Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nightboat to Cairo

Seven days. Six Egyptians. 10 tonne of prawn. One skipper from Donegal. No shower. One fridge full of bacon. Two hours sleep a day. A grand adventure on the 80ft rust heap that is the trawler Argo K.

I can't decide which was worse the claustrophobia of living in a tiny box with eight other men for all that time, the smell of fish guts everywhere in spite of the presence of air fresheners in every corner, or the fact that everything you touched felt like chip shop curtains.

Smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and getting our first introduction to Nuts and Zoo and Egyptian porn, myself and Steve Ryan went working on the trawler. He has better photos than me on his site: Steady-handed bastard.

We wanted to write an article sure, but also to see if we could cut it amongst real men. Mohammed, Hassan, Said and co. were real men. Tough bastards from Alexandria with a combined experience of about 100 years at sea. They showed us pictures of their girlfriends back in Drogheda and Tallaght. They were scarier than some of the fish we pulled in.

Every six hours an alarm rang around the boat and we dragged another tonne of fish in. Most of it got thrown over. Quotas don't allow the fishermen to catch certain fish, but certain fish have a wide-on for nets and can't help themselves. Dead haddock, dead cod and dead sole all had to be pitched over the sides.

Anyway, I'm going to post more on this later but for now I've got to grab another shower, and then one after that, and one after that...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

98almera: for sale, single and in suburbia

The worst thing about coming to the end of the road is that you have to make another decision and the decision you've got make now is much more than the usual motorway or secondary road, ham or cheese service station sandwich or go fast and chug petrol or go slow and sip.

We sped back through Northern Germany last week. Up until the last minute it was going to be Luxembourg. Then we had a fight and neither of us gave a shit about going to Luxembourg anymore and we ended up in Antwerp. Antwerp is as pretty as Christmas. It's home to chips, beer and waffles. I crashed the car into a low pole and pissed off spent the next two days getting drunk and fat. Summer was over in Belgium before they told Ireland. Already people were wearing scarves and hats. The next day we went to Brugges. For Colin and Brendan's sake. We had a puncture there and I had to put on the spare which was so worn down it felt like we were driving on a rim. It took a whole day to get along the north coast of France and then back across on the boat for the Electric Picnic Festival.

"That's the queerest fecking car ever," was the first thing we heard getting back into Ireland. It's nice to feel welcome. Coming through Roscrea some kid gave us the fingers. That's real love. After the festival we drove to Kildare and that's where 98almera's adventure stopped. That night Bridie caught a flight back to Australia and I got thinking of my next plan. It's a trawler. No one's put any spray paint on it. And it probably won't get me any props but after making a road trip to Berlin with the express intention of learning how to rave, it follows that the next thing I'd do would be to learn how to fish.

For the moment I'm broke so the car's for sale. It's some offer. You're not only buying a vehicle but a dream. Four wheels that only point towards freedom. Think about it. And I did say I'd accept favours as well as cash