Fishing at Piraeus anchorage

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Staying at anchorage for a few days is not a good option for a passenger who is travelling on board a container vessel – and who is paying for every day of his/her voyage – but for the crew it is a very good opportunity to slow down their rhythm and change the daily routine. Although seafarers are still working the same amount of hours per day when the vessel is at anchorage they are all a little more relaxed and able to find more time to enjoy doing their favourite activities. One of these activities is fishing. As a matter of fact, fishing is one of the leisure activities seamen can enjoy only when the vessel is stopped (at anchor, adrift and sometimes even alongside) and it requires only rich waters and the necessary fishing equipment. Most of the time, seafarers who enjoy fishing buy their fishing tools prior to their arrival on the ship – in case they are needed – or from the first supermarket they visit during their voyage. For this reason, there are always at least 6-7 people on the ship who own fishing equipment and most of them are willing to share it with anybody who wants to try it as soon as the right time comes.

For us the perfect time came last Saturday, when our vessel dropped anchor six miles outside the beautiful port of Piraeus, Greece.

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Surrounded by wonderful scenery, in the middle of the Saronikós Gulf and in a mild autumn weather, we were more than pleased to find out that our stay would last for at least three days, before starting our new itinerary and discover new territories (new for some of us).

With our own fishing equipment, but also with some borrowed tools, we tried our luck immediately after lunch. We spent half an hour outside without catching anything, but we were very happy to see the ‘capture’ of our fitter – who had thrown his bait into the water one hour before and recovered the fishing line with a very beautiful 4 kilo sword fish in the hook. We all took our turn in taking photos with this amazing creature and, although we all agreed that it was really beautiful, we were looking forward to tasting it (which really happened the next day, when our chief cook prepared it for dinner and gave everybody a portion).

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We started our first real fishing party on Saturday evening, together with 7-8 other members of the crew. Although the weather was not very friendly and the rain was pouring from the sky, we had our part of fun and enjoyed the night at full. In less than two hours I caught 19 pieces of mackerel and I was very happy to see all the others catching as much as me and enjoying the evening, despite the rain. Almost every capture which was coming on board was applauded by all the fellow fishermen, especially when the fishing line returned to its owner with more than one fish at a time – as it happened to me few times.

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We had a real good time and I really enjoyed the raw fish salad which came in the end as a bonus. Known by the tagalo name of ‘killaween’ this fish salad is a delicious companion for all the fishing parties on board the vessel and I am always looking forward to it.

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The night ended early for us (around 11 pm), but the next day we started again. The same place, the same time, but in a totally different weather. During the day, we had sunshine and more than 20 degrees in the air and when the night came the sky stayed completely clear, with lots of stars and a beautiful big moon. At 7 p.m. we were eager to start fishing, convinced that this night would bring us a lot more fish than the previous one, but we were mistaken. Some said that the moon was to blame. I do not know the reason, but the fishing party was not a success for me, neither for the others.

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I caught only 5 pieces of mackerel and we might have caught 3 kilos all together in more than three hours of trying. But nobody was disappointed and the evening took even a very interesting and exciting turn when a small grill was fired close to our fishing area and the fish was landing on the grill directly from the hook. Nothing tastes better than fresh fish on the grill, regardless its size. The salad was even more delicious – with a little touch of sword fish over the common mackerel – and disappeared in a few minutes, as it had to be shared with more than 10 people.

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We had a wonderful night again and we are looking forward to coming back here in the near future. I hope it will be for a longer period of time and more fish will welcome us in the area.

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