Posts Tagged With: Fishermen


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Fort Worden has two campgrounds and we chose the beach area. These trees were silhouetted against a cloudy sky.DSC09085 (Copy)

It is easy to see which way the wind blows. Rain was in the forecast. We set up camp and decided to walk to the two science museums on the grounds.

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On the way, we stopped at this little free library.  We just turned in bags of books at our last campground, so I had none to trade. We continued to the science museums and both were closed. They begin their winter hours after Labor Day. We got caught in the rain and had to run for the motorhome. Our wet clothes were set to dry while we had dinner.

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The storm lasted about an hour and we took the opportunity to walk the beach. A distant light house beckoned. In places we had to climb over rocks to escape the incoming tide.

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We talked to two women from Pullman, WA. who were gathering beach shells and glass in the surf. We peeked into their buckets and admired their pretties.  They wore simple sweatshirts during weather I found brutally cold with wind enough to knock you over.  I met a fellow from my part of Michigan who wore a simple long-sleeved shirt and remarked at how nice the weather is here. I told him I’d never leave California for Michigan despite my roots.

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After we’d passed them, one woman came back and offered to share some of her beach glass with me. Wasn’t that sweet? I declined since we have jars of beach stones and glass from other beaches we’ve visited, particularly the Glass Beach in California that was once a dump.

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Besides, the beach was strewn with rocks and and shells at the tide line.

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Close to the lighthouse, someone spent time balancing rocks called cairns. Most make it five stones high. Some go six and seven.

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I put together a seven, then the rock toppled and I couldn’t retrieve it, so I settled for a six.

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The lighthouse was built in 1913, one hundred one years old. So important in their time. No visitors.

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Past the lighthouse, we got up on the breakwater and walked.

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Driftwood, sometimes whole trees, enough to build a house

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It ages so beautifully.

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We watched six fishermen with fly rods where the breakwater began to peter out.

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We met an honest fisherman. He said he is going for fish and chips at a local restaurant.

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Wives waiting on the beach with their blue-eyed Australian Shepherd. They said the salmon season is just starting and only a certain kind of salmon can be taken. They were unsure, but think that if it is a king salmon, they have to throw it back. They can take silvers.

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We returned to the motor home just before the second storm hit. It rocked the motorhome, threatened to tear off the vents and our closed awning, and blew and rattled everything that moved along with heavy rains. I stowed our ground rug under the motorhome because the wind was folding it and moving it from its appointed spot. We have yet to check and see if we still have a rug.



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The Li and Peach Blossom rivers merge together at Guilin  and form four city lakes before they move on down the mountain. The lakes are joined by locks and we take a night boat tour to see  the twelve bridges  joining the mainland to an island in the center of the lakes.

Picture taking is difficult as the boat chugs along.  The twelve bridges  are small imitations of world-famous bridges with frescoes and decorations of great beauty and interest. It‘s ooo and aahh time. They imitate the Brooklyn Bridge, Cambridge Math Class Bridge, The Golden Gate, the Glass Bridge… I didn’t recognize all of them or get them into my journal. The Cambridge Math Class Bridge is so-called because students at Cambridge supposedly took it apart to understand how it was built and then put it back together again.  In the dark, night fishing with their cormorants, the boatman uses a cane to keep them moving. He smacks and scolds when a bird circles behind him and  tries to steal a fish out of the basket and pretend  it was newly caught. He calls to them, “Ai, ai, ai”!  The birds work quickly,  fly out,  dive,  and return. It was musical;  his voice echoing  over the water as the boat moved away.

The famous Sun and Moon pagodas are beautifully lit up at night.  One leads to another under water. We saw a charming tea house on an island with a replica of the Empress’s Stone Boat we recognize from the Summer Palace.
The  trees, on shore and on the islands, the bridges, are all  lit up with specialized lighting.  Bands play from the shore as we pass by.  Built to entertain, More realistic  than  Disneyland, we floated along, mesmerized by the sights,  thinking, how lucky we are to take this magical boat ride

The next morning, we load onto a boat like this one for an 83 kilometer trip up the Li to view unique karst rock formations. The osmanthus, a type of purple acacia,   is in bloom. It  reflects its color on the water and fills the air with a fragrance like orange blossoms. It is used for tea, medicine and perfume in China.

