Fishing can be a dangerous sport
| “How’s it going, Dave, caught anything yet?” |
Dave turned around at the sound of his mate’s familiar voice coming down the beach.
“Hi Baz. Nah, nothing yet, though my missus has promised me one of her fish pies if I catch a few.”
“I reckon the salmon will be running tonight.”
It was getting dark; the wind picking up. It would be a chilly night. Despite the cold, the lure of a good catch was too hard to resist.
“Fancy a drop?” Dave passed the flask, the smell of scotch strong on his breath.
“Nah. Thanks anyway, mate. I like to keep a clear head, gotta keep a watch out.”
Dave shrugged, taking another nip before slipping the silver flask back in his jacket pocket.
The two men stood side by side in companionable silence, the sound of the ocean a soothing background noise in the darkness.
After about an hour with no luck, Dave moved further along the rocks. The waves seemed to be bigger than before. He shivered and sighed. “I’m bloody freezing.”
Taking his eye off his line whilst he searched for his whisky flask. He gasped when suddenly he was up to his knees in sea water.
“Shit! That was close.” He was no stranger to the area and knew the danger of freak waves.
Deciding he should move back to his original position further up the rocks, he reeled in his line, but as he did so, a wall of water confronted him. The force of the torrent knocked him off his feet. Freezing water picked him up as if he weighed nothing, tossing him into the giant waves, over the jagged rocks and out into the black night.
“Hey Dave! You okay?” Baz’s voice called out into the darkness. “Dave!” he screamed, but the wind whipped his words from his mouth and out into the darkness.
Trembling, the man grabbed his phone and called the emergency number. That was all he could do, he was helpless.
Meanwhile, out in the freezing ocean, Dave battled to survive. Salt water stung his eyes and enormous waves crashed over him. Attempting to cry for help, the wind stole his cries and his mouth filled with water.
He turned towards the cliffs, desperate to avoid being dragged further out from the shore. Facing five metre walls of water, he tried to stay afloat, but knew he couldn’t sustain the effort for much longer.
His clothes were waterlogged, dragging him under. Unzipping the heavy jacket, his hand brushed the whiskey flask as it sank down into the depths.
Baz was his only hope. Dave prayed his friend had realised what had happened and already called the coast guard. He looked up into the blackness, hoping to see the beam of a helicopter, yet knowing death was more likely than survival.
Strength failing fast, he reasoned he should remove his heavy dark clothing before their weight dragged him down.
Struggling out of the sodden outer clothes, Dave saw the irony of his selection of his underwear that morning. The fluorescent orange garment may yet become a lifesaver.
He was cold. His strength leaving him.
A noise, louder even than the roaring of the waves, penetrated his foggy brain. The rescue helicopter’s searchlight hit the water.
“Here! Here!” he screamed in frustration, but the wind whipped away his pitiful cries, defenceless against the roar of the Southern Ocean.
Pulling off the brightly coloured underwear, he lay on his back, waiting until at last he saw the aircraft coming his way again.
He waved the orange garment frantically until at last the searchlight hit his naked white body.
Eventually a rescue diver winched down to join Dave in the boiling ocean, diving under the water and securing a harness around the shivering body. Within minutes they were hauled up into the belly of the chopper.
He lay gasping, vomiting seawater, a trembling, wet, naked man. Much like a sea creature caught on the end of a line. When at last he could speak, he gasped, “Thanks, guys. Thank god your fishing expedition turned out better than mine.”
• 1 kg potatoes
• 320 g sprouting broccoli
• 100 g tartare sauce
• olive oil
• 400 g piece of salmon , skin off, pin-boned
• 320 g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
• 1 bunch of chives (20g)
• 165 g raw peeled king prawns
• Half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Boil the kettle. Scrub the potatoes, chop into 3cm chunks, place in a large shallow casserole pan and cover with boiling kettle water. Bring back to the boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender, trimming and adding the broccoli for the last 4 minutes. Drain, put the broccoli aside, return the spuds to the pan and mash well with the tartare sauce and ½ a tablespoon of olive oil, then season to perfection. Put back on a medium heat and use the back of a spoon to spread the mash across the base and sides of the pan. Drizzle with oil, then transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
Meanwhile slice the salmon lengthways just under 1cm thick. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop the chives. Toss it all with the prawns, lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. When the mash is golden, arrange the blanched broccoli on top, then lay over the dressed salmon, prawns and tomatoes. Return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the fish and prawns are cooked through.
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Recipe word count: 175
Story word count : 680