Today I became a local fisherman. Ok, so I just helped them pull in their nets. Once. But it felt really good and even that 10 minutes was hard work. The fisherman have been working non-stop since we walked down to the beach at 9am and probably well before that.
A few days ago, we met an old man with a baseball cap on who stopped to talk to us beyond all the hotels, near to the guest house where we are renting a room. At first we thought he was going to suggest a way for us to spend our money like so many of the people here, however it became apparent that he just wanted to talk about his children and that was very nice.
This is morning we saw him again pulling in the fishing nets and he smiled and waved, that was the first time we saw them pulling in a catch today (it takes about 3 hours non-stop to set the nets, pull them in, sort the fish, put all the nets back into the boat and off they go again. They’re just about to start the fourth time now as I write and the old man is still signalling me to help him pull the rope.)
The second time they set the nets, we went down by them to sit and observe them pulling in the fish, the old man with the cap was there looking over and smiling, signalling for us to help them with the rope pulling. There’s a team of 9 men pulling on each side of the net, it stretches in a semi-circular shape maybe half a mile out into the ocean. A man out in the deep water with a snorkel on lets them know which side should be pulling the hardest.
5 times they signalled for us to help with the rope, his friend joining in also, so I decided to do it. Very satisfying actually. Soph and I had been wondering why this frantic fishing was happening today rather than the other 4 days that we’ve been here, and as I was helping the man told me today was good day for fishing, the last good day. I do wonder why. When the catch came in the White people emerged from their hiding places to see what the fisherman had hauled in, cameras in hand.
To our horror there was a beautiful, upside down, turtle in one of the nets. Horror turned into realisation that it might be a delicacy and that we should accept it might be their culture to eat it. Thankfully they quickly untangled the turtle, turned it the right way up, and yanked it by its fins to the waters edge. It bumbled off into the waves with a crowd of people taking pictures! One of them is above, it’s the first time I’ve seen a turtle up close and it didn’t disappoint. What a beautiful animal, I’m glad it didn’t become dinner in a soup.
Although I didn’t have much to do with the fishing, it was a great experience and one I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. There’s a picture of me and Wahid as well, great guy.