The port is full of life…
Noisy boats’ motor racing on the sea, fishermen shouting to their crew… seagulls eating and stealing fish on the auction …
Wet wood boards cracking on the seaport…

The activity is here, it’s 3pm and everybody is rushing to his works.

Like most of the people around, the lin-just crew is getting ready to his next escape on the sea.
There’s Jerome, Sebastien and Fred, the captain.
They’re tough guys, shaped by the strong sea, by their hard job and the 30 years they’ve been doing that.

They’re like soldiers going on battlefield when they’re preparing their gear: wet coat, boots, hooks, strings, etc…
They’re here to kill, to collect life from the sea …
3pm : time for the first part of the battle — settling the area, preparing the gap and analysing the enemy.
We’re leaving the ground then…

The engine motor starts his music… a loud and rusty metallic noise.
A ticking battle march song getting the crew on the right mood.

Well, it started now and we’ve passed the port gates… and as we’re sealing further and further from the coast, the air is growing more salty than it was, the city noise is melting away, like the cliffs… soon, we can’t even see the lands.

In the middle of the sea… not lost, But in the middle of nowhere… somehow.
Only the sonar is reminding us that we’re here, somewhere on the Normandy coast.

Only the radio tells us that there’s people around…
Virtual security… ghostly presence of safety…
Everything could happen from now…

The game, the battle, the hunt has started.

Jerome and Sebastien at work

Jerome and sebastien starts to throw the lines, nets, buoys, anchors and strings in our way… scattering bottles on sea, like little stones to find our way back.

But above all to trap the fishes.
And it looks even like a religious ritual… and at the same time, like something out of nowhere… as if the crew was doing all of these specific tasks without even thinking.

Like an automatic mode switched on… they’re moving like killers robots… deathly workers… mindless… speechless.

Sebastien throwing the 20kg anchors

Fred told me that’s normal… it’s something you get used to… it’s something you get bored of… eventually.

And I’m staring at them… watching and filming them as if they’re somehow strangers, strange specimen of human being… cold, noisy and mute at the same time.
They strong faces speaking for them.

Fred sealing

And they can work like that for ages as Fred told me… without talks… everyone doing his stuff, knowing what to do, when to throw that or this… as if they’re somehow connected each other.

And it seems to work as we’ve left the last of the fourteen traps.
It’s now 6pm and we’re going back to the ground, to eat something, to sleep for few hours and to leave again tonight for the second round.

1.30am, the van is parked on the docks, me inside, trying to have a nap.
The sky’s as dark as the sea and only the port lights are glowing in the dark.
Here I’m waiting for the crew to come.

There’s very few life … one docker or two moving around, sleepy, like zombies wandering in the empty space of the bay.

No sounds … no life here at the moment, and you could barely realize how active was the place few hours ago …

A new world is settled here … the night life, dark, quiet as a bat.

Then, the crew arrives, sleepy and speechless like the others … starting to animate the metallic body of the boat which is waking up slowly …

its engine warms up, first difficultly … the monitors are going on, sonar, 3d maps etc … the bat is awaken.

After a minute the Lin-Just is living again, moving quietly on the dark water of the port.

I feels like we’re on the Styx, moving ahead to our deathly destiny glowing far at the horizon like these tiny lights blinking on the black sea … our fourteen buoys somewhere, like the lighthouses scattering their firelight … red, blue, green …

And it’s all understood that tonight we’ll work hard … everybody is ready for that … It’s what they’re doing, for what they’re paid for … and I’m standing here, like a strange presence trying to understand their world, uses and habits … uncomfortably …

The boat is full of strange tools, filled with boxes, buoys, nets … It’s a different universe to me, smelling another life, another reality which I guess might be harder than mine judging by the way the crew is looking …

And then we arrived at the first trap.

The engine stopped, the guys woke up suddenly and the net jump out from the vacuum.

Rocks, pebbles, fish of all sorts … all together jumping on the boat in a messy wave of noise, blood and water … the nets are coming back to us with their dead passengers and their fleshy gifts.

A lot of our work is to kill the ones who’re still alive or trapped in the strings of the net, trying to escape, to breathe, to go back to the sea … but the fishermen won’t let them go.

Jerome at work

And again, like robots, they’re cutting, disassembling, opening the flesh, destroying the bodies of every newcomers … like a human hammer, drawing the line between animals and us by exploding the wild organic world.

The floor start swiping, flooded by blood, flesh and organic mess …

it becomes difficult to walk properly and I struggle to find a way between the dead bodies decaying here and there, the strings of the nets spinning around, bringing rocks and crabs …

And the noise … this demoniac clockwork growling all around …

And the smell of the salt mixed with the smoke and the ashes of the wet sailors cigarettes … the cold coffee they’re drinking makes me seek.

And the cold white light, blinking above this cimetery like a dead moon crying for all this violence.

Well, it’s a meticulous chaos … like a little part of some kind of hell, some kind of monstrosity that define human.

And the time seems to pass through … like the sea underneath … like the bloody stream of the fishing.

It seems like a minute is lasting an hour … but eventually … after a long night of massacre … the day’s rising again.

First, a tiny, subtle light … little dots in the black sky … a small fire at the horizon …

But after a moment which sounded like an eternity to me … the sun appeared and burn all the impurities of the night …

Well … I wish it could …

But these guys are like built in another matter than me … after hours and hours of working, killing, grabbing, destroying, throwing …
they’re still alive and functional … as they’ve been programmed to.
And in this red, orange and yellow morning, the fight went on …

Till the last net … till the last fish trapped …

And then, the same process again …

While Jerome is putting the fish in boxes to send them later on to the auction, Sebastien is setting the nets again and Frederic is heading the boat to another fishing area.

Like everyday … preparing the battle for tomorrow …

And I can’t even figure how they can still being awake … how can they still being moving after this ?

And above all, how do they find the strength to do this EVERERY SINGLE DAY of their life ?

Fred told me that he was born on this world …
Maybe you need to … maybe that’s the only way to survive to this way of life …

Being a fisherman sound to me, both, one of the most exiting job in the world and at the same time one of the most disgusting and difficult.

And these sailors are poly-morph as well : all the atrocity AND beauty you could find in humanity is encapsulated in them …

Killer Hunters and Freedom Fighters, Black and white …

Day and night
Earth and Ocean …

Fishermen Lives “A Day Onboard Of The Lin-Just” The 20th October 2015 at Fecamp, Normandy, France With the Friendly Collaboration of the Lin-Just Crew : Frederic Mury, Sebastien Mury and Jerome Trumeau.

Music by TotorRo from the album “All Glory To John Baltor”

Other stories and contents on : Medium, Storify, Official website

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.