In Which Nick Gets Sunburnt

June 17th, 2013

Today I went on my first fishing trip with the locals.

Ten of us guys went (I thought it would just be several). We took two boats (I thought we would just take one) and were gone nine hours (I thought we would be gone only a little while).

Needless to say, communication is difficult when you can’t speak each others languages well.

Case in point, yesterday one of my neighbors was telling me that in order to fish real well I needed, “Fee-zee.” I guessed he meant, “Physique,” as in I needed, “Muscles.” I told him, “Yeah, I’ve got that.”

He got quiet and leaned up and asked, “Where?”

I then guessed it must not mean physique and told him to hang on while I got my dictionary. Turns out the word, “Fee-zee,” is, “Rifle.” No, I don’t have one of those.

Anyhow, today was a pretty awesome day. I’ll probably always remember it.

The fishing itself was a little frustratung at how little we actually did or caught. After seeing Haitian fishing techniques, including casting the nets two times in nine hours, taking long naps on the boats at anchor, and speculating on the local fishmarket prices, I will now sleep easier for the safety of all little fishies around my village.

Today more skin diving for lambi (a local shell fish) was done than casting of nets. In total, we didn’t get that much, unfortunately. The biggest haul was a drowned cat another fisherman donated to our cause, and which my compatriots were happy enough to receive, though the smell of said cats decaying body roasting underneath my seat made me wish we could have thrown it back in. And its gaping eyes were a bit haunting too.

But the water and scenery were amazing, just as if I were floating through a paradise calendar.

I greatly enjoyed just being out on the water in the crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean.

I swam around a lot with the locals. The first time in I was afraid to dive because I thought the water was shallow. Wasn’t that the ground right under our boat? But then, after submerging feet-first down as far as my lungs would carry me and not reaching sand, I realized the water was clearer than I was used to.

The boats were sailboats, which intrigued me, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say the fisherman were sailors. We rowed most the time, only sailing truly on the way home with the wind at our back.

The boats were crude and in no way kept, “Ship-shape Bristol fashion.” In fact, it’s an absolute wonder they floated at all and are still operable. Bailing was an ongoing chore. Everything was homemade (out of sticks and scraps of wood). That would include the oars, mast, and spars. There was essentially no metal anywhere, and no pulleys. And all the rope was old and rotten stuff I wouldn’t have deemed good for use anywhere on one of my boats.

The first time we threw in the nets (not little ones mind you, these were about 100 yards long and tied between the two boats – with one kept at anchor) the main rope snapped. I wasn’t surprised… not with the efforts of five guys heaving on it.

Definitely the day felt surreal, like being transported back in time 300 years to a more difficult age before machines had been invented. I even thought about Jesus and the disciples on their boat in Galilee. Theirs couldn’t have been much nicer than the one I embarked upon today?

Next time maybe I’ll bring my phone so I can take pictures.

Right now I’m back in my home resting, writing this, and kinda frustrated at all the frustrations here. But I just read 2 Corinthians chapter 1 and afterwards figured my frustrations probably weren’t so bad afterall.

Anyways, it’s raining outside now, which makes my house noisy because of the tin roof. In fact, when it rains real hard the sound can be deafening, and I’ve actually covered my ears because it was that loud!

Ok, that’s all for now.

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