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Catching fish in the moonlight on Con Dao Island

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Each the “Water exhausted” (called by local people when the tide gets the lowest water-level on the moonlit night), Con Dao’s inhabitant call for each other noisily to go to catch fish in the moonlight.

The groups of friend or brothers in the family, the neighbor… they together prepare to catch fish with forks, flashlight, fish basket, etc. Can you imagine how to catch fish with a fork? This is an interesting and very local experience that you will never forget it. Let follow the story of the tourist below.

In the evening, we had dinner earlier and start to set off at 6 p.m. We went to Ben Dam port by motorbike. The road, from Con Dao Town to Ben Dam port, is extremely dark.  We see a streak of light of the opposite direction car which is hidden from our view at the front turn occasionally. This road with some turns in slope next to the chasm makes us feel excited in daylight, but we feel more excited now because there is no street light. However, we can contemplate the starred firmament and feel the sweet smell of the growing roadsides flower that the “genie the earth” also don’t know. I need to search the information of that flower in case of answering passenger’s questions

It takes us 30 minutes to get Ben Dam port.  There are lots of motorbikes on the way going down the seaside. My friend explains that these motorbikes are who going to catch fish in the moonlight. In fact, they get there too early (about 5 p.m.). Because we are “new solider”, my friend spends time eating and drinking before we go.

Parking at an area which is executing for boat avoiding storm, we begin to catch fish. The flashlights are turned on to shine the way to go to the expanse. A framework that the first time I see appears. At night, there are several streaks of flashlights when we look at the seaside. Occasionally, when anyone turns up his eyes, the light of flashlights makes a long light streak dazzled our eyes. We shuffle on along the way to go to the beach which has navy-blue water in the afternoon but the water level now is only approximate ankle. To continue to go more than several hundred meters, the water level only reaches knee.  At that time, “the genie of the earth” explains that every month, the first day of the Lunar month is the time that the water level reaches the lowest level. Along Con Dao seaside, the coral with lots of fish resided will become the dry expanse. It’s time that Con Dao people flock together to catch fish in the moonlight. The fish which select naturally some coral near the shore as a place for inhabitation will become the target of the most rudimentary fishing method by using pitch fork. People use lamps to find fish, squid, shrimps, and so on sleeping and throw pitchfork exactly into them.

As a friend explained, continuously moving away has more fish, we begin to catch fish. But moving on, we also collect the first spoils which include Cochlear, Cellana or Laciniate Conch; Crabs that do not have enough time to catch up with receding speed of the tide, run ashore in small pools on coral. Water came up to waist in catching fish, there are a lots of fish like ‘mó xanh’, ‘bò hòm’, ‘bò da’, cuttlefish, eel, ray are dreamily sleeping. There are blowfish at first like rock as ingenious camouflage ability, but just when touching it, it wakes up with a start and defends by swelling out body to avoid other bodies.

The noise that people throw pitchfork into water and the noise that the fish struggle convulsively on the water surface sounded here. All space is agitated by water’s sound, pitchfork’s sound and the talks about fish or squid that they caught. Though the voice I can realize that there are enough components in the beach, such as men, women, and girls who accompanied to young men for fun. In pitch-black night, although they do not see each other, they can recognize each other through voice. It’s true, the town is too small for people to know each other, remember every voice and more importantly people who catch fish in the moonlight are local people. Now they do not live on this job but take up it as a hobby, a chance to examine the skills that they had since childhood when toddled with her parents to earn their living miserably on the sandbar as well as find food to drink with friends.

Ending the first catching fish in the moonlight, after almost 2 hours working with 3 people, 2 lamps, a bucket and a pitchfork, we returned to shore with about 5kgs of spoils, including ‘cá rạn’ (fish usually live in coral reefs near shore, thick skin, but very sweet when grilled meat), some cuttlefish weighing almost 1kg plus a few screws crab “pick up” on the beach road. See I seem to cheer for spoils, my friend laughed and said the land if the result is today, as people go “hook cover” all. The reason given today is that water level is not the lowest, when we light up, water was flowing thunderously so hard to see fish, on the other hand this beach is too crowded today. Tomorrow native people promised will lead to other beach less crowded, it will surely be more than usual. Once going on shore, I met an acquaintance who caught a ray that was too big to drag, which makes me more eager for next trip.

We came back our town with the bucket of fish, the story with interesting things of the catching fish in the moonlight and pinch sea spikes in my leg make me extremely painful. I realized that people going catching fish often wear boots in order to not trample on spikes or be cut by coral. This was my first time of catching fish in the moonlight, so I didn’t know and I waded in the sea with a pair of flip – flops; as a result, I was injured. It was unlucky for me and I had to use a folk method to treat: pickle my leg in Urine.

The next day, after cooking meals, I went to Con Dao market to buy a pair of shoes and a flashlight. The saleswoman advised me to buy a rather cheap pair of shoes, a flashlight about 100 thousand dong. I also said that I need to buy a fishing fork because I couldn’t do anything without it. She said that no one sells it but people made it by themselves. She also had one. So happy, I asked her to lend me that fishing fork but she answered that: “No, I also need it to catch fish”.  That helped me realize that everyone was attracted by catching fish in the moonlight

Tonight, the boy decided to change position. We followed Co Ong street pass across Ong Tong Slope, and Six Senses Resort about 1km then stopped. This area is a stretching rock field, passing this area is a dry coral reef, just some coral lagoons remaining. There are a lot of crabs in this area, so we can catch them without using fishing fork. The boy decided to go further to catch fish.

With the same process, a lot of fish was caught, after 30 minutes we had this:

 

Catching fish in the moonlight on Con Dao Island

 

10 more minutes later, my bucket was full of big eels.

Catching fish in the moonlight on Con Dao Island

 

After 1 hour wading in the water, our result was better than the previous day. The special booty today is blue battered fish and a big eel which was trampled to death before putting it into the bucket because it snapped the iron fork strongly, a big squid, ‘Ria’ fish, ‘Tai Tuong’ snails, a sea cucumber and a basket of crabs. Besides, we also had a moon crab with more than half of 1 kilo weight which I was surprised by the sweet of its meat after enjoying.

Catching fish in the moonlight on Con Dao Island

 

 

Catching fish in the moonlight on Con Dao Island

With the decision of coming back home early to process our booty, we go across areas that many people go catching fish far from the bank about 1km.

Catching fish in the moonlight on Con Dao on the day with falling tides now become a festive activity. If you have chance to come to Con Dao, find a local friend immediately and ask him or her to show you how rich this sea area is!

Source: Collection

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