From the church we walked across the street, through Vasco da Gama square and down along the sea. Dotting the beach are the land fixed famous Chinese fishing nets. It is said the the nets were first introduced by the Chinese Explorer, Zheng He on one of his many trips to India. These nets are only found in China and Kochi!
We talked to several net operators and were told that this was not the fishing season. The monsoon rains cause the river waters to be higher thus creating a higher flow of water OUT to the ocean resulting in a less salt water ocean flow. December and January are the prime fishing seasons. A few operators were using their nets mainly to show the many tourist standing by to observe this unique fishing system. Operated from the shore, these nets are set up on bamboo and teak poles (although now some are using other material for poles) and held horizontally by huge mechanisms, which lower them into the sea. They look somewhat like hammocks and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes.
The entire structure of the Chinese fishing nets is about 10 meters in height. Each fishing net spreads to about 20 meters over the water body and is operated by a team of some six fishermen. The system is sufficiently balanced that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea. The net is left for 6-10 minutes before it is raised by pulling on ropes. Once the net is brought up, the men race to retrieve their catch before the birds swoop in to steal it. The catch is usually pretty small and there were guys standing by to sell you the fish. Other guys stand by with cards to a nearby restaurant who are waiting to cook up your fresh catch.
From the nets we walked back to the ferry – making a pit stop on the way to make a
purchase… banana chips and fresh potato chips. We got our ferry ticket and were waiting for the ferry when the ticket man told us to run over to the other ferry and jump on that one. Not sure why the one we were waiting for wouldn’t be going, but we ran over to the other ferry. All I can say is it was the first time I jumped onto a ferry as it was moving away from the dock. Jamie was right after me squeezing on to the HUGELY crowded ferry. What a day!