Balinese Fisherman

In the pitch black of 3 am, I headed offshore with a fisherman named Anom.

 (Gordon Ross)

We went straight out into the Pacific for two hours to put his nets down in the dark. It’s important that this is done before daylight so that the fish don’t see the nets. Just after sunrise, he hauled up his nets to bring in the day’s catch. He caught a few things that day, mostly mackerel, but barely enough to pay for his fuel. So, we sailed back under light winds to the coast in the shadow of the Balinese volcano Gunung Agung.

Fishing is a tough life and Anom wished that life had been different. He wished he had been born somewhere where the opportunities were better. The fishing stock is declining in the seas around Bali, making it hard for him to earn a living. But in the true Balinese way, he still had a sense of humor and we had some great moments together. I supplemented his income that day with a big tip so, all-in-all, we had a good day and I made a new friend.

The Balinese fishing boats, known as jukung, use outriggers so that they can keep the hull sleek and fast. Together with their sails, they are the perfect boats for these seas.

I find the image compelling — the colors are rich and the slight blur in the water gives a sense of the sea’s motion. The image — and the memory — have a dream-like quality for me. And then there is Anom, waiting patiently for his nets to fill.

Gordon Ross

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