Scratching my own funny bone for shits and giggles. Lampooning books, music and being a single woman over 40. Recording observations with an almost Seinfeldian obsession for the minutiae of life. Things can get sweary around here. You understand.

Monday, August 17, 2009

MAY YOUR RODS BEND OFTEN

Sometimes words seem entirely inadequate to full express the magnitude of an experience. Deep sea fishing off Hervey Bay is an example of my current dilemma…but I shall valiantly attempt to do so regardless. As I wobbled my way from my bed to the keyboard this morning…aching from head to foot I am struck by the notion that I am forever changed. What can I say? If you’ve never done it you simply must! (already with the cliches) Aussie and I load up the BT-50 early Friday morning and set off north for the four hour trip up the coast, picking up Spaz and Johnny on the way. Wearing my best cream woolen coat and jeans the guys rib me endlessly on the way. I soon realise this was a fair call when we board the boat at the Hervey Bay mariner: the Aussie Rules it was not. My accommodation for the next three days was a stinking damp cupboard sized cabin in the hull of a filthy charter boat. Our opening safety instructions warned of the perils of using the toilet or shower in the bow of the ship whilst the boat was in motion. Apparently people have cracked ribs and skulls attempting to do so…fabulous. With a gutful of sea sickness tablets, ten seasoned fisherman and a first-timer set sail in the dark for the overnight passage into the ocean. Our destination: one hundred and twenty kilometres off-shore. I was rocked to sleep that first night: my head resting on a hard and putrid pillow (note to self: take own bedding and plastic drop sheet next time) Not a glamorous beginning I think to myself…but these feelings melt away the moment I step onto the deck early the next morning…breathtaking views of nothing but swelling ocean and sun. All my fears were forgotten in that instant and despite a vow to wear a life-jacket all weekend, I didn’t reach for one then nor for the rest of the trip. Dressed like a grub I hit the ground running. Let the games begin! Aussie hands me his rod to take care of while he rigs up mine. The moment I grab it and steady myself the line begins tugging and I pull in a four kilo Pearl Perch from one hundred metres below. Stoked! This fishing lark is easy I say to myself…but alas the action stops. You know that saying ‘watched water never boils’? Everytime someone lit a cigarette or cracked open a beer their rod would bend. Sure enough, the moment I sat down to eat breakfast there’s a shout from the deck. ‘Someone’s rod’s going off!’…oh man…that’s mine! Whatever the hell that was down there was freakin’ BIG…everyone swarmed around me to shout encouragement and God knows I needed it. I was pulling in a monster from one hundred and fifty metres below the surface and I thought my arms were going to fall off such was the effort…but I kept at it. Got me a seven kilo Red Snapper I did!!! From that point I made sure my rod was bending all weekend…I was hooked! (sorry…had to be done) All in all I bagged two Pearl Perch (both around four kilo) two Pig Fish, two Parrot fish, a huge bloody Cod and the mammoth SNAPPER! I would have had a few more if it weren’t for the opportunistic sharks snagging the big ones on the way up (the first time I wrangled a shark I was nearly pulled into the ocean…yet I kept on regardless…are you proud of me?) I fell exhausted into bed around 8pm that second night but found it difficult to sleep. We were anchored near a continental shelf and the waves relentlessly slapped the boat…a sensation akin to swimming with earplugs inside the bladder of a waterbed. Again the day time more than made up for any discomfort. We saw plenty of humpback whales up close: breaching magnificently and slapping the surface with their dorsal fins (sorry the photos are blurry...need more memory) and sea birds jackknifing the surface but the highlight was being up on the front deck while the boat rode the waves as the skipper manoeuvered us through the sand bar. To top it off a school of dolphins raced along with us! The perfect weekend. I’m burnt and sore but very very happy…might have to bake me a fish tonight…mashed potato stuffing, lots of greenery, chilli, garlic and lemon!

22 comments:

Dr Yobbo said...

Sounds a tops weekend Nat - win frosted with awesome. Will even forgive the godawful fishing puns.

Moko said...

Just awesome.

I loved the puns.

bangarrr said...

Well done Nat. Fishing with explosive bait is more efficient but does take the fun out of it.

uamada said...

Wow i have been deep sea a few times and you caught more than I have in total

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

U: To be fair the skipper was awesome...he had plenty of electronic equipment to guide his choice of spots.

