Saturday, September 20, 2014

No sleet, or snow - the end of the world as we know it.

The world will probably end today. They're tagging lambs, and it is not rain, sleet, howling gales and utter misery for man and beast (yes, this has been true in the last few days of the tagging. We had 'splushy ice' landing on the window the day before yesterday. Snow I think, lumped and melting. Just a delight to the hands trying to hold that lamb.) But today is glorious. Something must be seriously wrong. James is working with them, and it's the sort of experience any young geek should get a bit of. In most cases I suspect that would hasten them back to their air-conditioned cubicle and make very sure they never ever left it again, but at least they'd know where their food came from, and what sweat and hard conditions are a part of seeing it is there.

Pig killing is due tomorrow, so bacon will be being made. Starvation (or at least the end of the bacon) is averted...

I've been prepping the area for the container that Peter is kindly giving me, that will be my workshop. 12 concrete blocks have been collected from the tip. Actually... a lot of concret was collected from the tip. I went scavenge crazy. It happens to the best us. I carried off all that lovely garbage, triumphal in my gung ho tip looting. I'd have taken more, only the poor ute was sagging. There are now old paver step where hitherto there was a need for that thing I do not have - AKA long legs (no not money, or readers. Those are other I do not have :-)). I must say the workshop will be a vast relief to all, especially me, and Barbs, if it'll keep the nets and rods and spears and lights and spades and... and... out there. It'll need roofing, but I have some scavenged tin for that.

Barbs has had man-flu. Yes, we're an odd family. I despite the beard am not very prone to man-flu. I'm not up to it and settle for being slighty snuffly and grumpy and continue much as normal (because the grumpy part is normal anyway). Barbara gets flattened by it. Anyway, she's a bit better today, which is good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A shark by the tail.

I've been going through a rough patch, trying to do too much in too little time, flat out like a lizard drinking finishing a book and feeling flat as a pancake as a result - added to a lowgrade bug that just won't quite let me get better. I've decided on a diet and more exercise... Actually maybe I'll just stay feeling like a 'verlepe blaar', as it doesn't involve either. Seriously, I am making an effort to pull myself toward myself, although grate adventures have been a little occasional lately. Maintenance - feeding the pigs, and the chooks, and Barbs, and sort of trying not to kill more plants than usual in the garden is quite dull to write about, mostly.

Of course it wouldn't be me without the occasional drama. The long lining trip with Bill and James which produced a seven-giller wider than Bill's little boat. It was seriously unimpressed with being caught. Even sharks have their dignity. Bill wanted it (I don't really eat flake if I can avoid it.) So I got his rather insignificant gaff into the mouth, and was contemplating my next move. Bill decided to stab it in the brain, him not being an Ichthyologist and thus not knowing a shark's brain is smaller than a politician's ethics gland, and harder to hit than a budget target. The shark was not impressed. It wasn't affected much either. James decided that he'd tenderize the entire head with a longline weight...

That did get through. It threshed like fury and straightened out the gaff hook, and pulled the hook out of its mouth. It is however somewhat stunned. My bright child grabs it by the tail. I suppose I should be happy it wasn't the head. Some delicate discussion ensues about a rope to attach to the tail - James wants to use longline (which breaking all the rules of common sense has sever snoods still attached - snoods come OFF before they come into the boat -so no-one can get hooked and pulled overboard if a big shark takes it. I want the bow-line so it can't upset the boat or hook anyone. Temporarily we tie off the longline and then attach it to tail, and I cut hastily through the spine. Just my favorite pastime leaning over the side, cutting through shark-hide ten inches behind the mouth. disaster did not ensue. Future reference a handy rope and bigger gaff...

Next we will tell you of the inaugural sinking.
A friend has acquired a really beautiful boat - bigger than his historical experience with tinnies - and in that gap in my experience too - between Chuck-chuckies (inboard diesels) and the small Zodiacs/ tinnies I am familiar with. Bit posh for the likes of me. I've been to sea in a few posh boats, but more as a supercargo, than someone skippering or being crew. He had it brought across on the ferry, so he was dying to put it in the water, so last Saturday I agreed to go on the 'maiden voyage' even if I look more like the bearded lady. Now he was in the relay team in the pub-to-pub, and so we had a late launch -always tricky at Whitemark - where the water is shallow and five minutes faffing can leave you spending three or four hours waiting for the tide.
So we rush down... and yes, we check the bungs. Both of us. I am in waders... far too much preparation. Boat comes off beautifully, my mate, parks the ute... I am standing in the water having pushed it into slightly deeper water at the end of the jetty - he runs down... and "there's water coming in to the boat!"
I hastily haul it onto the sand next to the slip. And there is water welling up from under a floor-panel - a fish-well (a new thing to me) and when he opened it up it came up in a most entertaining fountain... if it is not your new boat. Now, the boat is not going to sink - not until the tide come in, anyway. And lo, there is new bung rising in east, well, floating around in the wet... Now I have already knelt down and got water in my waders checking the bungs(the water is just over knee deep and no waves. I am not going to drown (and I have a life-jacket on, a good thing with waders) But the purpose of waders is to keep the wet cold outside, not have it inside. Expressing myself in my normal ladylike fashion, I remove waders and the partly dry shirt, and we try this new game that I gather is very popular in certain circles I do not frequent, called 'find the bunghole by feel'

It just ain't there. By this stage my mate is in daks and we are doing some diving, getting salt in your eyes. So bright spark here gets in the boat - about 8 inches of water sloshing a few inches short of the electrics... a pushes his fingers down the hole. The hull is not that thick, and the hole is quite close to the edge, methinks. And stick-out bits have to be easier to find than obscure bung-holes... At which point I realize there are threads on the inside. Now bungs don't go in from the inside. Water pressure seals them... except this one did. So we baled out the boat, and then, as it was slightly lighter managed to push it off the sand before the tide left us high and dry.

And water comes up from the next floor-panel forward...
Agh! Another bunghole and fountain
And now there is no bung to be found. My finger is too small, and I'm not a little Dutch boy. In desperation my mate unscrews a water sprayer fitting - which mostly fits. Only water coming through the spray nozzle hole - It'll slow the water down, but not stop it... it's time to cut our loses and get the boat out. So I hold the boat and the trailer is brought down. And handbrake on, and I get some winching help... only um we're winching the ute down, as much as the boat up. A foot on the brake stopped that, and we hauled her out. I jumped up... and found the floating bung spinning toward the bunghole. Another screw in from the inside bung with it's inlet hidden in the hollow keel. (it has a hollow keel which fills with water when you stand still and drains when you go up on the plane.)

It says a lot for our collective determination and also stupidity, that wet clothes and all we put the boat back in the water, managed to get it just into just deep enough to push it out (tide retreating fast.) and took her to sea.

It was a cold, wet,(the sun was shining and it was not raining, but I was cold and wet) and once we got out further, bumpy day, with a huge current running making getting sinkers down very difficult. There were 3 other boats out, and the one caught one fish, and the other, 6. We got 16, not bad for blow ins on an inaugural sinking. They were all huge flathead in the 50 cm + size. But I need bigger sinkers!