I have a somewhat uneasy love of boats. I’ve spent my whole life growing up in an environment where boats play a massive cultural and historical role, where fishing is a significant part of the local economy. My father and auntie were accomplished rowers by very young ages, though this hasn’t quite filtered down to me. I loathe swimming and have a dreadful fear of being suspended above large bodies of water. Despite this, I feel a natural affinity with all things nautical, albeit one I don’t realise very often.
I can row, vaguely, and do so at least a couple of times a year in a small red boat which has belonged to our family for generations. The few times I’ve been on large sailing ships have been immensely enjoyable experiences – I even got to steer one briefly, thanks to a school trip we went on. Larger, modern ships do not have the same effect, and can often be intimidating in their bleak metal masses.
What I’ve found interesting recently, having been forced to temporarily move to town (see a future blog post), is watching all the various ships which sail into the harbour. From a very handy website, I can see that at this present moment there are fishing boats, passenger ships, fishing boats, tugs, lifeboats, diving vessels; from the UK, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, the Bahamas and Cyprus. What’s more, if I look to my left I can see these very ships through the window. It’s incredibly to think of the great distances these ships have travelled, their foreign crews with a multitude of experiences, trading, investing, visiting. A wonder of our globalised world.
My interest in boats is very superficial, akin to trainspotting, but they are ethnically and culturally a part of who I am.