BANG: I was considering throwing a gas cylinder into the mouth of any shark that decided to launch itself onto the back of the boat.

MOKO: Thanks babe.

YOB: Couldn't help meself guvna!

Barnesm said...

For someone who says there are no words, you did a magnificent job of inspiring envy in me for your experience.

John Masefield has nothing on NatalieV

LERMONTOV said...

Great STuff!

Anneal said...

grub...lol
The magnitude of nature is seldom appreciated by most land lovers. Wonderfull photos and story
No walking the plank games though?

Steve said...

While I've been out on the ocean since, the last time it involved fishing was going for ling on a school trip when I was about 12. I will never forget the image of all of the class beauties, cheerleaders, tough guys, etc, who spent the entire time laying on the benches, with green faces, and occasionally running to the side to hurl over the deck.

Watching the prettiest girl in the 7th grade hurl her guts out changes your opinion of her really quickly.

Well done Nat, and you made some great catches!

Bondiboy66 said...

Sounds great Nat! Glad you avoided using the gas cylinder though.

Yeah that sleeping on a rocking boat takes some getting used to doesn't it? Or the feeling that you are still moving when you get back to dry land.

I like Dr. Yob's 'win frosted with awesome' - you are a wordsmith! and it fits the bill nicely.

Bondiboy66 said...

Oh I should add, seeing whales at sea is something else eh? Some years back, one time I went diving on the Barrier Reef we passed a humpback whale breaching i.e. jumping out of the water. It is a truly amazing sight to see this crature roughly twice the size of your boat leaping out of the water! We got reasonably close to it - though not close enough for it to go landing on the boat (thankfully!).

Love the haircut too - time to trade in that fretless bass for a Hofner I think!

Domestic Daze said...

Sounds like a perfect weekend. Hope you have many more, I am so jealous.

yankeedog said...

Sweet! Nice job Nat! That's a good haul of fish by most anyone's standards.

Was that your first time out, or have you done this before?

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

YANKEE: Never been before my friend. Beginner's luck!

DD: I hope to do it again real soon.

BONDI: Well the hair is looking a bit more respectable today...it was all blown forward...it's now back to it's natural rock'n'roll state! As for the wobbles...I got them BIG time. Nearly fell off the loo at the mariner and almost crashed through the glass door of my shower. Yikes. And yeah the whales are pretty damn special. So many out there at this time of year.

STEVE: I'm proud to say I didn't hurl at any stage. Iron guts!

ANNEAL: Thanks! Walking the plank games? Nuh. I'd poke red hot steel into my own foot before doing that.

LERM: It was man!

BARNESM: Ah your visits are good for my ego sweets.

Flinthart said...

SAVAGELY goddam jealous... haven't gone deep-sea fishing in many a year. (But yeah, those sharks can be a bit toey, eh?)

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

FLINT: Thankfully the lines are designed to snap under a certain amount of pressure...still, I was scared stupid being wrenched in half over the edge of the boat.

NowhereBob said...

Nice one Sista!
Them "Men in grey suits" are just remarkable, they can take a fish (that is obviously very very keen not to be eaten) millimeter perfect across the end of the gill latch, leaving naught for you but a head & gills.
Looks like a blinder of a trip. You were blessed with a lovely spell of weather, it's a lot more uncomfortable in 3m seas & 20 knots. Believe me. But suprisingly enough if you are tired enough you can still sleep in the worst conditions.
RE Hygene & accomodation standards I think you are a touch more, um, discerning than the average punter on an offshore charter.

So.(fingers drumming)
Who is Aussie?

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

BOB: The weather was kind to us my friend! Perfect conditions in fact. As for the accomodations standards...they'd probably get a lot more women onto boats if they at least changed the sheets once in a while! And yeah...quite a few people ended up with just the head on the hook. Johnny lost two Snappers that way...oh and Aussie is short for Austin and he's a MAN baby! ;-)

YsambartCourtin said...

I like the photo progression from "Goodness, I'm not sure about this, a fish" to the "Another fish! Yeahhh!" look :)

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

BART: Ha! Lurve catchin' 'em...still not so sure about the touching them...

Abe said...

F*ck I'm jealous!

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

ABE: Yup! I had no idea what I was missing out on.

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