Monday, March 17, 2014

Watching the fishermen

Although the village is getting somewhat busier, it is still pretty quiet. You know this when you find yourself watching a fisherman in a small traditional fishing boat, just off shore. He was pulling up his octopus pots that were strung out between two buoys. Actually, it was quite interesting as we waited to see which of his pots would come up full and which would be empty. It is hard work winching up the pots, removing any catch, replacing the bait and then heaving the pots back into the water. I think the octopi must be quite clever as lots of pots were retrieved with no octopus and no bait.

If that wasn't exciting enough the next day we happened to be on our walk when five of our fishing boats docked at the fish market wharf. The fish are sorted and placed into blue plastic trays, while the boats are still at sea. Some of the fish were hard to recognize but there were lots of sea bream, monkfish, langoustines and shrimp of every size. It had been an excellent day for fishing.

I've always been intrigued by the wholesale fish market but had never gone inside to watch the auction. Today was the day. The buyers were sitting on tiered benches bidding on the fish as it came along a steel conveyer belt. I have no idea what some of the fish were but the ones I did know were selling for half the price you would pay in the store. Once the fish was bought it was loaded into ubiquitous white trucks to be taken to fish stores and restaurants.

Another walk this week took us to the old Club Med site on the Cap de Creus. It is one of my favourite walks. There is nothing left of Club Med today except for a winding paved road that takes you through a fantastic landscape of giant spooky rock formations. Eventually we arrived at a little cove, where we like to have our ham and cheese baguette. We hadn't spotted one other person on the walk until we arrived at our little cove. Two French hikers were enjoying their picnic lunch. The man was obviously better prepared than us, since he had been in for a swim. I paddled around in the water and I wanted to go for a swim but the thought of a wet forty-five minute walk back to the car was enough to put me off. The water in the protected cove was definitely warmer than our own bay in the Port, which we knew was14 degrees celsius.

Every day the winds increased. Friday was a special day for us so we decided to visit Perpignan, where the winds wouldn't matter. It is always lovely to walk around the town centred around the river Basse. All along the river we could see lots of daffodils and spring flowers in bloom. We had lovely duck breast for lunch with the most over-cooked brussel sprouts. There are loads of very nice restaurants and bistros in Perpignan. Next time. After wandering around the narrow lanes, we finished our trip with a visit to some sporting goods stores looking for wetsuits. The ones we found quite thick, obviously intended for wind surfers, not swimmers, so not this time.

The week finished off with the winds becoming progressively higher until they were a steady 60-kilometres an hour. This makes for uncomfortable walking, especially when the gusts can be even higher, but we are not complaining, not with lovely 24-degree temperatures. Tomorrow the winds will have disappeared, the sun will shine and possibly the water will be just warm enough for a swim. 

No comments: