Wayfarer Column- Fishermen’s surprise at catching an elephant

A good tale does not have to be an old tale, in fact many a good tale is within living memory.

However old tales have presumably been told many times, which means that they may have also have been embellished quite a few times, so they have with the telling become more entertaining.

Fishermen are always coming up with strange tales either of the size of the fish they nearly caught, or to the excuse of why the one they actually did catch was so small. However here we have a fishy tale of a different kind about a trawler the Faithlie fishing out of its home port Aberdeen in October 1963 when its net bulged with a heavy catch.

Imagine the crew’s surprise when a tusk of an elephant broke the surface to be followed by another tusk then a trunk. They had caught an elephant some 60 miles of the Scottish coast, but it had obviously been in the water for some time so they let it slide back into the sea.

In April 1982 the crew of a trawler saw something floating in the sea some 32 miles off the Aberdeen coast and when they went to investigate found it was a dead elephant. Now what the fish thought of elephants in their terrain particularly as the skin of an elephant is far too tough to eat, cannot be imagined, but then again why is it that elephants are found off the Aberdeen coastline.

Are they trying to escape from the thrift of the Aberdonians or is there a colony of elephants in Aberdeen. Will we ever know the truth, I doubt it but whilst on fishermen’s tales we hear of the trawler Sharon Louise fishing some 200 miles east of Peterhead in 1987 when taking in their supposed catch the crew found a large part of a lorry in their net and could actually read its registration number before they had to cut it loose.

There are many strange things to be found at sea and no doubt the sea fishermen are quite as capable of enhancing their tales as much as their brother fishermen who fish the rivers and lochs can.

Another tale about fishing off the Aberdeen coast concerned nine sailors who were clinging to the keel of their upturned boat when a giant wave washed them clear before sinking the boat. If they had not been washed clear then the suction of the sinking boat would have drowned them.

All nine were later safely picked up by trawlers fishing nearby.

All this about the seas off the east coast particularly the Aberdeen area, makes me wonder what other tales the Aberdonians have to tell. See you next week.