Ten thousand boats a day cruise the Li. Sampans furnish them with fresh fish and greens for the meals they prepare. Chinese people do not eat  “dead” fish. Restaurants in China have aquariums full of fish and only kill it when you sit down and order. The boat kitchens are always at the back of the boat.

Uniquely shaped hills of the Li are often clouded with a fine mist giving them a mystical quality.

The formations are world-famous and many artists and photographers come to see one of China’s great  “pearls”.

I find myself more interested in a glimpse of “old China” revealed on the banks and water of the River Li, like this boatman ferrying a man and his bike across the river. We see many of these flat bamboo boats that seem barely able to float without swamping.

A house boat.

The age-old manner of carrying a heavy burden.

Washing clothes.

If you don’t have running water you must carry it up from the river in buckets.

While some farmers depend solely on water buffalo, others have a modern motor.

We  see kids bathing their water buffalo. Buffalo, pigs, and dogs roam quite freely, sometimes invading a golf course near Guilin.  Vicki tells us that on another tour she saw a farmer drive a herd of buffalo across the lanes of the freeway. People drive slowly here, and they stopped and none were harmed.

A crude fish trap.

A fancier ferry. The boatman chooses to paddle even though his ferry has a motor. Vicki says he saves gas.

A fisherman’s hut.

Vicki tells us that the minority people from this village were persecuted 120 years ago and moved up higher in the mountains. The buildings still stand. Some tours take you into various villages along the Li.

When our boat docks, the cormorant fishermen are waiting for the tourists.

If they see you are trying to take their picture, they turn their backs to you.  They want you to pay. Vicki gets angry and says don’t pay them. We try our best to sneak a few shots.

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Mystic Seaport has a mysterious name. It conjures up the movie, Mystic Pizza, a romantic comedy filmed partly in Mystic Seaport and nearby Groton, Connecticut. There is an element of mystery as the pizza continues to become well known. Ah, so much for the movies. It did put Mystic Seaport on the map for those of us who didn’t know about its other qualities, such as a whaling and fishing history.  Jim and I  spent quite a bit of time there since Jim’s daughter-in-law lived most of her life in Mystic Seaport. Jim and Wendy Jaillet were married there as well. On our first visit we simply walked the town and looked around. Following is some of those photos. 

Rolling into town from Newport, R.I.

A beautiful lighthouse-still in use.

Swans are not U.S. natives. They were put here to eat up troublesome algae. Notice the darker, young swan. The Ugly Duckling story.

New England has many, many bridges. This draw bridge is tough to photograph, the heavy concrete counterweights lift that bridge.

The boats pass through, and down they come.

This picture of a picture gives a better perspective of the bridge. Walking under those huge counterweights takes an element of faith. I guess its always that way when crossing a bridge with huge trucks rumbling next to you, as well.

In many communities public benches are chained to prevent theft. In Mystic, they simply make them heavier.

I enjoyed unique and different art work. Different, that is, in topics. Much ado about whaling, boats, sailing and fishing, obviously. The wood cut below is an antique we saw in a museum.

Conclusion: Mystic is the perfect place for a fish-loving, bridge building, romantic, movie-loving artist. And we tourists, too.

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Having spent 7 months crossing the United States, enjoying its parks, its beauty, great stretches of  barely inhabited land, fields full of grain, tree fruits, nuts, berries, beautiful lakes, bridges… what a great country this is. Puzzling, though, we sometimes  parked  near a pond or woods and did not see or hear a bird or an insect. Strange. Not even a mosquito.

