Regional

A frightening experience at sea

Monday, August 21, 2017

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GARFIELD Gordon had been fishing for 15 years, but nothing could have prepared him for the day his boat's engine failed him at sea.

The St Mary fisherman recalled that just over a year ago, he went fishing with two of his colleagues, but instead of making a catch the men found themselves stuck and without food.

“Wi bruk dung out deh. Wi go a deep and di engine bruk dung. Wi out deh how long and one of di man dem start bawl seh him woman tell him nuh fi go a sea. Mi a seh, 'Yow, once yuh come a sea yuh cyah have dem doubt deh. Mek wi try start di engine and go home back,'” Gordon recalled.

He told the Jamaica Observer North & East that after numerous attempts the boat failed to start.

“We a try but him still a bawl a seh him know him never did fi come a sea this morning and how him write him will and lef' it already. Mi seh, 'Man, but yuh nah go a sea fi go a sea? Yuh a go a sea fi get lef' a sea?'” he said.

The fisherman said he was determined to make it back home, even as the small boat drifted farther and farther.

“Mi draw di engine 'bout 40 times; Jerry draw 'bout 50; Tommy draw 'bout 20 and wi sit dung and wi tired. This a hours wi a talk 'bout and yuh naah see nothing name land. Wi just a drift and a drift. Far, far a sea wi deh. Wi sink land,” he said.

He recalled that having been stuck for hours “in the middle of nowhere”, a thought came to him.

“Wi fly the bonnet of di engine and look pon it. A one likkle wire bun offa it. Wi try itch on back di wire and when wi do dat and try again, believe mi, it start and wi nuh tun back, enuh. All now wi nuh look back,” Gordon, who was now chuckling, said.

Gordon and the three men employed by him provide fish for the majority of the communities in the southern part of the parish.

“Wi provide snapper, grunt, butter fish, doctor fish, crab, lobster, and conch. Snapper is di one wi sell on a different price, but only that. The market good; we get support from the people dem inna di community and wi have outdoor people too,” he said, while explaining that once he returns from sea he places calls to his customers.

“Sometimes when wi come a seaside wi nuh have hand fi sell fish. Wi will deh here and di people dem a war. Sunday morning time a exciting time out here,” he added, noting that his earnings are used to maintain his three children.

The St Mary native also shared that it is a “fulfilling” feeling to be able to provide for his family through fishing.

“A man nuh fi come inna di business still fi di money. Yuh affi love it. If yuh don't love it, it nah go work out, because you have times when mi go sea and it still nuh gwaan good, but we just give thanks and say tomorrow again. Everyday a sail day, but a nuh everyday a fish day,'” he said.

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