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1:13 a.m. - 2002-08-08
Trying my best.
Galf.

Whoa, for a second I thought that “galf” was a real word, but then that stupid paper clip caught up with its squiggly red underline bullshit.

Anyway, galf is a good one. Fuck you Clipregard.

One of the things we did every now and then when fishing was poach a few crabs from other fisherman’s traps. It is generally frowned upon to poach, and by frowned upon I mean that you might get a shotgun fired in your direction if you were caught, but it was an unwritten law that other professionals could do it from time to time as long as a few measures were taken to show respect for the fellow sea rapists.

One, very important one was that you do the trap back up properly so that any bugs who saw fit to take the bait post poach would remain in their death bed.

Another was you leave something in exchange.

I first found this out on a brisk west coast morning as we pulled up one of our lines to see what we got, and one of our pots had a six-pack of beer inside instead of crawling prawns and squat lobsters.

It was an odd thing to see, and although it made no sense to my rookie self, I didn’t much question it at the early hour. As it turned out, someone “bought” the contents of the trap one evening for some brew, and we were glad to have it.

Another thing that would come up every now and then were octopi. They were suckered into the traps by the prawns, which were suckered in by the stinking jar of bait. These were the giant ones you see in movies, though most of the time they were of baby stature. They are an interesting and incredibly smart animal. Escape was their forte, and though we threw most of them back over the side directly, if they were to slip through our grasp and fall onto the deck, it would be only a matter of a minute or two before they slithered their way to freedom.

My skipper, Potsy as we called him, had an innate fear of the octopus, for no apparent reason. They are not harmful, but gave him the creeps it would seem. Once this came to my attention I used it to my amusement whenever possible. A well placed octopus on the back of his rain gear could be expected to crawl closer and closer to his bare neck, the anticipation being almost as fun as the climax of a 250lb man who would pick up a five foot shark with out pause, jumping in the air and screaming “Get it off! Get it off!” like his own six year old girl, who incidentally had no fear of the octopus.

This led to a few well-spent stainings.

The best octopus incident was when another deck hand had found the biggest one I had ever seen in a trap, a good forty pounder, and as he was getting ready to throw it back to the wet underworld it voided its ample ink sack all over his face.

It was to laugh, be sure of that.

I am writing about fishing because I don’t want to write about other things right now, and also so I have these stories stored away to delight the grandkids someday. It is a theme I plan to exhaust over the next little while, so fuck off if you don’t like it.

PS Galf.

 

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