything else is so bloody inefficient!

 

Monday 20 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Today is colder and the catch is very poor – no doubt the Fishing Master will be in a rather bad mood today.

I am sure that before long, there will be an accident in the factory deck. Already the Ice Master has gaffed his own leg. Next it will be a finger in the circular saw or a hook in the face. It is bound to happen sooner or later.

‘Don’t give up ’cause you have friends
Don’t give up you’re not the only one
Don’t give up no reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up you still have us
Don’t give up now we’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up you know its never been easy
Don’t give up ’cause I believe there’s a place there’s a place where we belong’

This could keep me going for a while.

Everyone has gone to bed sharpish (it is now 7pm). After some 17 hours work I don’t yet know if we work tomorrow. I fear so, because we are steaming now to a new fishing ground.

There is a…what? I’ve forgotten – oh yes, a patrol ship the Falkland Desire on its way to deliver some letters for me. So I am writing a whole bunch of pre-paid airmail letters.

 

Tuesday 21 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Oops – I overslept this morning, thinking that after such a tough day yesterday they would have a day off – no such luck.

Luckily the Fishing Master writes down times, temperatures etc. for the set and deployment, so it isn’t so bad missing the start.

Saw some penguins in a school, leaping like dolphins out of the water – and a seal, playing with a dead Salilota (red cod).

Peterels and Black browed albatross feed on discarded fish waste, Falkland Islands 1988.
Peterels and Black browed albatross feed on discarded fish waste, Falkland Islands 1988.

I’ve taken some otoliths for myself to try to help explain the work I do.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take some photographs of such things (for my lectures!)

Some funny dreams last night about getting caught sleeping with Emma W by my dad – very odd – try to interpret that. All in all very confusing.

It is now about 5.30pm and I am ready for a good night’s sleep. I’ll continue to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and then I’ll dream of Deb and home.