The human heart leaps at the tug on the line. Frikkie likes to spend whole days fishing off the coast of Henties Bay and nearby areas. It can be a contemplative experience. Once the line is cast and the pole secured there is only waiting for the tug of the curious ocean dweller. And what do you do while you are waiting? You let yourself dissolve into the sea air, the ocean mist, the colors of ocean waves, the shifting clouds, the blue and gray of the sky. You let your mind drift like the bait on the hook is drifting beneath the salty water. The instant you feel any tension on the line, you become fully focused on the interplay between you and the mystery which has bitten into your bait. I say mystery because you will not know what you have caught until you can reel it out of the sea. Sometimes the mystery eludes you, it unhooks itself and the line goes slack. And sometimes the mystery eludes you all day long…even day after day.
The Namibian coast is one of the best fishing grounds in the world due to the cold Benjuela Current which flows to the north from the Antarctic. The waters are filled with plankton which accounts for the abundance of fish, whales, and sharks off the Nambian West Coast. A prime time for fishing is December, which in Namibia is summertime. Tillie, Frikkie’s wife, remarks that instead of Christmas decorations, Henties Bay is festooned with vissermen, their trucks and gear. The most highly prized catch of the day is a white fish called Kabeljou, also known as silver cob. This fish can grow up to 2m in length. We have already tasted it in more than one restaurant in Henties Bay and found it absolutely delicious. So what happened the day we went fishing with Frikkie?
On one of my poet’s walks on the beach at Henties Bay I waded into the surf and because I wanted to remember the salty air, the wind, the rush of the waves, I began to video my experience. I let myself dissolve into the sea air, the ocean mist, the colors of water, the shifting clouds, the cries of the sea birds. I let my mind drift like the bait on a hook, floating, waiting for the mystery to bite.