Friday, 2 January 2009


I have always been very proud of my cousins on both sides of the family tree. However Dad's fishing family side from Bluff and Stewart Island are about to become media stars.
The FV X-S ( pronounced excess) owned by my cousin Vaughn Fisher, is a magnificent vessel. The FV Shangri - La is another great workhorse skippered by Gordon Wardrop whose wife is another cousin. Both fish with their sons as crew. Many times when I watched the Deadliest Catch about the Alaskan Crab fishermen, I wondered how long it would be before someone would do something similar with the Southern Rock lobster fishermen. TV3 have done just that with Million Dollar Catch due to screen soon.
Most places Gordon and Vaughn fish are a salty, wet, heart stopping kinda hell. My son was crew for Gordon for a short time before he joined the X-S as crew for Vaughn for a couple of years, before embarking on his dream of becoming a helicopter pilot. He learned well under arguably the top lobster skippers in Bluff.
Various members of our family have been fishing for 6 generations. In fact the crews on both the X-S and Shangri- la are the 7th generation to take to the sea. It is a hard, uncompromising way to earn a living , they earn every big dollar they make and it is exponentially tougher to fish in the South than anywhere else in New Zealand. So if there is one programme you cannot miss this year it is Million Dollar Catch on TV3. The boys will tell it like it is - they know no other way.

The last time I was at my cousin Vaughn's place after the very sad occasion of the funeral of our uncle Peter Topi and our cousins who were drowned when the Kotuku sank in Foveaux Strait coming back from the muttonbird island. In fact up until that terrible day - in the course of 80 years, 14 men in dad's family died at sea.

The boys in Million Dollar catch have a great sense of humour, bawdy and black, honed after many, many hard years at sea. Like many people who have held the stare of the cold hard eyes of death, they embrace life like there may be no tomorrow. So watch Million Dollar Catch , and witness the salt crusted warriors of the southern seas at their outrageous best. And remember they are not larger than life , they just live large lives.

update Rewi Bull bought the Shangri La last year so will be one of the stars of the show. Good bloke and great whanau.

1 comment:

Keeping Stock said...

When is it on BB? I'll set the MySky.