It had been ten years since Linda's last swordfishing endeavor, and she was eager to immerse herself in life at sea reliving good memories, but also apprehensive that her body might not be up to the strenuous effort involved. She picked her crew of four (to whom the book is dedicated) and found herself aboard a rusty bucket called the Seahawk. Whenever anything broke down, which occurred almost daily, the crew called it the Shithawk behind her back. "How many times did I hear Tim say, 'It's fixed. I think we're okay now'? His words soon became known as the kiss of death, in the few moments that we relaxed, we sat and waited for the next thing to break, leak, or malfunction...I didn't have the energy to fly off the handle."
"Fortunately, when things are incredibly bad at sea, humor reigns. I was thankful and relieved to hear the men joking around...it appeared I had a crew full of class clowns. They kept working and laughing."
This is an engrossing account of that trip which found her towed into Sambro, Nova Scotia for engine work before they even reached the fishing area. Soon after, having set out her first thirty-mile set of 800 hooks, she was arrested, handcuffed, and then taken before a judge in St John, Newfoundland for inadvertantly fishing Canadian waters.
In retrospect, Linda realizes that there is a difference in her thinkings as a young person and now as one who is older; there are things we can fight and change and other things we just have to suck up and endure.
"...I steered the Seahawk through the sheer-faced cliffs that protect the port...I stared down Newfoundland. Not blinking was, for me, a small yet palpable victory in a sea of seeming random defeats."
I enjoyed Linda's descriptions of the fishing; putting out beepers and lines, and not pulling the thirty-mile line toward them but rather moving the boat forward slowly to keep pace with the men hauling in the lines. The reader is right there with her as she checks the weather, the water temperature (swordfish like it cold), and the ocean currents that converge for the best fishing. Reading this felt like I was on a vacation to a place I had never visited before. Greenlaw's name may be familiar, as she also wrote The Hungry Ocean and The Lobster Chronicles.
Special thanks to Heather Skinner of Viking (a division of Penguin Press) for the Review Copy.