Dress code: Rubber boots, rubber pants and work gloves. In the harbor of Funningsfjørður, I meet Steintór Debes (55). We get some boxes out of his van, board his vessel M/B Irdi and put out to sea. Which, in our case, means: we are on our way to Steintór’s buoys. Through our living room window and with my binoculars, I’ve spotted those buoys on the fjord a great many times. Now, I am right beside one of them.
As soon as Steintór starts the hydraulic winch, the line starts to move. Lobster pots rise to the water surface, one after another. Steintór lifts the pots onto the work table and shows me how to take the langoustines out of the pots – without getting into a fight with the langoustines and their sharp claws. Then, we equip the pots with new herring baits and put them in the setter.
Cod. Haddock. Prawns. Salmon. Halibut. Fishing in bad weather. 83rd parallel north. Even being eight months at sea. From crew member up to skipper: Steintór has done it all. Longline fishing, most of the time. „Fishing is deeply embedded in our society. It is about success, money and feeding families“, Steintór says and alters the ship's course – he wants to show me something special. Our speed slows down to six knots – some waves and current, finally.
While the boat’s engine does its work, I tell Steintór that I’ve always wanted to experience the daily routine on one of those deep-sea fishing vessels. In case I sign up for a ship tomorrow: What should I be able to do? Steintór’s answer to my question, sly smile included: „Be prepared to clean the ship, to wash your own clothes and to follow orders.“ If that’s all … I’m in!
In the meantime, we have reached our destination – Kalsoy’s majestic west coast. Somehow and in secret, the M/B Irdi must have shrunk along the way to the next island. With a height of 787 meters, Nestindar is Kalsoy’s highest peak. Steintór steers the M/B Irdi close to the island’s northern tip, northwestwards to Kalsvík, which is an amazing cove. Head back, I look up to the bold cliffs. Happiness. And two important insights. Namely: Size is always a question of perspective. And: Never underestimate an angry langoustine.