Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Fish

On the way to the librarians house, we sorta got lost. We had her name written down and the name of the village she lives in on a piece of paper. I showed it to people we met as we walked toward the village. When we got close, a young fisherman seemed to say he knew her. He said, "Is it ok if I follow you?". "OK. Thank you." I said, giving his broken English in the moments before, I assumed he meant to lead us. He did. I was about a mile. Along the way I started asking him about himself. He is a
fisherman. He has been married 7 years but his wife is now pregnant for the first time. He is looking forward to being a father.

I asked how the fishing was and if he every caught extra fish. "Yes, I sell them to my neighbors, sometimes." he said. So I asked if he might catch one and sell it to us. "Sure, I'll bring one tomorrow." I asked if he fished on Sunday, as this was Saturday. He said probably not, so promised to bring some on Monday.

Yesterday, we needed to go to the store, so we and Bold Spirit took an early collective bus over to the other side to JMB Enterprises and bought the things we needed. We were back by 11, and all the canoes were still out. We seemed to have made it. About 4 PM, as I was repairing some corroded electrical wires, we hear Bold Spirit on the radio, "There is a canoe by your boat!". Trinda looks out and sure enough it is Tanre. I look and see 3 very large yellow fin tuna, maybe 40 pounds each. We ask him
aboard for a drink and call Jeff on Bold Spirit to come so he can help us decide how much fish to buy, as he had said if I succeed he would like some fish too.

We offer Tanre a drink, water, beer or juice. He says he can't have beer, "My wife would know..." and settles for water. I gave him a tour of the boat while waiting for Jeff and Kathy. It must have been the first time on a sailboat, cause he was surprised at everything. We finally decide that Jeff and I would split one fillet today, and maybe buy another fish about Thursday, in 4 days. He gets $1 a pound for the whole fish, so we settle on $15 for the fillet. He made a show of putting it in his pocket
so his wife wouldn't know he had it.

We asked him about his fishing technique. He got back in the outrigger canoe and demonstrated the technique. He doesn't have a down-rigger like the salmon fishers in the northwest. He had a large milkfish. He cut off a fillet and skinned it. Cut it into 1" cubes and put 3 or 4 on the hook and line just above the hook. Then he laid it on a breadfruit tree leaf (a roundish leaf about 8" across) and packed a had full more of the bait around it. Then he laid it on a round rock and wound the line around
the rock, leaf, chum and baited hook. He then looped the line under the winding and put a small piece of leaf through the loop and pulled it snug. The next part was a little tricky, He measured off 60 to 100 feet, depending on the time of day and gently lowered the rock and all down in the water. When it is deep enough, a couple of quick jerks pulls the loop through the leaf. The rock falls away and the hook and a hand full of chum are there in the deep where the big tuna are. In 9 hours he had caught
3 fish.

Jeff took his home to get it in the fridge and we visit a little more. Trinda gave him a flower she had weaved from the prepared palm leaves she got at Penrhyn. He was thrilled. "My wife will be so surprised!" I suggested he tell her a mermaid gave it to him, or else she might guess he had sold a fish to a cruiser and would have to give up the money. We had a good laugh and wished him a good day.

I had 1/2 pound of sushimi with wasabi for supper.

No comments:

Post a Comment