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A Fishy New Hobby

My sister, Francine, has recently gotten into fishing. She moved out near the coast about a year back, and since then she’s steadily developed something of a passion for local seafood. Seemingly, one thing has led to another and now she’s literally knee-deep in catching her own fish.

She told me yesterday over beers that the next step is getting a boat. I nearly choked on my lemon wedge when she said that, since Francine has never even owned a car. Going one further, she wants to have the boat in question custom made. You’d think that marine welding and fabrication services in Melbourne, of all places, would be a fairly niche thing to come by, but Francine already has a list of possible candidates for the job. I can tell that she’s serious about this.

It’s vaguely interesting hearing her go on about fishing equipment and boat accessories, purely because my level of knowledge in this area is next to zilch. I mean, when she started up on the subject of custom stainless steel snapper racks, I thought she was talking about some sort of shelving unit for fish (actually, snapper racks are for holding fishing rods, Francine will have you know).

I have to say, I’m impressed with Francine’s growing expertise, or at least her ability to create the illusion of having it. It’s probably not very generous of me to second-guess her, really – she made a mean fish taco situation happen on the barbie with goods she’d caught herself. It’s only when she gets to blathering on about bait boards and bow rails that I start to wonder if she’s making things up, but a quick definition check on my phone generally comes through with a result concerning some steel accessories for fishing boats.

Plate alloy fabrication is the next aspect of the whole shebang that Francine plans to look into, she tells me. She’s plotting to have an alloy hull constructed to her specifications and fit it out herself, with the help of a friendly couple she met down at the beach. Whatever floats your boat!

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That First Stressful Night

Boat restaurants, believe it or not, often don’t even have motors.

I made that up, but I’m trying to salvage this situation so you’ll forgive me my fanciful wishes. I thought I was being hired as a waiter for the ‘Salty Salmon’ but apparently the boss walked out five minutes before my first shift and…okay, I can’t explain the part where I got the job as boss. I think I was volunteered, but it all happened so fast. We’re supposed to be having a grand re-opening tonight- there’s a bigwig restaurant critic coming along and everything- but the cooks are lazy, the tables aren’t even set up, there’s no layout and I *think* the fish in the freezer were left on the counter for a least a few hours before someone put them in there. Oh, and I’m now sweating as I search for Melbourne places that do outboard motor repair, because ours is totally shot. The Salty Salmon offers a tour of the bay as part of its meal, or so I’ve heard, but we’re not going anywhere until we get the main motor fixed.

In hindsight this was a bad idea. I’ve never actually run a restaurant before, but I think I just said yes because I’ve always WANTED to. It’s been my dream to run a really quality restaurant, and now I have the chance to take this place and really make something of it. It’s on a boat, too! I do love the sea. But why did it have to be on such an important night? Is this a test to see if I can handle the pressure??

Alright, I’ll take it as that. I can do this…just need to whip the chefs into shape, sort the good fish from the bad, look into Melbourne’s outboard motor servicing options, find someone who can actually sail a boat, take my inhaler, make sure we have enough gas and maybe have a look over the menu so I know exactly what it is we serve. And I’ve got a whole…two hours, wow, golly. Wonderful.