White-crested waves on the winter Atlantic Ocean.
White-crested waves on the winter Atlantic Ocean.

Morning dawned bitter cold, another winter
Fishing trip on brutal North Atlantic. As we
Steamed o
ffshore, beyond 20 nautical miles,
W
aves foaming, dark, white-capped, heaving,
Wind blowing, freezing spray, low clouds on
Horizon s
cudding. 

Marine weather forecast grim, we were in
Th
ick of it, committed trawlermen, enduring
Leaden
waves, breaking over rusted steel
Decks, washing over boots, cables straining,
Trawl d
oors cutting deep brine, by God’s
Mercy, w
e were fishing again.

Day of cold pains, pushing southeast towards
Brighter clouds, maneuvering for following
Seas o
ff the port stern quarter. With first sets,
As w
e hauled in fish-bulging net, ice on chafing
Gear, 22 degrees and falling, b
reath steaming,
Feet pounding steel for feeling.

Plotting towards deep-sea canyons, conditions
Worsened, winds picked up, t
empests wailing in
Rigging, true gale b
lowing, flags flying, spray
On b
ow freezing, crashing on the wheelhouse,
Green over white lights burning, whispered
Pr
ayers to God, we were fishing again.

As net dragged, we took time for warming
Cups of coffee, to defrost our hands. Even
With neoprene gloves, cold set in, slowly,
Deliberately, it owned the day, as did foam-
Streaked
waves. We slowly cut back towards
W
est, net gradually filling.

By afternoon we took wind and weather
Head-on, bow into heaving crests, freezing
Brine, crashing spray, often washed down,
Wipers smearing saltwater, rising, falling,
Pushing, plunging, holding on, by God’s
Love, we were fishing again. 

As night set in, overhead halogens burning,
Temperature fell to 18 degrees, ice layers
A
ccumulating on rigging and steel, washed
With freezing seawater. Work s
low and
Deliberate, we hooked to railing, s
ecure
In a good boat, a trusted, salty crew.

For next week our days were thus: wind, ice
W
aves, fish, freezing spray, days into nights,
Tired backs, cold numbing, turns watchstanding,
Keeping radars clear, pulling in tonnes of fish,
Halogens glaring out stars and moon, by G
od’s
Grace, we were fishing again.

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