Friday, December 13, 2019

Denver, NC: warmer water

An article about how Iceland’s fishing industry is being impacted by warmer ocean temperatures that result in fish moving farther north caused me to email Markus, an Estonian commercial fisherman and sailor with whom I have long corresponded, to ask if this has also been his experience.  He was at sea at the time and replied as below after he returned to port including the dramatic and beautiful photos above.  I thank him for permission to share them and his response with you..

Despite darkness, low temperatures and strong winds we managed to do quite well.

I have been trawl fishing on the southern part of the Bay of Bothnia for 9 years now. Compared with the North Atlantic it is almost like a lake. We can cross it in 12 hours looking for the baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras). There have been changes but it is hard to make any firm statements. Scientists claim the stock to be healthy and we can see the fish as well but it has become more and more difficult to catch them. There are nice shoals where the bottom is rocky and the depth gradient changes rapidly. There the fish can feel themselves comfortable as they are not threatened by our gear . It´s a game of hide and seek. We win when fish venture out to the underwater flatlands or during night rise high enough for us to catch them. Most of the time we lose.

10 years ago the 
Bay of Bothnia was completely frozen for 3 weeks during the winter, 2 years ago there was only a little bit of ice in the inner archipelago. During the colder years it was easier to catch as the fish moved into deeper waters in the middle of the bay. The quotas were also much smaller 10 years ago. ln 2008 fishermen were allowed to catch around 80000t. In 2015 it was 140000t which was far too optimistic as only 100000 was caught. For the next year 53000t of 
Bothnia´s herring is on the table for the Finnish fishermen. Good for me as I will most propably  have more time for sailing and other matters.

Of the photos:  As a matter of fact it looks much worse than it really was. It was blowing just around 30 knots but as we drive our ship named Olympos well ballasted she usually goes through not over the waves. It is bit more stable that way. Seas are short around here. I like how the sea and sky melts together on the picture. Dive-dive-dive! 

As you can see we have returned from the Biltmore Estate and fly back to the frozen flatlands tomorrow.

The Estate cost $6,000,000 to build in the 1890’s which is said to be the equivalent of 1.5 billion dollars today.  This is about what the world’s largest private home, the 27 story skyscraper in Mumbai, is said to have cost when completed in 2010.

The Biltmore winery has a sign stating that it is the most visited winery in the US and the wine bar is said to sell two million bottles of wine a year.  In our two days at the Estate the four of us consumed four of those bottles in addition to a free wine tasting.  All were good and surprisingly reasonably priced.  I recommend the Limited Release Malbec.

I thank Ernest for this quote from Richard Feynman:  Anyone who thinks they understand quantum mechanics, doesn’t.

A correction—and I am beginning to see a distressing pattern here.  I have been on Catalinas, specifically my friend, Larry’s, CORVAIR, a Catalina 34 MK 2, in fact more than once.  Both times were several years ago and I might be forgiven for forgetting by Larry’s generosity with Laphroaig.

I think I may also have once been on a Catalina 30.

I have not sailed on one.