The appointment is taken, the girls are going fishing tonight. At 5:30, the sun is still hot and the black sand is burning our feet as we walk down the beach to our pick up point. Tyson and his crew are coming on a boat, we hear it in the distance, it sounds like it’s in pain and as we see it approaching we wonder how we will fit 4 more people on it. But like for the local public transport, when you think it’s full, at least 3 more people can fit! It’s a small motorboat that can comfortably transport about 10 people but 20 is the usual amount that ends up going!
We hop in the boat and depart for our expedition, it is so full that we can touch the waves as we drive! Looking at Saint Vincent from the water, with the light of the setting sun, the green of the rainforest contrasting with the deep blue of the water. Feeling the wind and the splash of the Caribbean sea on our faces as we head towards the place where we’ll fish. The sea is calm, but the small waves and the speed make a rocking movement that invites us to daydream and enjoy the view. That’s the kind of feeling that makes life exciting! What a smile on our faces! The monotonous sound of the motor is only interrupted by the nervous chatter of the crew, there is always a certain tension on the boat before the fishing. Everybody is concentrating on their role and taking it really seriously. As we reach the place where they usually fish, 4 men jump in the water with their scuba equipment and start to look for schools of fish. They glide fast through the transparent water, we only see fast-moving shadows and splashes of water as they blow it out of their tubas! The motor has stopped, we are now floating freely on the sea, and the girls have to distract me so that I don’t get too seasick! The sun is getting closer to the horizon and soon the light fades, the dark blue sky gets tinted with shades of yellows, pinks and oranges and stars start to appear.
If they spot one school that is big enough, they will set up the nets and trap the fish there. But there was none big enough today to be worth the work of setting up the nets and chasing them into it. So we turn back. It is now completely dark, the sea and the sky mix on the horizon, Venus is very bright tonight and it reflects on the water.
There is no moon, but we learned an untranslatable Turkish word: Yakamoz: the glimmering, roadlike reflection that the moon creates on water. And it fills us with wonder and makes us smile. it is a beautiful moment. The fireflies are shining as bright as they can in the trees of the rainforest just next to us, the fluorescent planktons are creating little twinkling stars in the water as we glide through with the boat. We even spot a swimming light (unidentified very shiny moving underwater creature!). Everything around us is just shining stars of all kinds!
“Today we didn’t catch anything, but we will be back tomorrow, and the day after and all the other days. It is a hard job which demands a lot of patience and precision, but the way it is done is very respectful of the reef and of the fish. Only what we can sell locally and eat ourselves is taken out of the water. We try our best to preserve the smaller fish so that they can reproduce and keep providing for the local fishermen. We are concerned when we see big fishing boats close to our island, it is a very destructive practice that takes every living thing out of the ocean. You fish there one time with this big factory boat and the area dies. There is nothing for the future. That’s why we like to keep fishing traditionally. By doing so, we secure our food for tomorrow.”
The chatter is much louder, relaxed and jokes fuse around us. The local Creole, a sort of broken English, is hard to understand, but the tone of the voices and the jolts of laughter tell us that the atmosphere is much more relaxed than on the way out! The trip ends at the beach, where it started, with a shining bath! Swimming with the fluorescent phytoplankton is a perfect ending to this amazing adventure! And as many of us say: “Man, Aren’t we Lucky?!?! We live here!!!”