Sightings of wild animals in the South and West were better, but even then, mostly in protected parks. In the East where population is denser, we saw squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, and deer. Frogs only in protected gardens.

Underneath all this visible beauty survival is precarious for jaguars, Florida panthers, many birds, whales, turtles…the list seems endless. There is one danger, we can all do something about easily. The Center for Biological Diversity offered this thoughtful science to hunters, and gun users everywhere. Lead ammunition puts humans and wildlife at risk. That surprised me.

California condors were brought back from the brink of extinction starting with efforts in 1996 at a tremendous cost. These majestic birds began dying at unusually high rates since their heroic rescue. Scientific studies traced it to lead poisoning from hunting and fishing. Condors are carrion eaters and just one abandoned lead ridden carcass or gut pile can poison several birds and cause death. Other scavengers, Owls, hawks, eagles and vultures are impacted. Small birds  mistake lead pellets or fishing tackle for grit or seed. Birds at risk  include pheasant, grouse, songbirds, waterfowl and wading birds, as well as golden eagles, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons, all are poisoned by lead if they encounter it. People who eat deer and elk or other game shot with lead ammunition are ingesting tiny fragments of lead from shattered bullets; fragments  too small for the human eye to see.  Lead is a neurotoxin that affects children at very low levels.
For hunters and fishermen, its an easy fix. Choose lead free bullets and tackle. Lead ammo has been banned in California. It doesn’t ban hunting or fishing, just the lead. So, if you get a chance to support a vote for banning lead bullets in your state, support it. Then we can always appreciate these gorgeous beauties.

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At one time Gloucester was the largest fishing port in the world. Men went out to sea in floating wood chips called boats. Too many never returned.
The heart ache of the most dangerous profession in the world is commemorated in two memorials along the sea wall at Gloucester.

This one recognizes the women and children left behind when a ship went down and the family was left with  no means of support. If old enough, a son would take his father’s place and begin fishing to support his family. Thus, when you look at the names of those lost at sea, you see fathers and sons and brothers.

The memorial above includes a half-circle walk with cement blocks, each with a bronze plaque listing the year and names of those who lost their lives at sea, including the most recent wreck, the Andrea Gayle, in 1991, about which the movie, Perfect Storm was made.

The Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center is part of the working waterfront. It depicts the many aspects of the fishing business and how it worked, dispersed in old buildings where some of the action actually took place. It has preserved an old marine “railroad” used to bring big vessels on shore for repairs and maintenance.

Small buildings hold a  Boat Shop, a Divers Exhibit, a Boat Building Building, a couple of old piers and newer ones nearby where you can see their boats and nearby working  fisheries. The Providenza was being loaded with giant clam shells to be dumped at sea as we watched. One old salt told us there is no longer any market for the shells.

The divers exhibit run by Paul Harling, a diver himself, was interesting to me as a former skin and scuba diver.

While there were the usual marine artifacts in the museum area, and wonderful videos of ship building and underwater whales and sea life,  the outdoor shallow aquariums were most fascinating from a tank that held several species of rays. I recognized the leopard ray and bat ray, but there were others. One little ray kept itself plastered to a plastic window where you could see her bottom eyes, her rib cage, and actively breathing lungs. So human like in ways, we were transfixed by them. Their eyes open on both sides of their bodies, while buried in sand and swimming, they can look above and below.

The eyes of this bat ray peep out of the sand. If you held a finger above the water, the rays would follow it as though you were offering them food.

New England’s only marine sanctuary, an 842 square mile stretch of ocean about three miles southeast of Cape Ann contains the Stellwagen Bank, one of the first charted fishing banks in the area. It is also home to over 100 shipwrecks.
There is a big artists colony located here. Winslow Homer painted his famous pieces from this town and we visited some of the working studios of area artists before moving on to Rockport, which also has multiple galleries, boutique shops and many tourists such as ourselves.
We ate lunch at the 7th Wave and I enjoyed duck trap smoked salmon and BLT sandwich, while Jim tried their fish and chiips. Both were good. Also bought a cooked lobster to bring home for dinner.

