Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Troubled Waters
Pelagic expedition aboard a longline fishing vessel off the coast of South Africa  - October 2011

I travelled to South Africa about the same time last year with a plan (long in the making and negotiating) to travel 160 miles out into the Indian Ocean  / extreme eastern Atlantic on board a longline fishing boat.  The aim was to get to the heart of the Troubled Waters story and witness the collision between seabirds and fishermen on the open ocean.

A trawler at sea, showing the tori lines which keep the mass of scavenging birds away from the trawl cables and dangers of a surfacing netA trawler at sea, showing the tori lines which keep the mass of scavenging birds away from the trawl cables and dangers of a surfacing net

The stern of a demersal trawler, alongside at Richards Bay, South Africa.The stern of a demersal trawler, alongside at Richards Bay, South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a variety of complex reasons (generator failure, accreditation certificate held-up, etc) the plan failed.  With thanks to the Birdlife office in South Africa a trip on board a trawler from Cape Town was hastily arranged.  It proved to be as dramatic and as important as anything I had anticipated and researched.  Nevertheless, it was felt that as the longline element was so important to the seabird and albatross story, there should be another attempt to join the boat.  So, with slightly different plan I went to South Africa in mid-October.

This time everything fell into place and I had an extraordinary and creative adventure.  That story is currently being written and the illustrative material prepared and in due course some will be published and shown here - but most of the material is now focused on the book and exhibition launch in London in November 2012.

 

Activity on deck through the dayActivity on deck through the day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shy albatross and white-chinned petrel scrabbling for offal thrown overboard.Shy albatross and white-chinned petrel scrabbling for offal thrown overboard.

The first stage of processing a swordfish - cut off its head!The first stage of processing a swordfish - cut off its head!

 

White-chinned petrels scavenging offal around the vessel.White-chinned petrels scavenging offal around the vessel.

At sea surrounded by petrels.At sea surrounded by petrels.