Posted: 15 August 2014.
Traveling through the Messina Strait we saw the most unusual boats that are used to catch swordfish.
These boats have immense lattice steel masts with a bowsprit about twice as long as the boat itself. The mast has a chair at the top for the captain who can steer the boat from his perch.
The boats we saw working alongside us also had one or two other crew up there with him spotting the fish. We read that an electric winch hoists them up and down. Apparently the swordfish ‘sleep’ on the surface during the day, or at any rate move sluggishly, and the boat sneaks up to harpoon the unsuspecting fish.
We witnessed one of the crew stand on the tip of the bow, thrust the harpoon into the water, then run back to haul in the fish with other men. Strange as it looks, the method seems to work!
Cheers, Gordon and Lou