I got a message from my fisherman contact at Tanjung Dawai that there were many birds about at sea, so Choo Eng and I took time out to join the crew today.
We headed out to sea before dawn.
Too early for some!
The fishing crew were up early, stitching together some new nets.
The cooking crew at the back of the boat snoozed through the dawn!
This is peak ikan bilis (anchovy) season, so it wasn't long before the nets were going out.
...and being winched back in.
Bringing in the nets is wet work, and the crew wear a variety of hats. The conical hat in the centre is my favourite. It's made from papier mache and covered in plastic, and seems to be quite durable!
The catch is brought to the right side of the boat. The men shout 'satu, dua, TIGA' to get into a good rhythm as they haul the net in.
A hydraulically-powered net is used to scoop up the catch...
...which is then poured into a chute leading to the 'cooking end' of the boat.
Fish are sorted by hand, edible ones, like squid and Spanish mackerel, are removed and put into separate baskets; unwelcome ones, like jellyfish, are dumped straight back into the ocean.
Here are two of the commoner varieties.
The process is repeated till the net is empty.
At the stern the fish are boiled in several large vats, while the terns wait impatiently for scraps.
Freshly boiled fish are passed up to the upper deck where they are stacked.
Next stop the breakfast table!
With the fish processed, it's time for a bath in a very limited supply of fresh water!
Lunch is served fresh!
Time to snooze and relax till the next catch.
It's not a bad life!
Presided over by the ship's friendly mascot!