Archive for category This and That

Changing Times

Hi all.

It’s been some time since I’ve done any blogging… There have been so many changes in my life the past 9 months, and I’ve had little time to write or fish.

I was made an offer I could not refuse (sounds like a 1930’s Chicago gangster offer doesn’t it) and I am heavily involved with this new work opportunity. There were all the things to do as well; red tape, work visas for Jen and me, sell the house, the vehicles and the furniture, say good-bye to friends and neighbours… Anyone who has emigrated will know what I mean.

I am no longer in Mossel Bay, or even in South Africa any longer, and this blog is mosselbaai – not very appropriate any longer. I haven’t yet decided what I will do with it, whether I will keep it or not. I don’t see myself having much time in the near future to maintain and write new posts however.

I have asked contributors to move any articles they kindly allowed me to use for this blog to their own blogs if possible… Should I delete the blog, it would be a pity for the readers to lose some of the useful fishing information they contain…

Thank you all for following me these past couple of years – it’s been a lot of fun

Ray the Fisherman

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Know the Job

Surely a Contractor Must Know the Job?

Wouldn’t you think a contractor, or a sub-contractor must know the work in order to be awarded a contract? Evidently this is not a requirement  any more.  How can a business award contracts, then hire someone else (who previously undertook the work) to instruct the new sub-contractors how to do it? Seems to me there’s something wrong with this equation.

To my mind, the contractor knows the work. He hires workers able to undertake the tasks, and instructs the workers how to do the job. Isn’t that the way it works. Apparently not. Sub-contractors get contracts without more than a very basic level of skill. I’ve had a welding team in the past month that may be OK to knock up a set of burglar bars or a braai stand, but have no idea how to run a weld for a pressure vessel. Hell, this so called contractor doesn’t even have an argon rig… they arrive on site with a couple of oil filled AC arc boxes – those kind you buy at Game or Makro.

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Shad Run Madness

photo of shad fishermen

Shad fishing South Coast style… (Image from thesardine.co.za)

The Seasons are Changing So Must the Fishing

Mid May and winter is around the corner. We have already seen the change in fish being caught in the area. The species common in summer have become fewer in number while winter fish hasn’t really started yet.

Fewer elf have been seen lately. These tasty bait fish are most prevalent in Mossel Bay during summer, but come the winter months and the drop in sea temperature sees these fish begin their annual migration up the East Coast to the spawning grounds off KZN, and to face the gauntlet of Natal’s ‘shad-run’.

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The Unpleasant Tasks of the Boss

I had a really unpleasant task this morning: Telling my crew I will be moving on to hopefully greener pastures.

It’s one thing to fire a worker for an infringement, another thing altogether to have to tell them they will be out of  a job in the near future. Worse still when two of these guys have been part of a team for so many years.

It Could be Worse

Still it could be worse. They have about 4 months to find alternatives, and I have colleagues who I know will take on my long-term crewmen. Nor will they be left destitute, the two blokes who have been part of my crew for many years will have decent severance packages.

Thomas Plaaitjies could probably retire if he wanted to. Faisal is a darn good artisan, and learns fast too. The other two youngsters leave with good practical experience and on-the-job skills training.

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It’s Been a While

fishing rodIt has been nearly 2 months since I wrote anything for this blog. I haven’t given up the keyboard though, nor have I given up fishing… I have just been busy with work, away for a fishing trip, and giving my future a lot of deep thought.

Working the Shutdown

I’m an industrial maintenance contractor (sub-contractor) so December and January is traditionally  a busy period: Factory staff often have leave this time of year, and a lot of industries shut parts of their plants for maintenance. So this is a busy time of the year for the us.

Fishing the North Coast

Into the second last week of January, work had become slow as always, so Jen and I took the opportunity to take a needed three week holiday in KZN. I have lot’s to tell about this in the coming months; hot weather, fishing, travel, sightseeing, more fishing.

Other things undertaken during this trip included a number of discussions with other fishermen, over braaivleis and beer about some possible work ideas related to fishing

My Future Career

When I started writing this blog, one of my first posts mentioned I had my sights set on a change in direction. I am now well into my fourties, and the time has come to decide how I want to spend the next 20 years of my working life.

