When I began working with the ATF, I always wondered what it would be like to be at sea during an important holiday – like Christmas or New Year. The idea of being away from home, working over such occasions did not fill me with enthusiasm. In the first five years working with the ATF my sea trips never coincided with national holidays… but there is always a first time. This year I was due to embark around the Christmas period but due to some considerable delays with engine issues meant that my first New Year at sea finally arrived. I chose to look at the positive side of things, and concentrate on learning more about the people who share the oceans with the albatross we are working to protect. So on Christmas day last year, I found myself travelling from home to the southern port of Ushuaia where I joined one of the large industrial trawl vessels. It turned out to be a vessel that I had been aboard previously, back in 2012; a trip which I completed just days before getting married. Between final arrangements and preparations, we didn’t get out of port until the 31st December at 18:30, a made good speed toward fishing grounds off the south of Argentina. My expectations were admittedly pretty low, as my friends and family gathered to bring in the New Year. However, the cook made a special effort to prepare a three course meal, which would have blessed the plate in any restaurant! The captain and crew shared stories of previous years spent on board vessels and another observer and I told our own tales of experiences at sea. By midnight, as the New Year arrived the 55 of us aboard the vessel all cheered and greeted one another as if we were old friends. It was agreeable to share the experience and it was certainly above any expectations I had of spending a holiday far out at sea.
Anonymous