Today consisted mainly of tuna heads, anchovy oil and fish guts. The reason being that today I was on chumming duty and despite my initial reservations about handling fishy remains all day, I actually really enjoyed it.
My job entailed standing at the back of the boat, balancing precariously on a platform that led straight to the sea below me. Armed with a spade and a bucket I started mashing up tuna heads, sea water and anchovy oil and proceeded to scoop up the potent mixture and throw it off the back of the boat to leave a fishy trail that would hopefully attract plenty of sharks to the boat.
The best thing about chumming is that you get to hover right over the sea, getting the best view of any sharks as they pass by, directly below you. There’s also the added thrill of knowing that at any moment a shark could pop up right at your feet to say hello and with the sea being so choppy there was also the thrill of trying not to fall in as the boat swayed violently from side to side! I was also in prime position for shark spotting and would shout “Shark” whenever one swam past to alert the cage divers.
Because the sea was so choppy I got absolutely soaked as we motored back to land and the trip home saw most people with their heads over the side, getting big hits of sea water to the face as they dealt with their sea sickness.
Once we were ashore we were told that a baby Bryde’s Whale had been found washed up dead on a nearby beach. A team of biologists had brought it back to dissect and we were lucky enough to be able to watch. The whale was placed on a table outside and analyzed as it was slowly dissected. It was amazing to see the intricacies of a whales’ insides but the smell was quite off putting. We watched for about half an hour before heading back for much needed hot showers – I still stank of tuna heads.