Sunday, September 21, 2014

A day in the canoe

Panorama at sunset
Third fish!  The first ones I was too busy screaming and launching fish at Manu to take a picture.

It may have happened that last year, someone's very fortunate soon-to-be-nephew was gifted a lovely, inflatable canoe by a very skeptical soon-to-be-Aunt for his First Communion.  This patient and wise not-yet-Aunt and her more fanciful fianc√© expressed some doubts about the usefulness of such a large gift, but bought it anyway.  Said canoe arrived, was opened with great enthusiasm, inflated and brought out a grand total of one time, then may have gone to live in it's new home, "the land of unused toys for 10 year old boys who love video games" i.e. the garage up the hill.  This soon-to-be-nephew never mentioned it again and we all lived happily ever after.

So, we reclaimed the long forgotten canoe.

We dusted it off (and much to our amusement, no one even noticed) and brought down our giant inflatable canoe last Wednesday, loaded it up with focaccia, beer and fishing line, and sailed off to Punta Mesco.  Manuel spent most of his childhood hand line fishing, which is one of his absolute favorite things to do, and he was really eager to teach me.  We rowed off to the end of the mountain that borders the village, and tied ourselves to a buoy there and threw our weighted fishing line down.  It's really easy - you have a long piece of fishing line with a few hooks on it and a weight on the end.  You put some calamari or shrimp as bait, drop the line down and unravel until it hits the bottom, then keep the line tense until you feel something nibble.  You jerk it up and start pulling in the line as fast as possible and then realize that the fish is smarter than you are, and swam right away.

Manuel sails back out while I read on the beach
This time, however, on my first try I felt a big pull and started pulling in the line as fast as I could.  Looking down through the crystal clear water always makes objects appear bigger than they are, and I was quite convinced I had caught a tuna or something disturbingly large.  Instead, on my first try I got 2 little fish, about 5 or so inches long!  I was ecstatic, but wasn't ready to start reaching my hand into their wiggling body to remove the hook, so much to Manuel's annoyance, I simply threw them at him.  After a few more hours and 14 fish between the two of us, we turned back to the little beach behind the Giant statue for our picnic.

Some of our fishy prizes
It's really incredible seeing this area from the sea.  I always recommend that tourists take the ferry, even though it costs more, because looking back at these tiny villages from the water always leaves that impression of awe in just how isolated and special these towns are.  I'm surprised, however, that more people do not rent kayaks and go exploring like this.  It's not the easiest, especially going against the current, and your muscles certainly let you know that they are displeased the next few days, but it's magical moving through the blue water with all of the terraced mountains in the distance.

And if you're lucky, you can even get something to eat out of it all!  We had already made dinner plans before the whole day took off (sailed off?) in the canoe, so our prized fish made a lovely base for a fish broth for the restaurant that night.  You can't get fresher than that.

This is a real fisherman.  I imagined he was laughing at us.

Looking back towards Monterosso.  Our house is the pink building on the left!


  1. Wow - hand line fishing looks so much fun! I have to try this next year :-) how did you cook your Treats? X

  2. I might be moving to sanremo... how is it... too quiet???