A FAM­ILY AF­FAIR

A re­lax­ing day out on the boat with his sons leads to a heart­warm­ing mo­ment for Guy Grieve

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

Guy Grieve is proud that his sons are a chip off the old block

Han­dling teenage kids is an art and any at­tempt to sug­gest an ac­tiv­ity gen­er­ally re­sults in an op­po­site re­ac­tion. Ob­vi­ously I’ve long wanted my boys to come out and work on the boat and maybe even learn to scal­lop dive. How­ever, if I had pres­sured them into any of this the re­sult would have been, at best, forced labour. At worst, it could have been a to­tal switch off from all things work­ing boats and sea re­lated.

So I’ve al­ways left it to them to come to me, and for a while I thought it was a lost cause, so caught up seemed they in the tsunami of dis­tract­ing frills and non­sense that has swamped their en­tire gen­er­a­tion.

But then re­cently the hol­i­days struck, and the boys came to Mull to see friends. Ca­su­ally I sug­gested they come out to sea for the day. I wasn’t fish­ing due to it be­ing a crew rest pe­riod so it could just be a lit­tle pot­ter about.

As is now be­com­ing ex­pected the day dawned in its usual Cal­i­for­nian style; clear and bright and warm. The sea sparkled and the gen­tlest of breezes played across the wa­ter enough to cool us all to per­fec­tion.

We steamed out of the loch and headed out across gen­tle blue sil­ver waters towards the main­land. Half­way out I glanced at the sonar and saw an in­ter­est­ing reef show it­self briefly as the boat passed over. I couldn’t re­sist. I swung He­lena around and steamed back over it slowly. It looked very in­ter­est­ing in­deed. There could be scal­lops down there. I thought I’d just have a lit­tle check as the sea was like a millpond and quiet as a li­brary.

I made a mark on my Olex com­put­erised sea chart over the reef and then asked my youngest boy Luke to come into the wheel­house. ‘Luke, I have a mis­sion for you.’ He looked at me calmly. Bright eyed and all at­ten­tion

‘You’re go­ing to drop me on that mark and as you’re near­ing it grad­u­ally zoom in. At the point you drop me the boat must be in neu­tral and turn­ing gen­tly to star­board.’ He looked about. ‘How am I go­ing to do that?’ ‘Let’s prac­tice on a few old marks,’ I sug­gested, and he read­ily took the wheel.

Now a lot of old timers find it quite hard guid­ing a boat onto a com­put­erised way­point. They’re the ana­logue gen­er­a­tion; it’s not in­stinc­tive. And so it was fas­ci­nat­ing to see just how quickly Luke was able to guide our 10.4 tonne old boat ac­cu­rately onto one prac­tice mark af­ter an­other. The lit­tle boat on the screen and the way­point be­came just an­other one of his in­fer­nal com­puter games and the old ship’s gear and throt­tle trans­formed into rus­tic playsta­tion con­trols.

I got into my gear and stood ready as Luke headed for the real way­point. I heard the gear flip into neu­tral and the rpm drop away as the boat glided towards the mark whilst turn­ing to star­board. ‘Standby,’ he called, then: ‘Go!’ I dropped in and sank down, half ex­pect­ing an aborted dive due to a miss-drop. In­stead I landed plum on top of the reef. The boy had done well. It was worth it too. The whole area was car­peted with good chubby scal­lops con­tent­edly suck­ing at the cur­rent. I swam around, fill­ing my bag in a leisurely fash­ion; then, when it was full, I swam slowly up and sur­faced. The boat was a proper dis­tance away – not too far and not too close.

I saw the dive lad­der low­ered and the boat ap­proach­ing me slowly, com­ing to an ex­pert halt and drift­ing to ex­actly the right spot. I glanced towards the wheel­house and saw Os­car, my el­dest boy, at the helm. As I hauled my­self up the lad­der and took my gear off on the sunny deck I tried to hide my sat­is­fac­tion. Be­ing teenagers, it doesn’t do to show too much ap­proval. But for me it was a ma­jor coup. One boy had skill­fully dropped me and the other picked me up. It seemed that not all those wa­tery lessons had been in vain.

Later as the boys took turns at the helm steam­ing home Juliet told me qui­etly: ‘When you jumped in Luke said he wanted to learn to dive.’ Hear­ing her words a feel­ing of hap­pi­ness suf­fused my heart and soul and warmed me more pro­foundly than any sun­shine on earth.

“It seemed that not all of those wa­tery lessons had been in vain

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