- “You're paddling, Thomas!”
- ―Thomas' driver
One afternoon, Thomas and James pull up to the quay to take passengers from the ferry to different parts of the island. Thomas is taking his passengers to a small fishing village. James makes it quite clear that he would not go to any stinky old fishing village, though Thomas does not mind as he likes being by the sea. Some days, he even gets to dip his wheels in the waves that lap the edge of the tracks. Because of this, his driver jokes that Thomas is paddling.
One the way to the fishing village, Thomas' driver notices that the waves are higher than usual. He does not like the look of the waves, but Thomas trundles on, marvelling at the sight of the waves getting higher and higher.
At the fishing village, Thomas' passengers go for tea while Thomas is given more coal and water for the return trip. Suddenly, a fisherman comes running. He explains that he has boxes of fish that need to get to the docks in time to get to the Mainland. Henry was supposed to pick them up, but the track further down the line is flooded and he is stuck. Thomas agrees to take the fish.
Soon, all of the boxes of fish are loaded onto some flatbeds and tied down with thick ropes. One of the workmen tells Thomas not to brake too hard or the boxes on the last truck may break loose. Thomas leaves the village with three flatbeds, piled high with fish. When Thomas reaches the sea, the waves are even higher. Thomas is hesitant, but his driver reassures him. Just then, James comes up behind Thomas who is edging slowly forwards. James gets impatient and gives Thomas a shove. Thomas lurches forwards and slams on his brakes causing the ropes on the last flatbed to snap and several boxes of fish rain down on James who is horrified.
Meanwhile, the waves get higher and higher and have almost reached the top of Thomas' wheels. The driver reverses Thomas so that they can go the long way round to the docks. James has to back up, too and wait in a siding. Thomas tells James that he will have to wait a long time for washdown, but it will serve him right for being impatient. Thomas clatters away, leaving a very cross and smelly James behind to fume to himself.