I’d like to say that after two months in the Strait my hunter/gather skills have improved – but it would be a lie.
Admittedly I have been pretty busy and haven’t had the chance to drop a line as often I’d like.
So to date I have caught five fish out of maybe ten visits to the pier. Out of those five fish, I threw two back and cooked three, two that I now suspect may have been under-size despite the assurances of my local fishing companions they were OK.
I have caught one decent sized fish.
However I have noted a pattern I first thought was a one off moment of generosity.
I have now on two occasions been given fish when I have not been so fruitful.
Just tonight, after catching a fish I thought was borderline on size, I went along the pier and ask a family fishing and asked what type of fish it was.
“It’s a big eyed fish,” the older matriarch said dryly.
The fish did have big eyes.
“Is it good eating Aunty?” I asked.
“If you like small fish…”
I walked solemnly back to my end of the pier. Ten minutes later the daughter came up and gave me a big white trevally and told me to throw the Big Eyed Fish back.
Then a different fisherman gave me some of his bait that he had successfully caught his dinner with.
I then remembered a story I had heard a couple of days earlier.
In earlier times in the Strait when someone in the village went fishing, they had to catch enough fish to feed everyone. The fisherman walking home was expected to leave a fish at every house on the way, even if it meant by the time he returned to his own home empty-handed.
Smiling as I packed up my gear, I realized the spirit of generosity I had experienced was part of ilan kostam.
Walking home I passed a couple of out-of-town guys who were having no luck, I stopped and told them a local secret. Crayfish heads, that’s what the locals who gave me my dinner had been using. I pulled a crayfish head out of my bucket and gave it to them.
:”Good luck boys.”
What comes around must go around…