Since I started this blog after I'd already returned from my working vacation on the island of Skopelos, I never shared any of the stories from those adventure-filled two weeks.
I figured now would be a great time to do just that.
The second week there, I was given the chance to go fishing one morning. I've always loved fishing of all kinds, but to actually experience an authentic Greek fishing trip would be a dream come true, so I jumped at the chance and agreed heartily to getting up at 5:30am the next morning in order to do so.
Forgetting that I barely got any sleep at night because I was stuck in a room with a 3.5 year-old with an earache and an actively teething 1 year-old, I went to bed that night with anticipation for the coming morning. As I should have expected, both of the children woke multiple times in the night, leaving me miserably groggy in the morning, however, still in good spirits for the fishing trip.
We boarded the brightly colored wooden boat at 6am and sputtered away from the port into the rocky waves of the Aegean for what I imagined would be an entertaining and plentiful excursion. Little did I know, a traditional Greek fishing trip consists of quite a bit more than just a creaky old boat and an adorable old Greek man.
There are two parts to the process. The first part happens the night before, from around 11pm to about 3 am, during which time the fisherman goes out and drops weights attached to floats on two ends, with hundreds of baited, evenly-spaced hooks, between them. There are usually around 5-10 of these lines baited and dropped to then go back and retrieve in the morning. The next part of the process, which was what I was present for, consists of the fisherman pulling each and every one of those hooks out of the water by hand, and removing the fish (if you're lucky enough to have caught any) and remaining bait.
Around 6:30am, the sun poked out from behind a nearby island and spread its vibrant oranges and reds across the sky, which was the highlight of the trip, and we were only just getting started. I had failed to do any research about what the fishing trip would entail, so really, it was my own fault, but honestly, you'd think they would have warned me when I seemed so overly excited to be going on what they considered to be a boring chore.
Two hours into the trip, my spirits were down, my stomach and it's contents felt as if they were about to come up, and I had already nodded off twice (which nearly resulted in the old man having to fish me out of the ocean along with the empty hooks we were pulling up). Ashamed that I hadn't been adequately prepared for the trip and was now having to force myself to stay awake, and fighting the urge to regurgitate everything I'd eaten since coming to the island, I refrained from asking how much longer we would be out there as not to offend the sweet old fisherman.
Four and a half hours later of what seemed like pointless drifting, we had caught a total of ten despicably ugly fish that barely resembled anything worth eating, four starfish, which I was thankful have the ability to regrow their limbs, a huge mollusk-thing that the fisherman kept and later threw back after it opened up and spewed ocean-sewage onto my feet, and a shoe that looked like it had been down there for a few decades.
When we finally turned the boat towards the port and began the tiresome journey back to shore, I was already brainstorming the different scenarios depicting what would happen if I jumped overboard and made a swim for it. Most of them, of course, involved me being swept out to sea and accepting my fateful death with a serene sense of relief. However, destiny had other plans for me and I avoided my watery demise. Managing to endure the forty-five minutes it took to motor back to the port, I climbed back onto the shore having never been so deeply thankful to be back on solid ground.
But at least I can say I've gone on a real authentic Greek fishing trip!
*(The photo above is of the actual boat we went fishing on...click to make larger.)
Posted by chelsea
at 11:21 AM |