The Edge

4am. On a boat. With one man.

As we motored into the blackness, I could feel the chill in the air, but the movement made it warm. A clear sky above, stars filling the morning black. This small boat. This aged and rusty vessel, skiffing through the water, surging north.

Below, the water rushed past the bottom edges, and the only sights past two metres were the occasional gull or waterbird, temporarily lit by the ships small lights.

Cluttered with buckets, flags, weathered rope. The motor chugging against the swell. The fresh smell of these chilled waters.

Powering into age old fishing lines. He showed me books, diaries and notes from previous generations. Men who had sailed these seas before the computer took over. Hand drawn latitudes and longitudes. Ideal grounds, rocky bottoms.

But the black. The black. The black.

A short sleep later, I rose to the beginnings of action. Bait lines, 2km at least, rustling through a basic contraption, sowing seeds for the fish deep down. 1 bucket, 2 buckets, 10 buckets later. Below us, a swarm of hooks.

And then slowly, the skies began to open up. Light sifted over the horizon to the south east slowly. Day was breaking. And then it broke.

A magnificent blue in the sky. Golden hour resting in the sky.

"Nice view isn't it" he said quite calmly, gesturing to our left.

And I looked in that direction.


A mountain, as thick as the earth, staring me in the face, clouded by a blue I have never seen before. A luminous present. A gift.

Four weeks of planning and patience had put me in these waters. A lifetime had told me that this was a story I wanted to tell. These people. These men. These traditions.

This bond to the silence, the emptiness and the grandeur of the sea.

Justin Batchelor