Fishing with Sharks
Ihad a few encounters with sharks when I lived in South America. I had bought a fishing boat large enough to accommodate eight people. The engine was installed on the outboard and it didn’t have a roof. I made deals with local fishermen: I paid for the boat and the gasoline and they’d go fishing with me; and we’d split our gains 50/50. It was a win-win for everyone involved.
We chose to fish where the Caribbean Sea met the Atlantic Sea, which was the offshore area of Bermuda. People shudder at the mention of the name, but I didn’t give it too much thought. I believed what the Cantonese say, “Fear nothing and you live a peaceful life.”
We caught sharks at times. But shark fins weren’t popular in South America and shark meat didn’t sell well because of its bad taste. When a shark bites, the fisherman must be very careful when unhooking it. A tight bite by a shark’s huge and sharp mouth could cost a fisherman a
We never cut a shark’s fin off before releasing it back into the ocean. I didn’t know whether people did it elsewhere. To my knowledge, people would take the shark back and sold it to the poor. Sharks don’t have many bones, but they also don’t taste good. Eating shark is like eating ashes, definitely incomparable with the taste of grouper. The poor people cook it with curry, coconut milk, vanilla, and other ingredients and eat it with bread. It was much better prepared this way, but I only had it once. One time we caught a white shark that weighed around 150 pounds. When we slit open its stomach, we found a human leg, blackened. After that no matter how many ingredients were used to cook shark meat, I never again had the appetite for it.
Once we spotted a shoal in the middle of the gleaming water while we were fishing on the Caribbean Sea. We took our boat closer and discovered that it was a tiny island formed by geological acitivty. The ground was merely inches above the sea level. We disembarked on the little island only to find a pile of shells and the occasional smell of sulfur.
We rested on the island for about half an hour before we realized the change of tides was engulfing the island. We hurried back to the boat. At that moment, a group of sharks appeared. Their fins were like flags floating above the sea surface back and forth aroundar us. It seems they were waiting to take us as their lunch. The helmsman panicked seeing them, and the sit situation worsened when we discovered that the engine wouldn’tw start, possibly b because it was flooded. In this fearful moment, a scared crew shouted, “Oh God, come to help p please!” It was such an an annoying but amusing com comment.
W When the helmsman final finally dried the engine mout mouth and got the engine runni running again, we shot out toward towards shore. We feared otherwise we’d end up being the shark’s meal.
However, sharkss were not the absolute king of the sea. I remember one time I doved near a reef to catch lobsters and all of a sudden, I found myself facing a shark that wasw swimming leisurely towar towards me. I was going to ascen ascend to the surface when in a flash,fla a strong and thick eel shot out from within the reef onto the shark. Just one strike killed the shark. It was as fast as lightening.
This shocking scene remindedmreminded me of a truth that, there is always something better and str stronger out there in this world. Even a vicious shark has its weakness: it couldn’t take one attack from an eel, and immediately sunk to the depths of the ocean, no longer king.
(From Memories of the Past, The Writers Publishing House. Translation: Zhang Lei)