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4.0 out of 5 stars
Another great book from O'Hanlon - more please!, 28 April 2004
Each of Redmond O'Hanlon's books is based on a journey. This time it isnot the rainforest or the jungle that he is exploring, but the NorthAtlantic.
In his earlier books he travelled with the aid of guides and local people,and was usually the focal point of the expedition. This time he is a paidpassenger on an Orcadian trawler, going to sea in January in the worstweather of the year. He is there as the assistant to a marine biologist,and is very definitely not the focal point of this fishing expedition.
Although O'Hanlon is usually described as a travel writer, his books areas much about adversity and people's reactions to it. He's a keen observerof people and is pleasingly self-effacing - but as you start reading, youwonder if he has finally bitten off more than he can chew with thiscrew.
The trawler's skipper is a driven man. After his ships refit for deep seafishing, he has a 2 million pound overdraft that he is desperate to clearas soon as possible. He also has the best trawlerman's reputation inOrkney, and this is a good job, because the weather is so bad when theyleave that they are the only boat going out - all the others are safelymoored in the harbour.
The skipper and crew are fascinating and O'Hanlon depicts thembrilliantly. They only get about three hours sleep in every 36, and as thesleep deprivation grows, tempers fray and conversations become moreemotional, revealing and surreal at every turn. The marine biologist -Luke - is also a lifeboatman, and is equally interesting with plenty tosay about the sea and about the fishing process.