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My three most regularly asked questions

Not a day goes by on the boat when I am not asked each of these three questions at least once if not several times.

#1 “How deep is the sea round here?”

This is by far the most popular question which I try to answer as accurately as possible.A one hour Lyme Regis mackerel fishing trip usually takes us out in a south westerly direction and we chug along pulling mackerel fishing lines slowly behind us. At the halfway point, after thirty minutes, we are nearly always in about twenty metres of water. So whenever I am asked the depth I look at my watch, look at the land and give a reply.

#2 “What do you do in the winter?”

Mackerel fishing and Lyme Regis deep sea fishing trips finish around the end of half term in October/ November. Once the visitors and holidaymakers have left Lyme Regis, Matt and I take Sunbeam and Marie F out of the water, up the slipway and onto the council car park to begin our winter boat maintenance. It takes a great deal of work to keep our boats looking beautiful.

As soon as they are out of the water we high pressure wash them, remove all the equipment and wash everything allowing the wind and rain to remove the last grains of salt and sand. Towards the middle of November we cover both boats with very large sheets that allow the wind to get through but not the rain. By New Year the interiors are bone dry and the slow and steady job of rubbing down and repainting can begin.

There are only so many days in January and February when it is fit to be applying gloss paint outside in winter in this country and we choose our days carefully. But by the end of the third week in March the list of jobs gradually comes to an end and the boats slip back into the harbour ready for another season. During this period there might well be a holiday in Thailand and certainly a couple of weeks working in a very busy local farm shop.

#3 “Have you seen any dolphins today?”

People love dolphins. When we are out to sea on a mackerel fishing trip or a deep sea fishing trip and we come across a pod of dolphin emotions can run very high. I have been hugged and kissed, heavily tipped, seen many tear filled eyes and completely awe-struck children. When we encounter dolphins people don’t forget it.

Unfortunately it doesn’t happen as often as we would like, probably around a dozen times a year. Bottle Nosed Dolphins are the ones we most regularly see but we did spot half a dozen Common Dolphins in 2012 but these smaller dolphins are certainly not common here. They are nearly always travelling pretty fast east to west or vice versa, they never hang around in a small area for any length of time.

DolphinsEaster Sunday 1998 saw much of the country under a layer of snow and Stratford On Avon heavily flooded. On this day, Richard Austin took this now famous photograph of Bottle Nosed Dolphins off Lyme Regis. He took the photo in the morning showing the town basking in the sunshine but by the afternoon a blizzard struck and Lyme looked much the same as the rest of the country. On Easter Monday Richard’s photo was on every front page except The Sun! Up until then we hardly ever saw any of these beautiful creatures but after this time their visits started becoming more frequent.         [Photo courtesy of Richard Austin©]

To see dolphins playing in Lyme Bay now click on 'Common and White Beaked Dolphins' our new video. For the best effect, go to full screen and turn the volume up.

Published on 08/10/2012.

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