Categorized | Observer

A Fish Story

Posted on 16 May 2012 by mburgess

Fish answer their own logic.

Fishermen sometimes say repitition of mundane tasks interferes with catching fish — as though fish need a break in the monotony of the lives of the men after them in order to be caught.

The Southern Queen had several successful ways to interrupt the tedium of life at sea in ways that filled her brine tanks quickly. One of them involved the seaplane pilot and the boat’s funnel. Suchi, the pilot, decided, on a whim, to paint the Southern Queen’s funnel, when he was bored and off watch one sunny afternoon. Immediately, the mast man in the crow’s nest called down that he found a school of fish, which the Queen then set upon and quickly caught.

All was well with the world.

Soon enough, another doldrum befell the boat. Suchi touched up the paintwork on the funnel. The mast man found fish. Suchi noted the coincidence.
But, it seemed, this wasn’t a coincidence.

For three weeks thereafter, until the Southern Queen loaded up with tuna, the same pattern occurred: no fish, pilot paints funnel, fish spotted and are caught. Everyone on the boat wondered and talked about what it could mean for days, and days.

Fifty three years later, Suchi still wonders. He’s seen similar things on other boats for decades and every fisherman’s musings about it are as good — and as pointless — as anyone else’s.

But for them, it’s enough to know there is a pattern and that the pattern somehow works.

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