Question: How do you enjoy yourself and have fun despite being sick? Answer: Go Deep Sea Fishing with Mosselbay Deep Sea Fishing Charters and remember that sea sickness is not an illness but simply the body’s reaction to an unfamiliar and unusual way of moving around. You will feel much better after you return to land and you will have the odd sensation that despite having been sick (and perhaps, because of this, afraid and embarrassed) you actually had a whole lot of fun and experienced something unique.
We left Mosselbay harbour after launching the boat at about 8am. I went on this trip with my wife, our photographer, as an invited guest. The point being to experience something new and to forge a partnership between us, Unravel Travel and Mosselbay Fishing Charters. I mean, that is after all what Unravel Travel is all about. How can we profess to want to share new and enlightening experiences with others if we ourselves do not strive to do the same?
I can safely say that Unravel Travel has made another friend. A few friends actually.
The charter boat is owned by none other than Werner and his fiancée Naomie, who also happen to be one of our neighbours. (Out here around Unravel Travel Base Camp that term is of course used very relatively. They live more than two kilometres from our house, and yet are considered to be our neighbours because there are at most two or three other houses between us!)
No more than twenty or thirty minutes after leaving the harbour both Jenya and myself started feeling slightly nauseous, although luckily for me that was where it stopped. Jenya on the other hand continued feeling worse, and when the boat stopped so that we could drop our fishing lines, the nausea really kicked into a higher gear. She momentarily recovered after saying good morning to her breakfast. She felt better long enough to appreciate a whale breaching close by and to take some photographs of Albatrosses fighting over some discarded fish guts. After which the nausea returned in full force.
Despite also being ill adjusted to the motion of the ocean (it came and went in waves during the course of the day, no pun intended) I had a great time fishing and despite not being a fisherman at all I caught two decently sized fish, which tasted superb after being grilled to perfection over some coals later that same night. (Which is at least one thing that I can do, apart from surfing: cook good food particularly fish!) The other guys, who were obviously competent fishermen (not professional, but competent) caught bags full of fish and each one of them must have gone home with at least eight to ten fish of a surprisingly wide variety, Hake being the most common one.
The crew aboard the boat were professional and extremely helpful in a very natural and friendly way. Our skipper Chris had been in command of another commercial fishing boat for eight years before taking on Trippers. (Which is what they call people like us who want to go on a fishing trip but don’t have the equipment or the know-how to do so by themselves) When it came to putting on the bait, unhooking a catch or handling a rod it felt as if I was being helped and not just given what I paid for. It goes a long way toward confirming the validity of the central motto here at Unravel Travel: We are not a Travel Company but a Company of Travellers. We do not offer you a service but an experience. The primary need in our (outdated) monetary economy may very well be profit, but we consciously choose to focus our attention on transcending this shallow motivation for providing and sharing our services. We must admit that we need to generate a monetary income to do what we do, but we choose to enjoy sharing the experience before that consideration comes into play. To simplify: If money disappeared tomorrow, we would still do what we love to do. Share whatever we have to offer with you.
And this is what this whole trip was all about. Next time we are taking Werner and Naomi surfing, although we may wait for a warmer summer’s day to do so. As with our friend Alta (known around here as Mossie) who provides adventure horse rides, we are joining together with the common aim of giving people new and exciting experiences and helping them to learn how to do things they may always have dreamt of but have never had the courage or opportunity to do.
For all practical purposes Unravel Travel now also offers Horse Riding Adventures and Deep Sea Fishing Adventures!
We hope to elaborate in more detail upon this cooperation in the near future and we will probably have a Friends of Unravel Travel Page on this blog very soon, where you can have a look at all the friends we have made. Friends who, in my mind at least, are as much a part of Unravel Travel as I am. Perhaps they just don’ know it yet!
On the way back to the harbour Oom Kassie, Werner’s father, entertained Jenya’s photographic curiosity by feeding some seagulls the remaining unused Pilchard bait. The boat was moving pretty fast and it was impressive to see the gulls keeping up with the boat while at same time catching the Pilchards as Kassie threw them into the air. Once or twice they actually snatched the bait from his hand!
Upon our return Jenya promptly declared that Deep See Fishermen are the most hardcore men she ever met. I felt slightly diminished by this statement, but that is OK, I haven’t yet gotten her to paddle out with me, with her water-housed camera, into eight foot cranking waves! And besides, at least I caught something.
I like to finish blog entries with a bang, and so here is another one for you. I have never seen a nauseous person (who greeted their breakfast twice, once for brunch once for lunch!) with such a big smile! Not even on new years eve. Now you may think I am making this up, but I am not. The boat we were on for this trip is called ‘Dankie Pa’, which translates into English as ‘Thanks Dad’ or ‘Thank you Father’. I would like to reiterate this statement. Whoever the Father may be, I would like to Thank Him Also! Thank You Daddy-O, Once Again You made my Day!
