Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fishermen and their boats

One thing about living on the coast is the scenery, it's always changing. At the moment the tide is high, and our little stretch of beach has no sand, waves right up to the rocks, but give it an hour or so, and it'll be nice firm sand, perfect for walking on. (Absolutely taking the pups today)

I've been collecting pictures of the boats, and will share them and some info with you. Here's something I found I thought was worded quite well... native Ecuadorians have been harvesting the sea. In this respect the land and its people have been blessed, as these waters are famously stocked with fish from the size of minnows up to monstrous Tuna and Marlin. This burgeoning wealth arises from a "happy accident" of geography and oceanography that places Ecuador at the collision point of two very different ocean currents. From the south and originating in the frigid Antarctic, the cold Humboldt Current sweeps up the South American coast, bringing with it nutrients, plankton and krill (a tiny crustacean that underlies the oceanic food chain). As this current rounds the continental bulge where Ecuador juts into the Pacific, it meets the El Nino current, a much warmer flow of water that travels south from the area off Central America. As these warm waters mix with the colder, nutrient-rich northerly flow, the population of small fish explodes. Of course, small fish attract larger fish, and the result is a bonanza for both sport fishermen and commercial fisheries. 

Ecuador has become a leading South American producer and exporter of Tuna, and this success has helped the fishing industry buy modern ships and processing equipment based in the port city of Manta. Shrimp is one of Ecuador’s largest seafood exports and the warm waters of the Bay of Guayaquil are home to many shrimp farms. For Ecuadorians, this golden harvest from the sea has helped improve the lives of thousands of people who live in the once economically depressed coastal region.

Here is a boat coming to shore, the net is in the water, and you can see the man climbed the stairs to the truck, has a gray bin. He gathers fish out of the net and into the back of the truck, all the while trying to keep the hungry Pelicans  and frigates away from the catch.

Sometimes the boats get unloaded on shore, and the fishermen bring buckets of "waste" back to the birds.  In this last photo, the white headed birds are the famous blue footed boobies. Sometimes the boats go out at night, sometimes in the morning, it must have something to do with high and  low tide.

I thought I had taken pictures of a boat being built, but I can't find it now. Believe me they do make them from scratch, with very little power tools, if any. If I spoke better spanish, I could probably get some more info about the boat building process, and fishing industry in our small village, maybe next year...when it's time for the boat to go in the water, it's all hands on deck, and the whole family comes down to the shore. Some of the boats keep their motors on while "docked", but others are taken off and stored elsewhere, they all are covered for protection, some have shirts, some have tarps or rugs. The government subsidized these motors, sold them at about half price, $700 instead of $1400.

The boats above are sometimes "parked" on the street, when the tides will be really high, they've been doing this so long, it's amazing to watch them maneuver them on just the small wood rollers. Pulling those nets and carrying those motors, these guys are pretty strong! Mike helped the guys one day, he thought they were pushing the boat out, but soon realized they were bringing it to shore, and said it was way too much hard work!

Hope you enjoyed my light hearted post today, the adventure is continuing, so stay tuned!

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