Like so many people who grew up near the coast, Capt. Borja couldn’t resist the call of the sea. So after 12 years of working on land, he finally decided to become a seafarer, and eventually a charter operator.
Capt. Borja shares with us life on board a commercial fishing vessel and the perks of living in Basque Country.
Where were you born? I was born in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
The place you consider as your hometown? I consider Zumaia [also in Basque Country] as my hometown.
How did you become a fisherman? I have always loved the sea, after being a photographer for 12 years I decided I wanted to learn to repair things and studied nautical engineering and started in fishing vessels, where I still am nowadays.
How did Getari Charter started? Getari Charter started because we saw that there was not such service for tourists or locals (those who do not have a boat).
How did your career as an officer in a tuna seiner influenced your putting up of Getari Charter? Life in the engine in a tuna seiner is very hard, learnt a lot in ship maintenance so I decided to make the jump.
You’ve fished from Africa to Europe, which country would you most likely to go back to? Why? I like the Gulf of Guinea, nice weather everyday and calm sea. We fished in Ireland but very rough seas, it was cold and wet there.
What’s the best aspect of fishing in Basque Country? Best aspect is that I am in my house every night!!
When the best time go fishing in Getaria and the best fishing technique to use? Best time for fishing is between October and March, loads of fish. Bottom fishing works nice this time.
Basque country looks like a place straight out of fairy tales. What is it about Getaria or Basque Country that you’re most proud of? The people are very open, always welcoming you to their home, a little brute but very honest.
What’s your best fishing memory? When we were fishing tuna in Ireland, we caught them one by one, we had the face of exhaustion and happiness after fishing for 2 hours non stop.
What’s your worst fishing or sea experience? When I had my practical captain exam, we were stranded for 36 hours in the coast of France, we nearly went down. The boat could not go forward, we were caught among very strong currents. The waves passed over us and broke astern without being able to do nothing, finally we managed. We even phoned home!!
If you’re not a fisherman today, what would you be doing? If I was not a fishermen I really don’t know, I also volunteer in search and rescue for the red cross in Getaria base.
There are people who genuinely love fishing. Would you consider yourself as one of them? Yes,I love fishing, I like the pull of the line. And whenever you get a huge bite, you know you’re doing a job very few people would do.
Captain Borja operates from a charming fishing village of Getaria. It’s a town made up of cobblestone streets and rolling green hills sloping to the sea - a common scenery in Basque Country. It’s the birthplace of fashion icon Balenciaga, and home to the Txakoli - the unknown Basque white wine.
Off its coast lies Bay of Biscay, one of the oldest maritime waters in Europe. Wrecks here go back for hundreds of years, and are now teeming with marine life. Go fish for tuna, sea bass, mackerel, dentex, grouper, bonito and other species.