We went to Mekany today. A little town an hours walk by beach from Belo sur Mer, or 20 minutes or so by boat.
A small group of fishermen and their wives who sell the fish, and in this town, grow seaweed, with a few kids, were our audience. Although this community is more remote than others I’ve worked in, these guys seem like they have it together.
After I talked about caring for fish on their boats, as fish are sold in the round here, usually with no refrigeration, they seemed to immediately agree the fish WOULD be better quality if they cleaned them on board, kept them in a clean container, and kept them as cool as they could with ice, ice frozen in water bottles, or if they can’t find anything else, a wet burlap bag or wet piece of old sail. But, they said: let us check with our customers first. WOW. These guys get it. I’m excited now.
Then after talking about sea cucumber farming here, we went to look at a site where they had a test plot once. They got some cukes from the nursery in Tolear, the center of cuke farming here, to see how it would work. It worked great…….until someone stole the sea cucumbers. They are worth a fortune, relatively speaking, here, and the farms in Tolear now employ a guard in a tower in the center of the farm who watches over the place 24 hours a day to guard against thievery.
The best part of it looking at the site was that they sent a kid with us who smokes fish! That’s what he does. He buys fish fresh, smokes them, and then sells them.
We’re cooking with gas, now.
So, I talk to him about asking around to the lodges about smoking their clients fish. Then tell him how vital that service is to us in Juneau for my customers and the whole town. He likes the idea.
Today I somehow see the seaweed farm in a new light. It’s impressive. About a mile long, with float lines about 15 feet wide made of empty water bottles about every 15 feet. I can’t exactly tell if the seaweed lines run parallel to the beach or perpendicular to the beach, but no matter. It’s a serious kelp farm in my book, and they are able to work it by “hand” at lower tides, where I’m guessing the water is up to their waist or chest, so don’t need a boat to tend it. And, you won’t get cold in this water. It’s warmer than any pool I’ve been in.