John Worswick Chapter 8
I’ve been diving for scallops since 99. So about 18 years. I learnt to dive when I moved down here. I did a bit of diving with one of the other guys just for fun and thought, yep, I can find a few scallops. I’ll give this a go. It’s great when your living is your hobby and your hobby is your living! Can’t be bad can it? It’s pretty safe really, but complacency can be a recipe for disaster. If you’re very meticulous with your gear, you make sure everything works before you jump in, then it’s all going to be alright. Probably the thing that’s made the biggest difference to us here is that in 2007, 2008 we had had a marine protected area brought in which stopped trawling and dredging in a reasonably big area of Lyme Bay. Since then the sea bed’s recovered, the scallop stocks have recovered. It’s all been pretty positive. I get more and bigger scallops because they’re being left longer to grow. We’re a close community. I mean, we’re all trying to earn a living, but it’s in everybody’s interest that we get on with each other and help each other out. One of the boats filled up with water and sunk recently. Nobody really knows what happened, but it went down in minutes. Fortunately the guys managed to get life jackets on and put out a distress call. It was Mark who heard them and notified the Coastguard. I can’t think what I’d do if I retired. I’d get bored stupid. I’d have to find something else to do, so if I can keep doing something I enjoy, and that pays me a few quid, it’s got to be better than playing bowls. It’s the hunter-gatherer thing I like. There aren’t many jobs now where people are paid purely by their effort. Most people are paid by the week, by the month. Whereas every day, for us, the more you get, the more you earn. You’ve got an hour where nobody can get hold of you, there’s no phone, nobody asking you anything, no noise. All year hear are bubbles and occasionally the boat when it comes to pick up a bag. But you are totally away from it. I find it quite stress free, but I’m not sure everybody would! I don’t find it hard work whatsoever but to some degree Jez does. He comes up with, “Oh I’m knackered!” whereas I don’t. I think it’s because he’s been doing it three years and I’ve been doing it nearly 20. But I do find if I do some other form of exercise, I get knackered probably loads quicker. If I was fixing a car, laying under a car like Jez does, I’d struggle.