It was one of those hot, hazy, humid August days. The air was palpable, visible like a gauze scrim flown down from heaven. Out on the bar, the turning tide created air enough for the dhows to trawl for fish, exciting the sea birds and suda’s* like me – enthused by the romanticism of these ancient craft running with the wind and threading the needle back through the modern fishing fleet of Negombo.
Coming toward the city (on the first of my ‘farewell’ trips**) via a long-neglected coastal road, I was bowled over by the scene: the sea-going boats all tied up and tidied,
while just beyond the arms of the bay, a real-life re-enactment of the timeless.
Imagining myself straddling the slightly chaotic movement of travelling by boat, I hadn’t thought to bring a tripod, so my poor camera was pushed to the limit of its hand-held stability, and because I’ve tried to dispel the haze, there’s a nasty edge to these shots, but bear with the quality, please, and try to imagine those spare, single masted outriggers tacking back and forth across the bar; the silent shrilling of sea birds whirling about, waiting their opportunity to snatch an easy meal from the nets; the dhows joined from time to time by a motorised dinghy, its helmsman reeled in by the obvious pre-lunch success of his rigged and masted confers.
threading the needle through the tightly packed fleet
This is another response to this week’s On the Move challenge.
* Sudha – A white person (not entirely without irony)