I don’t see myself continuing much longer in the sub-contracting game. I take a too hands-on approach to sit back and become a desk-jockey, and would find that terribly boring. So I have had to do some very careful thinking about what I want to do, what I can do, and what opportunities exist.

With this in mind, after Jen returned to her office job, I spent more time travelling, ending up in Gauteng for nearly 2 weeks, discussing an idea I had come up with – (Jen jokingly suggested I take this path), with another keen fisherman…

Read my next few articles to see why I want to change, and what I am thinking about doing…

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Christmas Greeting Messages

Happy Christmas Everybody

Christmas is a Christian Celebration and should be respected as such. Quite honestly I find this modern politically correct way of extending good wishes ‘Season’s Greetings’, ‘Compliments of the Season’ and so on ridiculous.

Have we in the Western World, largely based on Christian Culture, become so embarrassed by our traditions we are afraid to proclaim our heritage?

No one I know would say to an Islamic person ‘Seasons Greetings’ when acknowledging their important religious event Eid ulFitr. We would say ‘Happy Eid’ or something that mentions the event. If recognising the Jewish Rosh Hashanah we would say ‘Have a Good Year’ or ‘Shana Tova’.

Jewish and Moslem people are quite happy to say Happy Christmas to Westerners, yet we hesitate to do so among ourselves.

Seasons Greetings: What are we recognising

Are we celebrating the Winter season (in the North) or the Summer season (here in South Africa)?

Is Christmas an event to be forgotten, no more than a shopping, eating and drinking spree for us, a time for shopkeepers to make vast amount of money?

Here in South Africa we suddenly find Halloween being celebrated. Christians have not made a celebration of ‘All Saints Day’ or ‘All Hallows Eve’ as Halloween is correctly celebrated as for five decades or more. South Africans never celebrated this obscure pagan derived tradition – it was uniquely American, something to experience belonging to another diverse culture when visiting that nation. Yet we now greet people ‘Happy Halloween’

But we can’t say ‘Happy Christmas’

Neither Jen or I are particularly religious, so this I am not writing this to force Christianity on anyone. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

From Jennifer and Ray

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Land at Cape St Francis

View from plot of land for sale in Cape St Francis, South Africa

View from plot of land Cape St Francis, South Africa (Jen's Desire)

Jen’s latest Desire – a Plot of Land

Standing on Jen’s Desire, a corner plot for sale in Cape St Francis, looking towards the bay. The plot is less than 10 minutes walk to the beach, and on the side of the hill. The hill gives protection from the raging South Westerly winds that storm through the area on what seems like a daily basis. Ah Jen, if only we didn’t have to work!

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Back Home

Yes, I’m back home. We got back a few hours ago after a weekend of hard fishing. Jen and I decided to stay over last night “because we could”, and have last day here in Cape St Francis. I would have liked to spend another day or 2, but I have to meet a client tomorrow. The things we have to do so we can fish!

I left home on Friday morning with an intention to update this blog daily. Instead I only churned out a single post on Saturday on the borrowed laptop. Since then I have been fishing almost continuously. I really am fortunate to be partnered to a woman who not only encourages me, she also enjoys joining in, even in the unpleasantly windy conditions these past few days.

Sunday was fair, weather wise. The wind dropped to a mere ‘strong breeze’, rather than the near gale blowing on Saturday, hence the hard hours of non-work. I have a few fishing stories to share over the next days as well as some more general subjects; not the least of which is Jen falling in love with a piece of land.

Right now though I’m thinking about the morning. The weather forecast is for light wind and partly sunny early on. I have quite a stock of fresh squid to try, and a few other things from Commercial Marine in St Francis Bay. My meeting is for late morning, so there will be ample time to ‘wet a line’. So I’m going to say goodnight, finish unpacking the bakkie, and get things sorted out, ready for an early start.

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End of Another Day

At last the evening arrives. No chance to fish today, only finished the daily grind and got home after 7pm.

Spent most of today around large industrial machinery. Filthy, dusty, and in real need of a shower. My crew had to replace a damaged boiler unit with a rebuilt unit. The engineer who inspected the old one decided it needed more work than could be done on site in the time permitted, as the plant wanted it back online as soon as possible. So out with the faulty unit, and the replacement boiler installed.  Read the rest of this entry »

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