Salt and Seaweed Day

Today, we bought 6 kilos of fish just caught in the morning, and 6 kilos of salt. The salt was big grain, so we used a mortar and pestle to make smaller grains.

I helped one of the wives clean the fish, then showed them how to salt the fish in layers.

Everyone else was out working, so we were done for the day. When the boat didn’t come for awhile, we wandered down to the beach to check out the red seaweed farm.

Ladies were planting new lines by taking larger pieces of seaweed off lines, separating them, and then replanting the smaller pieces on new lines.

The same wife I helped clean and salt fish was there, and Andry and I helped her plant a line. We sat in the sand in the water, and the Indian Ocean was warm. I chatted through Andry about how we plant Alaska kelp, and soon we had our line planted. The lady said before we started, and just in passing, that she paid 400 ariary to plant a line, and when I asked for our money, she said she had to dock me 100 ariary for eating some of the seaweed. Tough boss.

We went back to the landing and watched beautiful sailboat after sailboat sail in, on their way, apparently, to the salt mine at the head of the “inland sea” to haul salt.  When our boat arrived, two others asked to go to town. An old, somewhat feeble Pa with a tattered bucket hat, and a middle age man in good health. I put the Pa in the padded middle seat in front of the steering console – the most comfortable seat on the boat – out of respect.

When we got back to Ecolodge, 3 Frenchmen came in at the same time in a guided canoe with outrigger with a PILE of fish. The biggest was about 50 lbs. A couple were bright red.

Then, the French husband owner of the Ecolodge showed up in their side by side ATV. I thought to pick up the fish. But no – they had a man who needed medical attention. Four men carried him to the boat I just got off, and away they went. To Morondava I assume, but not sure. I later found out it looked like the man had an appendicitis.

I helped the Pa off the boat, and went up to look at the fish. Then the Pa comes with his his hands out. First I thought it was to thank me. Then I realized he wanted money. As always, I never know what to do in this situation as in all the crowd of people, I stand out as the big white guy. I thanked the Pa, took a photo of the fish, and walked up to my room to get out of the situation.

They covered the fish on the beach, at least. But the fish weren’t bled and not cleaned. And had been in the sun. The red ones were bloating.  I was the only one who cared, of course. Apparently they will send the fish on ice to Morondava to sell.

Mark and women on beach cleaning seaweed
Mark and women and kids salting fish in Madagascar