When we sail, we are always cautious not to disturb the fishermen at work: after all, they are at sea to earn a living, while we are just having fun.
Sometimes though, they behave as if they were the owners of the sea:
– everywhere around the world, never giving way also when they are not fishing and therefore have no right of way.
– along the Portugal coast, laying literally hundreds of unlit pot markers a few hundred meters apart, some 20/30 miles from shore!
– in Spain, using as pot markers little floats with a bush inserted on top (and strangely, we found this habit repeated in Guadaloupe)
– along the Indonesian coast, where literally hundreds of brightly-colored sail pirogues lay their nets, blocking a wide area, and you cannot do anything else than turning around the area.
– in Thailand, where it is absolutely normal to lay pots in the middle of narrow channels and port entrances, often using as markers just little water bottles.
– everywhere, from Indonesia to the Arabic sea, totally disregarding the rules about navigation lights: lighted they are, but with every sort of lights of every conceavable colour, with a preference for flashing lights. It’s very difficult to understand where they are heading!
We had a scare one night near Borneo, when we came very close to a fishing boatr which was showing a green and a red light ON THE SAME SIDE: they were heading in the opposite direction of where we thought they were, and nearly collided!
And now, from Sri Lanka to the Arabic sea, a new sport: fishing boats drifting in the wind, dragging floating nets which are SEVERAL MILES long and strictly not marked!
We hit a couple of them when leaving Sri Lanka, before we understood the trick (the boat is on the leeward side of the net, so we can pass safely on their leeward side), and at least 3 other Rally yachts got trapped in a net in the middle of the night, believing they were far enough from the fishing boat which did no effort whatsoever either to warn them of the net or to help them getting free…
This is an area where a lot of ships go through, I wonder what happens if one of them happens to meet one of those 5-mile-long nets!
Then you read the Navtex, and find 3 messages concerning fishing boats which went missing in the last few days…
They are obviously poor folks, but an offshore fishing boat is expensive, as it is a net, much more than the cost of a spotlight or a solar-powered LED light, I really do not understand.