Fishing Adventure

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The ice was becoming a problem. I was on a 320 foot fishing vessel in the North Atlantic and we were fishing for crab. I was laying in my bunk after a twelve hour stint putting the pots in a line. We were going to let the pots sit for six hours so I had to sleep. The noise was something else and it seemed like the hull was being damaged every time we would hit a chunk of ice. I dozed off again and really was in a deep sleep when all of a sudden I heard a loud crash and felt the ship move to the port side and tip up. I fell out of my bunk and all of a sudden water was gushing all over the place. The alarms were going off which meant all men to stations.

We left out of Burbank and it was a great day. The sun was shining and the gulls were flying around the ship. It really was a great day and I had a smile from ear to ear. I was going fishing for the first time in my life. I was going to be a green-horn and this meant paying attention really close to what the old salty dogs were doing. We traveled for hours and hours to get to our fishing spot. I thought that the first thing I would be taught is the safety stuff and how to get into my gumby suit. I wondered if there was a life raft, no information was giving. I really had concerns about this fishing trip. How was I going to save myself if something happened. I didn’t want to sound like a wussy so I kept my mouth shut. The ship moved forward at thirty-knots of so and was moving along at a pretty good clip. We should arrive to our first fishing spot in due time.

I picked myself up after falling out of the bunk. I hit my head it was bleeding really bad. I grabbed a towel that was on the floor and wrapped it around my head. Boy did I have a pounding headache. I had to get out of here and see if anyone else was injured. I went up topside and didn’t see anyone and looked up to the bridge and couldn’t see the captain. Where had everyone gone? I looked out over portside and way out in the distance I could see a life raft. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everyone had jumped ship and left me here all by myself.

The ship was listing to one side but the engine’s were still running. I went into the bridge and tried calling SOS on the radio but all I could hear was squelch, or static. I frantically kept trying every channel on the radio and nothing was heard. I had taking some nautical classes in high school and decided that I had to try and get this ship to land somewhere. I looked at the map and plotted a path which took me to the Northern Tip of Canada. I moved the power handle to the Fast position and the ship moved forward a little faster. Several hours had gone by when I looked out over the bow of the ship and I could see land.

I could see a cove of some sort and I felt the only way I was going to get to shore was to beach this vessel. I was within five-hundred feet when I could hear some screeching at the bottom of the ship. I must of been scraping on the reefs bellows. The ship was still moving forward and I could see people at the waters edge in preparation of my crash landing. The ship hurled forward and crashed on the shore. I fell forward and then backward and banged my right knee on something hard. I lifted myself and checked myself for any other injuries. I was safe and on land. I climbed down the ladder and was met by this Canadian man. Bonjour my friend. Nice to see you parking this ship in my lagoon today. I was so happy just to know I was alive.

I waited for word about the rescue of my shipmates. They were never found. I survived this ordeal. Never again will I go out fishing, you never know when your luck will run out.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

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