Whenever I come upon the deck of a fisherman, my imagination runs wild. I get all Ishmael and envisage an escape from humanity, an adventure on the high seas chasing something elusive, fish barbeques every night and swaying gently in a hammock with a book.
In reality, I'd be the deckhand with the land legs, talking in tongues into a bucket.
I do see these dockside scenes through rose-coloured glasses, I know. The gruff salt-crusted fishermen and their grunting form of communication. The wet, knotted nets and perishing lengths of rope. Rusted boat parts. Squeaking and clinking pulleys and levers. It all makes obvious the heavy toil involved in making a living from the sea.
What lies on the blinding red decks in the chipped polystyrene boxes is hardly the stuff to make a millionaire. For these blokes and their families, it's a hand-to-mouth existence.The deisel rainbows on the surface of the water, spluttering outboard motors and barnacled hulls are just as much a part of their day as the anticipation of pulling in a net heavy with shining silver swimmers.
In Volos, a port city on Greece’s Pagasetic Gulf, a walk along the harbour promenade in the morning is part fish market, part luxury boat exhibition and part old salt art installation. In the evenings, at the waterside ouzeries a few metres away, the experience is much more culinary.
And worthy of a separate post.