Small World, Sometimes

A long long LONG time ago when we fished for lobster we worked Lydonia Canyon east of Nantucket, maybe 150 miles from land, on the edge of the continental shelf. In December 1972 we lost most of our gear to the Russian fleet, and in 1973 lost other gear to Polish and East German vessels.  It wiped us out. We switched to sword fishing. Back then the fishery was illegal so it was a black operation, smuggling the fish we landed past weigh stations. We fished in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, fast forward 40 years to January 2013. I was aboard a container ship returning from Singapore via the Suez Canal and as we approached New York I realized we were transiting exactly over Lydonia Canyon. There was even lobster gear – buoys – in the water exactly where we had fished years ago. When we reached New York some of the crew shifted and our bosun Norm was replaced by Ziggy, from Poland, former fisherman with the Polish Fleet.  I’m an Able Body Seaman and nearly ancient and Ziggy was getting up there and he tells me on the way in to Charleston his first time in the Atlantic was fishing Georges Bank as a kid in 1973. He said they’d torn their nets with lobster gear. I said, were the traps wire and red coated? He said they were. Turns out his boat was the boat we watched tear through our gear that summer. We probably saw each other, him cursing this little wooden boat messing up their nets and us cursing this big rusty Communist ship ignoring our marker buoys. Back then I was running the boat, relief skipper, and Ziggy was the green man. Now years later he’s the bosun and I’m working for him. We went together twice New York to Singapore and back. He gave me a hard time. Finally I told him I had forgiven him. It may be a big ocean but it’s a small small world.036

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