The 70 metre, 2424 ton Jon Kjartansson pelagic trawler dominated the little port of Eskifjordur – generators growling and lights ablaze. Fascinated, we asked Berglind if she could arrange a visit.
Jon Kjartansson was in from fishing for blue whiting south of the Faroe Islands and if I remember rightly she had landed 800 tonnes for processing. Her foray had burnt 140 000 litres of her 482 000 litre diesel capacity. She was about to set sail and first stop was Tórshavn to top up the tanks, diesel being 12 Icelandic Kroner a litre cheaper there than in Iceland.
The on-watch engineer showed us her fishing grounds which were all over the north Atlantic. He explained that the worst water was 300 to 400 nautical miles to the west of Ireland in winter where the seas could be huge. Despite the spotless, luxurious accommodation and financial gain, trawling in winter gales and 13 metre swell cannot be for the faint hearted.
The bridge resembled a multi-console video gaming platform and as we descended the stairs at the end of our visit, I couldn’t help thinking that the fish really don’t stand much of a chance with vessels such as this harvesting the seas.
The Jon Kjartansson was built in Norway in 2003 for a family fishing company in Whalsay, Shetland and was named Charisma. The Whalsay fishers have a new Charisma that bit longer, bigger, faster, and better equipped than her predecessor. Her holds can store 2350 tonnes of fish and her diesel tanks 599 000 litres. Definitely worth checking pump prices before filling up.