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I Gave Big Sea Fishing a Try, Then Ran for the Shade

As islands go, Sri Lanka is the 25th largest in the world. On a map it may look like the size of a mouse alongside the elephant of India, but it’s still twice the size of Vancouver Island. Consequently, it has a vast coastline and fishing is a major occupation in Sri Lanka. If you like seafood, this could be your paradise. It’s on nearly every menu.

In the featured picture, if you look way out on the horizon (depending on your monitor about 1 or 2 inches from the right side of the photo), you will see a little blip of a spot. That’s the boat to which the other end of this net is attached.

Eventually that boat will make its way back to the coast closing the loop and hopefully it will be filled with fish. I helped pull the net for a while, but if I had stuck around much longer I’m pretty sure I would have been flopping around on the beach like a nearly dead fish from heat stroke.  Instead, I took this picture and beat it for the shade.

Inevitably, though, if you spend any time near the sea with a Sri Lankan, the topic will turn to the 2004 Tsunami. My Sri Lankan acquaintance, Wicky, said that on the day of the Tsunami he was supposed to be at the coast near his hometown which was essentially wiped out by the wave. Instead, fate took him to Kandy way up in the hills. Lucky for him, but for over 35,000 Sri Lankans it was the end of times. And then there were the survivors left alone to fend for themselves in a ruined land. Pray that no such monster ever visits again.

As you can imagine, the stories are horrific. And there is no end to them. On the way down the coast, I passed a monument built for the rail disaster, which, as rail disasters go, was the world’s worst with over 1700 lives lost (exact figures are not available since the train was overcrowded). I saw some remnants of the train tracks in the overgrowth and it looked like twisted spaghetti. The force must have been colossal.

Rather than repeat what’s already out there in the media, you can read more about the Sri Lankan Tsunami here if you’re interested. It’s hard not to look at the calm, turquoise sea and not think of death when you ponder the tsunami. The sea is a great giver and it’s also a great taker.

I asked my friend, Wicky, what he thought of the sea now. He said it was hard to even look at the sea for months afterward and that many fisherman suffered terribly because no one wanted to eat fish for months after the wave. He paused and then said no one wanted to eat the fish because they had fed on the dead.

Stark.

Bye for now.

G.

(iPhone phone)

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