Fishermen of Puerto López
A beer wielding man approached our table and gestured to one of the stools. I smiled and nodded that it was free for him to take. I wasn’t expecting him to sit and join us at our table, but he did. Pulling the sleeve of his top up he exposed a large scar along his arm. “Whale, do you understand the word whale?”, he asked in Spanish. I understood. “A whale was underneath my boat, it came up and whoosh capsized my boat,” he explained, acting out the scene with his hands. He turned his weather-beaten face towards me and started to ask where I was from and whether I had any children. “No children?! Pray to God that he will give you children!” he exclaimed whilst pointing to the sky and kissing his fingers. I tried to explain that I don’t have children through choice, I don’t want children yet, but he was on a roll, telling me I will have children when God deems the time is right. Giving up, I accepted his sympathy and left the drunken fisherman to drown his sorrows.
Early the next morning I took a stroll along Puerto López’s long beach. The palm trees lining the road and bamboo beach bars I’d been in the night before looked much more attractive than the litter strewn beach. The plastic bottles soon gave way to fish piled on the sand at the feet of local men. The fishermen were bringing in their morning’s haul with hungry frigate birds circling overhead hoping to swoop down to steal a bite. Swordfish, reef and hammerhead sharks among others made up this temporary market. Bartering was loud and hard, business was swift. Before long all the wares were sold and all that was left were the fishing boats resting on the sand.