The Endeavour Bites Back - Dave Spurgeon

Working a boat in the Thames isn't always easy. Sometimes the seasonal fisheries don't arrive on time. Sometimes they don't arrive at all. The decline in the shrimping fishery in the early 70s was due to the large amount of cod that started coming up the Thames (cod eat large amounts of shrimps). This prompted Peter Wexham and me to look for something else to do so we teamed up with another boat, the Eileen, and decided to go and work out of Ramsgate for a few weeks.

We set sail one Monday morning and met the Eileen at Southend pier. The weather was fine when we left Leigh-on-Sea but by the time we got to the Red Sand towers, the wind had increased a lot from the north east and we were side on to the sea and rolling about a lot. Peter was at the wheel and spoke to the other boat on the radio. They decided to turn back. To try and get a bit of shelter Peter headed for the south Shoebury buoy. About half way across the river Peter asked me to take the wheel so he could go and have a rest. This I did.

We had been taking a few seas over the boat so I decided to have a pump out. The pump was driven by 3 link belts on the front of the engine and you had to go down in the fish hold to engage it. I jumped down the hold and went to engage the pump just as the boat rolled. I slipped and my hand went into the belts. They picked up the back of my hand and round the engine pulley it went (being a nice slim person, I wish). I heard a crack and as I didn't get thrown over, my elbow had taken all the twist. When I looked at my hand all the skin was missing from the back and my thumb was lying across the back of my hand broken in two places. Blood started dripping from the cuts; I shouted at Peter and he came and helped me get out of the hold and down into the cabin.

I heard him call the coastguard on the radio and they sent out the inshore lifeboat. It was decided not to transfer me but escort the Endeavour to Southend pier where the lifeboat doctor and an ambulance were waiting for me. I was put onto a stretcher and into a waiting train, a morphine injection from the doctor and off to hospital with one broken thumb and a shattered elbow. Perhaps the Endeavour doesn't like Ramsgate after Dunkirk?

(The Endeavour bites back!)

ED: Dave repaired well, but does suffer with pain in his hand during the winter.

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