The signal is so slow today, I won’t post much art, but the pottery above is Sigrid Olsen’s work, but her real talent is in pastels that look like wallpaper, delicate and beautiful. She has a website,

I lost the card for this artist, but the quality here was great. The two skateboards above the bowl intrigued me. What to do with a worn out skateboard?

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All of us would undo the damage past generations have done to the environment if we could. Greg Guirard, teacher, writer, speaker, fisherman, woodsman, historian, activist skips the “if” and is doing something about it, one tree at a time. That is, 40,000 of them in his own sphere of control. He planted them himself, over a 30 year span, converting cane fields to trees.

He was working on this crawfish trap when we drove up to his house. Its made from plastic coated chicken wire. “Not good this year,” he said. He is working with the Atchafalaya BASINKEEPER, an organization dedicated to saving the River Of Trees, and saving a way of swamp life for man, fish and birds. They have a website:

While  building a new house out of  reclaimed cypress wood, he remembered seeing some old discarded cypress full of holes from a fungus. Replaned, it made a beauiful cover for this wall. His cupboards, walls, ceilings and some furniture are made of cypress. Only the floors are oak.

Next to an art piece of cypress framing stained glass, stands a broom, unsupported by the wall. It stands by itself. Greg is hoping to reach a record time. This one has been maintaining its upright balance in the corner for five months now. (Its a natural phenomena in various places in nature.)
Cypress forests were completely logged off years ago. Luckily, cypress deteriorates slowly. During logging operations, some logs sunk into the muddy waters. When the water gets low, woodworkers remove the “sinkers”, replane them and find new uses for this beautiful wood. A form of recycling and preservation.
Greg not only preserves wood, he has preserved the stories of old time Cajun Fishermen and women in his books, Cajun Families of the Atchafalaya.   Psycho Therapy For Cajuns ,  a humorous take on Cajun Culture surviving in a crazy world. He wrote the fiction story, taken from real life, much of it his own, The Land of Dead Giants. His newest book, in conjunction with C.Ray Brassieur is a broader look at the past and future of the Atchafalaya Basin, and the folklife of the people who lived there, entitled Inherit The Atchafalaya. It provides a unique view, of a way of living,  fading into obscurity and which few could write about with the insight and clarity as the Cajun, Greg Guirard.
Meet Wilmer Blanchard who typifies Cajun fishermen: “I have eleven children, three boys. I would take my boys in the woods as soon as they could walk enough…”
Women fished to, and when Yolande Bonin had a stroke, her husband, Cezaire, carried her into the boat each day. Her contribution to fishing was limited to opening the right can as she saw a gar, a catfish, or whatever come out of the net. Cezaire says, “When I raise them nets, you ought to see her smile when they got fish in ’em.”
Myrtle Bigler claimed, “All kind of work gets me tired. But I’m not sick…” This when she was in her eighties. She and her husband, Harold,  lived off the swamp all their married lives. He died at age 90, and she died at 95. The lessons of simplicity are there for all of us to learn from, as are Greg’s books.
To contact Greg Guirard: or phone him at 337-394-4631. ATT is supposed to fix his website which is not currently working at

A sure sign of a real Cajun is this outboard motor hanging from an oak tree in Greg’s driveway. He gave a slide show for Elder Hostel and his photographs of the basin and people are superb and available on cards.

We spent the rest of the day with Michele, our erstwhile “guide.”  She took us to see the legendary wedding bower of the pre-Civil War sugar plantation Durand. Durand imported spiders into a young planting of pine, magnolia and oak trees lining his quarter mile driveway. The day of  his daughter’s wedding, the spider webs were sprinkled with the glitter of gold and silver dust. The bower is now know as Pine Alley and is all that remains of the once successful plantation.

Evening closed with friends and family “hanging out” around the bonfire and eating Michele’s great jambalaya washed down with good beer. Life is good.

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