Atlantic Ocean, Scotland - Angus Mackay

My name is Angus Mackay and I’m originally from Scotland but I’m living now in Thedford, Ontario. I’m a lead hand with McKeil Murray. This is my sixth season going in working with them.

I enjoy working with McKeil. I’ve worked on the lakes, I’ve worked up on the East Coast up around Newfoundland and all the way up into the Arctic. Right now I’m doing some time up in Deception Bay.

My most powerful memory of water would be off the west coast of Scotland commercial fishing. That’s what I did prior to coming over to Canada. Getting out was interesting and exciting. It was going out on perfectly calm evenings where there was no light, just the light of the stars on the vessel going out. Then when you got out in some bad weather and you could feel the actual power of the ocean, the power of that stopping you, and you have to give in to it and turn around, if you can turn around and head back in for shelter.

What I also liked about living over there, I come from the Western Isles, so it’s hard to believe in pristine beaches. The waves that can come crashing in, just perfect for surfing. If only we could add a little bit of heat to that, it is a beautiful beautiful spot. But I do love the lakes too. Lake Huron is my favorite Great Lake because when I came to Canada, that’s the lake that I came to. It was the first lake that I saw.

I arrived over in Canada in December. After the ice had cleared I’d come back in one day and I was standing at the door and I was looking out. A friend of mine said, what are you looking at. I said, well you know we’ve been gone for about 3 hours now and that tide hasn’t moved one bit the whole time, and then I realized what I was saying. The lake was so vast that I really thought for a moment that I was looking out at the ocean. But I knew something was wrong because the tide hadn’t moved for 4 hours.

I like all the lakes, but I like Lake Huron because that’s the one I know the best, the one I fished one. That is my favorite. I think water is in my blood. Coming from an island off the west coast of Scotland where 90% of the men have either joined the merchant navy or become commercial fishermen, I grew up where I was raised. The water was not more than 80 feet from the door and that was at low tide. I think it’s become more important to me as I grow older and as I come along.

Again I go back to the pristine beaches that are over there and it is so beautiful to walk along there. You see the seaweed and you see the natural stuff that’s brought in. But you don’t see a lot of garbage and stuff. And that’s changing each and every day. I think its a responsibility to keep that change and we are heading in the right direction because even when you are walking the shores here you don’t see what you used to see 10 years ago as a commercial fisherman we would be guilty of doing. These people don’t do that today. So we are learning, we are learning to protect what’s around us and enjoy it and hold on to it for the next generations so that 10 years from now they won’t be able to find anything down there to pick up and put into garbage bags. That’s the goal.

I think the one story I remember is with my brother and I guess it goes back to what we do. I was out, I’m not sure how old I’d have been, maybe 6, and we were sailing little tie boats. My brother’s boat broke lose. Because I was the little brother, 5 years younger, he sent me to go and get it. So we’re out in shorts and of course no shoes on. He sent me out to go after his boat. I stood on a broken bit of glass. I’ll never forget it. I think he knew that glass was out there and that’s why he sent me out there. Again we go back to maybe 10 years from now and when somebody steps out to that same spot there will be no more glass. He still does the same thing to me today, you know he sends me off to some place where there might be danger, send Angus in first you know.

McKeil Marine
Angus Mackay

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