Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Net fisherman of Vengurla

Vengurla is a fairly well known beach, so my plan was to take a quick look and run along further south. We dropped the kids off near their school in Nivati, and went our way south.

The distance between Nivati and Vengurla is a little over 30 km. We were in no hurry, though. It was a cool day, thick with monsoon clouds that seemed to be waiting impatiently overhead. I had my trusty umbrella with me for protection. So there we were, me, backpack, umbrella and little camera that were off wandering the roads of Sindhudurg district.

The narrow roads wove gently up and down through mountainous roads that were still wet from bouts of recent rain. 

Wait a minute, I thought. Is this an old Fort? No, I was told, this is farm land, demarcated by walls made of large stones. This is in fact Cashew growing land, and it would get busier during the Summer. 

Being a road trip, I had the luxury of stopping off every now and then to absorb the silence, cool air and sights.  Little streams cascaded down the mountains, similar  to the ones that sped by while riding the Konkan Railway train. Only this time, I could get off and linger a while.

We passed streams that appeared to be very well fed by the rains.

A passing sign board tried to inform us bravely out of the rust and faded paint that Shiroda was 29 km ahead, and that we were 75 km from Panaji. 

The lush foliage presented many opportunities to stop and look. If I wasn't too careful, I figured I may have a hard time getting to Shiroda that day, which was likely going to be my next destination. Once again, that decision was the result of a 'place a finger on the map' operation.

There were far too many distractions on the way. A huge banyan tree was a perfectly reasonable excuse to stop once again.

Having looked enough at streams from the top of bridges, I thought to myself, why not scamper down the hillside to the water level and take a peek at life below the bridge? There it was, a stream that did not appear to be in a hurry to go anywhere, moisture thick in the air, and moss covered pillars of the bridge.

On the other side of the water body was a green meadow where cattle made the most of the nibbles that grew in abundance. Some cattle wallowed in the pool, they seemed to be having a very relaxed day. 

My previous bird sightings were restricted to crows. Here was a bird surveying the area, perhaps a Black Heron? My little camera could do no better than this. This was one time that I missed a DSLR or a large bridge camera, which we had found awfully useful in Kenya. 

I guess I should find Cashew growing here if I come back in the summer.

There was so little traffic  that it was extremely tempted to put up my umbrella and settle down by the roadside, to watch a little of nothing happening. An occasional Maharashtra State transport bus went by, painted the characteristic red that most inter-state passenger buses seem to be painted.

Vengurla is one of the better known beach areas. The approach down from the mountains provides a good view of life below.

A closer look revealed that fishermen were working very hard to pull in large fishing nets. The sea was rough, and the nets had probably got caught up in the sand and rocks below.

Over on the jetty, a lone, old fisherman was throwing his net, simple attempts to catch a fish or two for the day.

He would haul the net up, examine it, trying to figure out whether he had been successful. 

Once again, another throw.

Once again, gathering the net and inspecting it reveals: no luck.

The fisherman then changed his position, in the expectation of being successful from another point on the jetty. He threw the net, and waited. 

The are a few hotels and restaurants perched up on the rocks. I wondered about the environmental and regulatory aspects. Oh well.

Several other folks were trying their luck using fishing lines, at another point on the jetty.

Our fisherman kept trying valiantly.

Over and over again.

And, sadly, each throw of the net netted a blank.

I wondered whether the condition of the sea had anything to do with the outcome of attempting net fishing. 

The sea was rough, waves kept relentlessly crashing on the rocks and jetty. 

We left Vengurla, with the sight of our fisherman friend throwing his net once again, and then sitting down to take rest and let the net remain in the water, all the while perhaps contemplating the outcome.

Further south, Shiroda and Redi waited. 


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