Friday morning, the crew were looking mutinous:
"It's not happening like", muttered David.
"What", I replied, trying not to sound too apprehensive.
"We've had that squid out for three days and only one bite to show for it. It's not right!"
Relieved that David was only worried about our omega 3 intake, I decided it was time to act.
Fortunately I've never understood the meaning behind the phrase "A bad workman blames his tools", so had no trouble identifying tiger squid as the problem. However it's easy to identify a problem but acting on it can be tricky, especially when you have to tell someone they're not performing. I tried to break the news to tiger squid in a way which hopefully, after the initial shock, he can use to become a better squid. So I started by telling him how much we value his contribution, that he never complains just gets on with the job, but we'd been studying his productivity recently, and the current harsh economic climate, we can't afford any passengers. He nodded in agreement, unaware of what was coming. I went on, "sadly even though you've been a good reliable worker, and we value your innovative use of colour, we feel that it was time you looked elsewhere for someone who could better use and appreciate your skills." It was difficult to tell how he took it, as we were interrupted at the critical moment by a breaking wave. I think he understood, although he raised doubts that we'd do any better with another squid. I also heard him muttering as he went back into the box, "What more can your expect from me than offering myself up for daily slaughter, if only the captain had a clue what he was doing...".
Fortunately I've found some other willing workers - Squidski and friends from Warsaw, who assure me they'll have no problem bringing in the fish.
Apart from problematic fishing, the boat came to a juddering halt this morning. Then there was a bang, bang, bang along the starboard side and I raced to the stern to see a tree trunk emerge in our wake. No harm done, thought we've probably lost some anti fouling paint.
Despite our lack of success with our trailing line, flying-fish seem to be happy to land on deck overnight. This morning's count was four. We're not desperate enough to eat them yet, but give it a few more fish-free days....
Position @ 23:00 (GMT +7) 14/1/2008: N5deg 42.0' E86deg 58.4
Distance to Sri Lanka: 383
Daily run: 177.9