seagulls scavenging gash in the wake


Senior Member
Argentina Spanish

In this text:

"Man Kee would not be parted from the telescope and when he had been persuaded to relinquish his grip the whirring inside the mounting had stopped and all Lily could see was a quivering opaque circle of white light with a scratched surface. By the time Chen had found a second coin the ship was over the horizon and Lily was left with a view of seagulls scavenging gash in the wake."

... I don't understand why it says "seagulls scavenging gash in the wake" instead of "seagulls scavenging the gash in the wake". I understand that "gash" means "a long deep cut". I suppose that "gash in the wake" refers to the "cut" left in the water by the ship that they were seeing with the telescope.
So, why doesn't it say "the gash in the wake" as in "the hole in the ground"? Aren't they referring to a specific gash?

Just to be sure if my understanding is correct: the seagulls are looking for food in the water like this, in the wake of the ship (I couldn't find a picture of the water looking really cut).

Thanks in advance!
  • maxiogee

    The wake is the gash, so that wouldn't make sense.
    Chambers English Dictionary gives four meanings of "gash" and the last one is adjective spare, extra (slang). — noun rubbish, waste (slang, originally and especially nautical).

    So you can assume that the fishermen are possibly cleaning and filleting the fish on the deck, or picking out species they don't want, from the nets and throwing the waste - the gash - into the wake of the boat.