Life in Sri Lanka
It is early in the morning, around 5:30 am, and the sun is about to rise. Though a cool pre-monsoon breeze is blowing, the sun will be beating down mercilessly by midday. The stilt fishermen of Kathaluwa have already assumed their lofty positions, balancing two metres above the coral reef. The catch of the day will determine if there will be food on the table tonight or not.
The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. They hold the stilt with one hand while fishing with a rod or line using the other. They’re hoping to catch spotted herrings (koraburuwa) and small mackerels (bolla), which are stored in a plastic bag tied around their waist or the pole. The poles are 3-4 m long and driven about half a metre into the reef, so the fishermen sit at a height of about 2 m.
Life in Russia
ce fishing is one of the favorite pastimes of the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. Russia’s main Pacific port is situated on a narrow peninsula, and the water around it partially freezes: while the Amur Bay is covered with a thick layer of ice, the Ussuri Bay remains unfrozen all winter long. On the nearby islands—Russky, Popov—and in some other surrounding areas of Vladivostok, the ice starts forming earlier. So beginning in December, the distinctive figures of ‘fishermen on ice’ appear in the mornings: they wear warm sheepskin coats, carry drills to cut holes in the ice and haul boxes to sit on. Empty buckets serve as makeshift seats.
Vladivostok’s primary winter fish is Pacific smelt (the Russian word, koryushka, has Finnish origins, but Vladivostok natives are sure that only the local smelt is genuine). This small silvery fish is typically caught through the ice in ocean bays or in river mouths, where they also go. Russians from the country’s Pacific coast associate smelt with New Year’s as much as they do the fragrance of pine needles, mandarin oranges and salads. Near the shores of Primorye, there are three types of smelt: rainbow smelt (the largest, measuring up to 30 cm); pencil smelt (small-mouthed smelt, a bit smaller); and the so-called pisuch, which is the size of a finger………