Aannsha’s Blog #116 - Out and about in a Greek fishing boat and hire car

Fishing for Langoustines

I love being out on the water when the sun’s shining. There’s such a great feeling of expanse and being one with the sea. The other day I was lucky enough to be invited with Baz to join Xaris (the boat yard owner) onto his 9m fishing boat. It was his first trip out since the bad winter weather and we joined him and Theo as they went on the hunt for the prized crustaceans, langoustines.

Muscovy ducks in Limni harbour

The weather was crisp and bright as we left Limni’s small town harbour and set out to lay their net. After we’d found good positions where we could use our cameras but wouldn’t be in the way, Baz and I began to film. Even before we left the harbour there was what I’d call eye candy: bright fishing boats, a family of mallard ducks swimming in front of the boat and some black and white Muscovy ducks sheltering in the recesses of the harbour wall. The water in the harbour was a deep pea green and as we entered the sea, the colour changed to deep refreshing blue.

It was pretty cool to see Theo steering the boat by standing with the tiller between his calves while he looked over the top of the cockpit bimini! The first thing I noticed as the fishing boat left the harbour was the way that it moved through the water was different to how A B Sea moves. The 9m wooden vessel with a different hull and keel shape to our yacht rocked a tad more as the light wind blew the waves side to the vessel. A while later, we were heading out to deeper water and as soon as Xaris’s depth instrument indicated 50 metres, he threw out a cluster of buoys attached to a line to mark the begining of his fishing line. All the time both men paid attention to the other fishing boat that was in close proximity.

A length of old yellow net followed the long line and as we kept moving forward, Xaris fed the line through his hands and over the side. He explained that he has a length of old yellow netting at either end as this allows the blue langoustine net to open correctly. It doesn’t matter if the yellow line becomes snagged and he occasionally still catches fish in it.

Following the yellow net came the blue net, which is a specific size to catch the “langostinos”. I was astonished to hear that this net was 3500 metres, or 2.2 miles long. The net sinks to the depths of the sea thanks to a heavy metal ‘rope’ threaded through the base of the net. The top of the net has little floats attached along the length which keep the net open in the water. This net mainly catches langoustines but also fish of a similar or larger size that swim at that depth can get snagged too. They all go to market.

I was reading recently that this part of the Mediterranean, around Limni and Evia’s north west, is well stocked with fish, and when we walked around Istiaia recently, I noticed three fishmongers in that one town.

As Xaris and Theo let out the line and Xaris answered Barry’s fishing questions, I had plenty of time to sit at the bow filming the sparkling sunlight leaving star-flashes of brilliance across the sea’s dark blue surface. Seagulls glided past, some landing in the water, to float awhile perhaps waiting for a fish for breakfast. The distant snow topped mountains on mainland Greece shone in the sun and I relaxed, watching the orange ball fenders bobbing in the foam kicked up by the boat.

Before long all the blue net was out, followed by another length of yellow, then line and I heard the splash of the buoys hitting the water marking the end of the netting.

Time to go home.

Xaris shoved his 125hp engine into full throttle and we powered back to the harbour. It was great to be able to take in some views of the coastline, including an old (possibly) * Magnesite quarry converted into a hotel. Theo then expertly tied us back to the dock and Xaris said he’d show us the catch after hauling it in the next morning.