Posted on: February 16th, 2012 by Clarke 3 Comments
The fishermen begin before the sun is up. There are more than two dozen who do this every day (except Tuesday). It starts with two groups, numbering around a dozen, who tie up a net a few kilometers long onto two trees far apart down the beach. A second crew takes the middle of the net into the boat, rows out on the tide and drops the net at the furthest point. The next part is absolutely incredible.
Each team from each side of the net, separated by a kilometer of beach, grunts a group chant while pulling on the rope in unison. The heavy rope, extending almost beyond sight in the distant ocean, moves about an inch or two with each pull. Many early risers from our group (myself excluded today) witness this in the early morning before breakfast. Hours later, following food, conversation, and settling into our room, the daily fishing ritual is still going on. Our whole group returns to the beach. Several of our crew join in the pulling, but our gentle hands are quickly worn by the rough rope. A few of us swim and get a pounding by the relentless and heavy salty waves.
Around noon, the groups have moved from their distant posts together to an integrated position in the middle. Dr. Robert pulls with the unified group for the last forty minutes, hauling in the final catch of the net! The fish thrash around for quite a time while the Winneba fishermen size up their catch. Today was a small haul, but they’ll return tomorrow for another try.
This is one of the many experiences that will not soon be forgotten in this part of the earth that, while distant and foreign, now is starting to feel familiar. Dr. Scott and Clarke leave for Amsterdam tonight. The remaining seven spend the night in Winneba.
Thank you, Ghana! We will definitely be back!