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At 0510 this morning the VHF woke up and began to speak in tongues. At least that’s what was happening in my dream

At 0511 I realized that 1) I wasn’t dreaming; and 2) It was’t tongues but Spanish.

At 0512 I was having a gam with Ramone, the captain of the fishing vessel Bartuiero. They are long-lining for swordfish and Ramone’s initial radio call was to inform me that they were shooting line and I might encounter their buoys.

Turns out that the her home port is Madrid, Spain. That’s right: Madrid. And if you think that I’ll be out a long time, their trips are between 6 and 8 months long. In the past 22 months, Ramone has been home for 4.

There are 2 officers, 3 engineers and 15 deckhands aboard. They fish 24/7 rain or shine and fhey are fishing the Pacific because, in Ramone’s words, “North Atlantic, not so good. South Atlantic, not so good.”

Besides from coming across them at all, the most surprising thing to me was the makeup of the crew. They are from Mozambique, Senegal, the Philippines, and Indonesia. No wonder I was dreaming tongues.

Here’s my point. These are incredibly hard working men doing a thankless job in an unforgiving environment that takes them away from their families for months. I would venture that none of this comes to mind when any one of us sees swordfish on the menu. However, the next time you do, think of what it took to get it there. And if you’re so inclined, offer up a prayer for the safe return to family and loved ones for the Bartuieros this world.

If you look really hard in this picture, you won’t see her. Neither did I. But this is the view in their direction this morning during our radio conversation.

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