Sea fishing

Trip Start Oct 03, 2009
Trip End Feb 28, 2010

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Where I stayed
Namal Garden (Beach) Hotel

Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern,
Thursday, January 14, 2010

I didn't get a seat on the bus from Ella and standing in the bus as it sped down the hilly roads was not very comfortable. The only unusual thing was that one point we had to get off the bus. Another tourist and I were told to stand on one side and the rest were searched for drugs, even old women.

Anyway we all arrived safely in Tangalle and I found a nice quiet hotel on the beach. I was the only customer. I had an upstairs room with a balcony overlooking the sea. A great view with a deserted beach and palm trees.

Outside the hotel were some small fishing boats and about 6 people paddled out to sea in one of them. They played out an old fishing net and did a semicircle. I watched as groups of men got hold of the rope and each end of the net and began to pull it in. They were struggling in the heat and I decided to give them a hand. I was surprised and the effort needed to get in the net - when I got tired Irested but they kept pulling all the time. After nearly 2 hours we landed the catch which was so small that it hardly seemed to be worth the effort.  However they divided some of the fish amongst themselves and what was left was sold for about 2 pounds. A hard life.

In the evening I was invited to go out to sea in an open boat. Packing the net took about an hour. Then with the help to about 6 people we pushed the boat down the sand and into the water. The outboard was reasonably powerful we bounced about a bit and off into the open sea with no lights. 

I watched as the lights of the town disappeared and eventually we stopped. All the time the 2 others in the boat were scanning the sea and I suppose this spot had some signs that it was a good place. They rigged up a light. By now it was very dark and the stars were bright overhead. I was too busy holding on in a sea that had got a more choppy to look at the heavens. Then they put out the net. 500 metres of net took quite a while as it was all done by hand. They had a smoke and then put some bait on the hooks and put those over the side. No luck. So they returned to the net and began to pull it in. Both of them were at it for more  than 2 hours. The catch was quite good. There was no time to get the fish out of the net. That would be done on shore.

All the time I just stood and watched. Then it was time to set for home. On the way out we had passed a rocky outcrop and I was concerned that we might be unlucky. No problems whatsoever. Somehow they navigated in the darkness and we were back at the harbour. Willing hands pulled the boat up onto the sand.  I was too tired to give them a hand and decided to head back to the hotel in my fishy smelling clothes. Because it was a good catch they said I was lucky for them and wanted me to go back out to sea at 2am. I declined the generous offer.   
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