111 Days by Ross James


111 Days by Ross James describes life on a trawler during a stormy North Atlantic winter.

The trip began one October night in 2001. In the utter darkness of the high seas, I transferred from a fishery patrol ship to a rusty old trawler more than 200 miles from land, somewhere on Newfoundland’s Grand Banks. All I had by way of a handover was a note from my predecessor warning of a recent traumatic death on board the ship and his suspicions about the vessel fishing illegally.

I was fresh out of university and this was my first ‘proper job’ – a scientific fisheries observer, whatever that meant. Leaving my home and family back in Cornwall, I had no real clue what I was getting myself into, but I was thirsty for adventure. Alone, inexperienced and out of my depth, this is my diary; 111 Days, involving decapitation, hurricanes, mutiny and a dog named Pirate.


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