“O whare will I get a skeely skipper?”
We’re on another adventure today. We’re going out on a creel boat from Pierowall with skipper Stewart McNab. He’s a local, born on Papay, but has lived and worked overseas. He’s a character.
It’s hard physical work for him, with the load lightened by the powerful engine driving the winch. It’s also dangerous, with industrial processes on a pitching and rolling boat. Then there’s surreal contrast of the beauty of the Atlantic and the North Sea as the diesel engine chugs.
One moment’s lack of concentration and you could lose a digit or a limb. It’s also an incredibly skilled job, steering the boat along a rocky coast with shipwrecks and hidden rocks in interesting weather. It wasn’t ‘lumpy’ when we were out, but there’s still a fair bit of pitch and roll.
It’s great to watch a seasoned professional doing any job, whether it’s fine art restoration, blacksmithing or fish filleting. The routines people have, the tools they trust and the programmed movements they do are all hard-earned and time-served.
The creels are heavy, hauled on board by a winch and then swung onto a bench where the correct size crabs and lobsters can be removed and the array of hangers-on at the party can be returned to the deep, or not-so-deep, depending upon the fathom gauge.
It’s good to know there are two radios on board.
We take photos of the birds as we travel and Stewart goes out of his way to make it a wonderful trip for us.
I love how boat-proud Stewart is. You can’t work efficiently on a messy boat and you can’t be safe on a dirty one.
I have many more photographs to come of the fish, the crabs, the lobsters and the birds we saw. I can’t wait to share them with you. Many thanks to Stewart for allowing us on board.
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