Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There was no talk about lathes, gouges, skew chisels, wood or anything else connected with woodturning when members of the Cork Chapter of I.W.G. took to the high seas today in Peter Manning's wonderful 36" boat, "Cleona", for what has become our annual fishing trip out of Ballycotton.  Instead we spoke about rods, bait, reels and swivels as we pondered what we might catch.  A "catch" in our everyday world of woodturning is something we try to avoid at all costs but not today, 24th June 2015.
Everybody was on time and by the appointed hour of 9.00 a.m. we were heading out of Ballycotton harbour, into the bay and the high seas beyond.  Ger Hennessy got the first fish but Jim Byrne wasn't far behind him and for the next three and a half hours, as we drifted over the various "marks" known to our skipper, Peter, we pulled in a variety of fish.  They were mainly pollack but with a good scattering of mackerel, though it might be a week or two early for the larger shoals of them that are known to favour Ballycotton. 
P.J. O'Brien - or was it his son, Peter? - got the only cod of the day and just to add variety Tony Farrell kept on pulling  out wrasse and at one stage even a small red gurnet (gurnard).  Jim O'Donovan started rather slowly and was beginning to wonder if he was doing something wrong when all of a sudden he began to kook them two and sometimes three at a time.  Leo O'Donoghue was next to this writer and sat quietly on the engine cover as he consistently worked his bait with a smooth wrist movement that got great results. Meanwhile poor Peter worked up a sweat as he darted about the boat unhooking fish and later cleaning and filleting them.  Maurice Cashman had found himself a great spot right at the stern and was pulling them in in constant stream with the skill of the old hand that, indeed, he is.  Christy Fitzpatrick is no stranger to life on the ocean wave and as well as catching fish was a great help to us all when it came to unhooking fish or untangling lines.
In the afternoon, after a lunch of tasty soup, with sandwiches in Jerry's Bar, back on shore, the majority of us, with Joe Kennedy joining us, headed back out for a conducted tour of the lighthouse.  Hazel was our guide and it was clear that she just loves the work as she took us through the history of the fine edifice, started in 1848 and completed in 1851.  The nine acre island on which the lighthouse is built was purchased from the local landlord for £36-5-0 (About 46 Euro)and the lighthouse itself cost, as far as I can remember, almost £10,000 - a huge sum in those days.

We had a fantastic day and returned home laden with fish, our ears ringing from the fun and banter of our companions but, more importantly, with great memories of the day and with our heads heavy with fresh sea air, sufficient to guarantee a great night's sleep to even the most fitful sleeper.
Banter, as Skipper Peter helps Jim with his first fish.

Only Tony Farrell knew how to catch wrasse - and he wasn't telling.

The entire "crew".

On the helped with the lighthouse in the background.

Feeding frenzy for the gulls when Peter fillets the catch.

Peter Manning's beautiful boat.

The view from the Lighthouse.