Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crayfish at Dassen Island

Sunset at Dassen Island, Western Cape, South Africa

Catlyn at anchor and @peace
We were licenced and totally equipped to catch the crayfish in our nets! Being the 15th of April, it was the last day of the crayfish season for us. Catlyn and Genevieve set our sails and started our trip to Dassen Island!
The sea was quite choppy and the wind about 22 knots, but all aboard Catlyn enjoyed this new adventure of being a part of the big ocean. We were accompanied by so many curious seals while we pass Yzerfontein. Genevieve found a safe place to anchor in the sand in House Bay of Dassen Island ,about 5 hours later and we anchored just next to her. We were surrounded by fishing trawlers with their crayfish net beacons bobbing all over the bay!

We couldn't wait to put our own 4 nets into the water...Marco at first not so keen, but then following his new friend Dillan's example, breaking the sardine's tight bodies in half. The nets were lowered among the many coloured balls of the fishers'.

According to our neighbour Johan you have to drink a beer while waiting for the cray fish to crawl into your net...well, a beer later and the nets were pulled vigorously up and were filled with 4 beautiful crayfish. Another beer later and we had enough for a lovely dinner with fried rice and a freshly baked bread in Anette's galley.

Johan(jnr) for second helping !!!

After a splendid evening we wanted to return to our Cat, but got the surprise of no dinghy waiting for us where Dad fastened her to Genevieve!
The men went searching for her in the pitch dark bay, while the wind was howling, but we all realised that she could be very far by now. With heavy hearts we went to bed in a borrowed dinghy...

But the wind was blowing and me and Johan just couldn't relax. The whole time he was worried that we were dragging...

For the first time I realised how difficult it is to pin point your position in the dark with no fixed marks. We were up every couple of minutes, and then Johan came back with the dreading words! "We are dragging!"

While lifting the anchor we realised that our prop and rudder got entangled with one of the fishers' cray fish nets and the whole lot of rope disabling our engine to start. What a catastrophe to try and manoeuvre the Cat between all those trawlers and nets with one engine and a strong wind in the dark. We succeeded to anchor safely and securely far away from all, and just imagine Genevieve's surprise when she wakes up the next morning with us gone.

When the first light of day came through Johan jumped into the iciness of the water to cut the rope away. Guys from a trawler gave us a bucket full of crayfish for the trouble caused by their nets.

The weather was miserable and all the trawlers were pulling up their nets, too heavy for a man, and they left in a hurry. We realised that they know this bay, and if they are leaving so quickly, we have to do it too, quickly!

The swells were big and we watched Genevieve in front of us disappear deep into the swells and then popping up again. We left Dassen Island with a heaviness in our hearts knowing that somewhere on this big ocean our little silver dinghy lies.

About 12 km away from Dassen Island, Genevieve radioed us. They followed the smiling seal, the jumping dolphins and then the miracle happened - they suddenly bumped into our silver dinghy! We were dumb struck, and while we stare at them securing our dinghy to their boat the whale jumped out of the blue right next to Genevieve sharing in our gratefulness!

We sailed back to Langebaan with lots of lessons learnt, until the next time....

Limeriek deur Andre le Roux in reaksie op mandjie vol kreef :

Met 'n krat vol kreef

kan mens mos streef

Met mae vol

En seile bol

Om voluit te leef !!!!

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