Hi, I'm Bryan Yeaton and this is the Weather Notebook.
Every year, residents of Cape Clear Island in Ireland watch schools of mackerel invade their port. The ocean looks like it's boiling!. According to commentator Chuck Kruger, this annual rite is an integral part of the fishing culture on the island.
"A wizened Cape Clear Islander, his black beret perched debonairly on his pate, sees me looking wistfully out to sea. He teases me with some Irish words he knows I don't understand and quietly in English adds, "Can ye smell 'em? Sometimes you can tell they're here by the calm streaks in the water from their oil. Some of the old men with the gray beards that knew everything about the sea, they could be smelling them from everywhere, even the middle of the island". I remain lost. "Ah", he exclaims, "I thought ye were a fisherman. I mean the mackerel".
My fondest memories of mackerel are from recent summers. Sitting in our garden, about three hundred yards up from the harbor, on some of those windless scorchers, my wife and I watch hundreds of feet of surface water suddenly sparkle, turn turquoise as though hit by a gust from above. Swaths of water explode. Time after time we hear thousands of mackerel leaving and striking the water as they initiate yet another sudden change of direction. Each schooling sounds like ten thousand pebbles sown by some invisible giant hand. At last we understand the term, "Mackerel Boil".
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