Hermann Unravel Travel
It was five in the morning when I tumbled out of bed and stumbled into the cold darkness of my gumboots. It was to be my first day, the first of an anticipated many, aboard a deep-sea fishing charter boat as a greenhorn, an inexperienced deckhand. After several successive cups of coffee, hastily thrown back on the porch, I caught sight of the car’s headlights winding down the bumpy road and Werner, smiling, as so many fisherman often are, drove up to collect me for the day’s charter.
We reached the farmhouse on a ridge a few kilometres distant as the first golden rays began to warm and reveal the picturesque countryside of green hills and forested valleys which trailed off towards the distant blue mountains and quickly set about loading bait, rods, fuel and other gear, while Oom Kassie roamed around the yard with a flashlight, shining it into the still dark corners and occasionally handing us the little things so easily forgotten by the eagerness of youth, all the while searching for his skipper’s ticket. Driving past the herds of wildebeest and zebra, we left behind the farm and made for the sea, where we would search for schools of hake and cob.
We reached Mossel Bay’s harbour and set about loading gear, then tying rigs and were going meticulously about the pre-launch inspection when the three men who had chartered Dankie Pa for the day came walking and talking up to the boat. They stood there in their spotless new white oilskins and gazed out over the relatively calm and clear waters with anxious eyes. After introductions all-round, the yard tractor hooked up the trailer and we launched while I watched Oom Kassie, with a great big grin below his bushy moustache, wipe a seat for his guests to sit, then looked around, instinctively it seemed, for the hazardous behaviour associated with land-lubbers. “Watch your hands on the rail! Put that over there and come sit here. There we go!” And we were off, breaking through the crests of the oncoming swell with wind blowing through our hair and adrenaline rushing through our veins.
Soon the town shrank away and one felt the weight of insignificance pressing down on your eight metre vessel, but all that was soon forgotten when we sighted fish on the scanner and, with a few queasy faces, dropped anchor, grabbed rods, baited hooks to be sent down seventy metres into the dark abyss where we knew there was life fighting to survive. Then there was silence. Even the ever present seagulls and albatrosses, with their distinctly evil-looking eyes, halted their persistent squabbling. “Got one!” came a shout from astern. All eyes shifted to the quivering rod and Oom Kassie looked for the gaff, but Chris, skipper of another boat in the fleet along for the ride, flung the kilo of hake up onto the deck, tossed it in the hold and rebaited his hook for another try, but nothing came, the fish were spooked. We retrieved lines, hoisted the anchor and moved on, guided by the envy of ancient fisherman, the fish-finder.
The mountains now appeared as an abnormal choppy horizon with only the foggy clouds that hang above industrial districts to betray the presence of man and a right whale, so named because they used to be the right whale to harpoon, surfaced within a few yards off the portside, setting off a series of “wows.” Nearby we located the fish again and had lines in the water with surprising speed. One man lit a pipe, another cracked open a coke, but both were soon cast aside. We were on the fish! As fast as fish were taken off the hook, bait was being put on and the hold filled with mackerel, hake, cob and silvers, having been careful not to exceed bag limits. “Skipper, which side is which then?” asked the man, relighting his pipe and glancing down at his line, which disappeared into the green water. “Remember it like this,” Oom Kassie said. “There is no port… left in the bottle.” Then he chuckled merrily at the nostalgia that phrase must have invoked. Suddenly another of the three men, the one sipping his beer, had a rod bent like a hook and he let loose a yell of excitement as he hit back hard, pulling the barbed hook deep into the fish’s flesh. We hurried to get our lines out of the water, but all along the portside were soon entangled and a couple had to be cut loose. His line free, he placed his feet firmly against the rail and began pulling back, letting the rod straighten, pulling in some line and repeating the procedure as the giant circled below. A couple of other boats had since spotted the bright green of Dankie Pa and moved in on our location and evident good fortune. The fish jerked hard on an outgoing circle and with an unmistakable “twing” the line broke and we would never know the name of that abyssal monster. So it goes with fishing.
We fished a while longer into the afternoon, anxious, yet strangely relaxed in the warm sun watching the tips of our rods, occasionally following the lines to where they disappeared into the dark green depths of the Indian Ocean’s nutrient rich water. As a slight onshore wind began to awaken the hairs on my arms, the skipper gave the word, we hoisted anchor one last time and followed the wind and swell to the northwest and solid land, where we offloaded the neatly filleted fish and shook hands with the tired, but satisfied men. Everyman onboard walked away with several kilograms of fish that day. So it goes with fishing from Dankie Pa.
Etienne Unravel Travel