Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Sun was setting , black and gold waves flickered on the shores.  Darkness had almost descended but in the few beautiful minutes before it turned completely dark, we sat watching the Chinese Finishing Nets in action.
In this age of the global economy its not uncommon to see the consumer greedily seek out labels , lables which suggest that what lies within Arms reach in the super market had its origins in distant lands ..and so we have grown accostomed to 'Made in China'..
But it was only when I stood here that I realised that trade had a far longer history than I had understood previously. And testimony of that was this archaic device..
As I type this I wonder if it's okay to call the beautiful 'Chinese Fishing Nets' (Called 'Cheenavala' by the locals) archaic? (introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He between 1350 and 1450)
From a much older period, they are very much in use by local fishermen. The are fishing nets alright, but of an older mesmeric charm, their silhoutes a perfect foil to the setting sun.. And they seemed to trap gold into the black waters of the vast ocean.
We watched them..
The Chinese fishing Nets..

The nets line the coast and are best observed from the Vascodagama Square.

The net is cast..

"Huge mechanical contrivances hold out horizontal nets of 20 m or more across. Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen." - Wikipedia

We watched the nets in action. The nets are first lowered. When almost horizontal they are let be...

The able Fishermen

They were then slowly raised. As the net moves through the air we could see the fish...

Looks like a very productive day..

The fishermen..

We also watched the adept fishermen operate the levers. Some of them climbing the wooden planks all the way to the top!.. Watching them made me dizzy!


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