Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Fisherman at Punta Lobos

Recently my husband Clem and I decided to get up early and have our first cup of coffee at Punta Lobos watching the local fisherman launch their boats.  It was a little windy that morning and I didn't expect to stay very long however two hours later I was still standing there watching in awe as the crew of the very last boat of the morning pushed it's way into the pacific ocean.

The routine that we witnessed had obviously been taking place on that beach the same time and the same way for many many years.  I am sure that the men who were there that day had watched their fathers and grandfathers on that very beach when they were young boys.  Everyone knew the deal and everyone knew their part.  There were many interruptions, break downs, and adjustments to the event but as my husband Clem observed the mexican fisherman of Pescadero are masters of plan B.

Everything centered around this one man in a beast of a truck.  As I watched him pull, push, and tug each of the pangas into line on the beach I wondered if this was a job he was paid for doing or maybe an honored position.  Either way he was definitely the man who made this whole thing happen and you did not want to get in his way.  He meant business.

After the first few boats got into the water it was obvious that without each other the fisherman could find themselves in serious danger quick.  The wind and the waves could easily push the small pangas into the rocks if their engines failed to start or just quit.  To counter this possibility each of the pangas tied onto each other until they were in a position of safety out in the ocean.

The crew of the next boat to launch would swap hand signals with those already out and when the waves were just right they would take off like a bob sled crew jumping in at the last minute.  I found myself holding my breath waiting for the boat's engine to crank and stay running.  Sometimes they didn't.  Even so they would pop the engine cover or make some type of adjustment and eventually off they would go. 

I took a series of photos that will depict what actually happened out there that morning much better than I could ever describe.  The next time you come to Pescadero for a visit I highly recommend that you go see this.  It is one of those things that you won't read about in the Baja Western Onion and it won't be listed in the Calendaria.  For me it was a glimpse into the culture of the people who have been living in this beautiful area for generations. 

The pangas lined up on the shore waiting to launch
The "beast" dragging a panga into line on the shore

The danger of this profession reflected by the
presence of the local Fisherman's Shrine
located off the beach

Here the crew pushes the panga toward the ocean
after orchestrating their turn with those on the
beach as well as the boats already in the water

The last minute jump

Hitting the waves at just the right moment

And away they go. 

Plan B.  Need to work on the prop.  Dig a hole in the sand.  No Problem

The "beast" pushing a panga in place

One, two, three, go!

Another one is out.
Tying up his boat.

An image of the ropes tied both in front and back to other boats

This guy should be on the cover of a magazine.

The boat bumper

The signal

More ropes

Last one of the day.  I bought fish from these guys that afternoon.

The man!!  Looking satisfied with a good days work.

The ones they left behind.

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