IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SQUIDDING
I had been meaning to catch up with a mate up in Dunsborough for some time now, so when he phoned recently to see if I had a midweek day off from teaching, his timing was perfect. Whenever we catch up we always try to organise some sort of outdoor activity before we settle in for drinks and a few games of pool. Often this is a walk along the Capes, but this time he suggested a squidding trip out in Geographe Bay. Sounded like a great idea and I always look forward to being out on a boat for recreational purposes and a change from boat training. When I arrived everything was ready to go and so we headed down to the Old Dunsborough boat ramp. Naturally the wind was already in and due to strengthen, so we were never going to venture far out. The squid jigs were moving too fast, not close enough to the weedy bottom, wind in our face and of course he hit me with that age old line that I should have been there last week when he landed seven in no time. He kept reminding me that we really only needed one squid because he had some back at home for tonight’s meal and he just wanted to try something different with the squid ink. I have to tell you that for the next two hours we did not even come close to catching a squid, although incredibly I did catch a Gurnard on the squid jig, quite a surprising feat really and I made sure my mate was told what skill it took do achieve this, but he was unduly impressed. However, with the pressure off, it was great to just drift along, chat a lot and enjoy the surroundings. The conversation soon turned towards safety equipment and I mentioned about the last bloke I taught in Bunbury who was fined $600 in total for no skipper’s ticket, no EPIRB beyond 2 nautical miles and out of date flares. He immediately gave me that quizzical look and declared he hadn’t checked his flares in quite some time. I mentioned that it might not be really good for my reputation being caught out in a boat without the correct safety equipment, so let’s check them. Sure enough they had expired a few months ago, but in all his thirty years at Dunsborough he reckoned he had never been checked. So when we returned to the boat ramp he became a bit agitated when he saw the Department of Transport Marine Safety Officer’s vehicle in the carpark. He walked up very disconsolately, fully prepared to take the rap, almost had the $200 out of his wallet, when to his surprise something more important must have popped up and the officer quickly drove off. We retrieved the vessel in record time in case the officer returned and fortunately I had some new flares for him in the truck ready to go. Of course I had to mention that only a squid would go out squidding with out of date flares, but he immediately replied that I should be more appreciative of all the positive outcomes. My reputation was still intact, as was his pride and wallet, and courtesy of his last voyage there was booty thawing out back at his house ready to be prepared as gourmet stuffed squid with chilli spaghetti and asparagus salad. It was time to shut up, it was indeed a gourmet meal later, but just for the record I managed to knock him over four games to nil in the pool comp.