Welcome to my home

Welcome to my home

Friday, July 20, 2007


First, I would like to apologize for not having updated this in some time. This past week has been extremely busy. Trying to coordinate a campout for teenagers is hard enough; so please try to understand my work load when trying to plan a campout for teenagers, getting the U.S. government to ok, the foreigners’ overnight, and then getting the RMI’s ambassador to give the ok for his citizens to overnight it on American soil. But, I’m here now, and you’ll hear more about the campout in a bit. But first things first.

Last weekend I went spear fishing on Sunday (remember that’s Saturday.) Spear fishing is just that, spearing fish while swimming underwater. The spear used is typically something called a “Hawaiian Sling.” A Hawaiian Sling is a graphite shaft about 6.5’ long, the end of which is split into three really sharp metal prongs that are about a foot long each. On the non-pointy end there is a huge rubber strap that functions much like a rubber band. To use the sling, you hook your thumb in the band, stretch the band towards the pointy end while holding the shaft with the same hand, aim the spear, and then, at the right moment you open your hand up and the sling shoots the spear through your hand in the direction your were aiming. So, Nick (my boss) and I dawned our snorkeling gear and hit the lagoon.

We stalked fish for about two hours. While one of us used the sling, the other one swam with the fish bag and helped look for fish. The fish bag is what we put the speared fish in. It is simply a net bag that clamps at one end. The problem with a net bag to carry speared fish in, is that when a fish is speared it tends to bleed. This blood then wafts through the netting and out into the ocean water. The good news is that a shark, if it approaches you, will not attack you, but rather the bag. The bad news is that the fish bag hangs dangerously close to the waist line when swimming. Fortunately for us, no sharks took interest in our haul of fish. We were spearing things like grouper, red snapper, and a whole bunch of fish I cannot name because I am ignorant, but I’m pretty sure I saw them all in Finding Nemo.

Nick and I had such a good time hunting for fish on Sunday that we decided to go back out on Monday to get more fish, but this time we brought a posse and more weapons. There were four of us total: Nick, Jason (permanent CYS staff), Luke (some kid visiting), and me. Among us we had two slings and an actual spear gun (picture a handheld harpoon gun.) I’m pretty sure that as we hunted we were recreating the old buffalo drives frequently used by Native Americans to drive their food over the edge of cliffs. It was definitely a sight to see. All in all we speared a bunch of fish. At one point I took a shot at a large grouper (about 2’ long,) but it swam away too quickly. However, his undersized crony did not. I don’t know what kind of fish it was, but I do know that it was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Straight up spear through the gut. I showed him to my fellow hunters (I’m pretty sure I’m regressing to cave man status,) and we decided that he was too small to actually eat. So I chummed up the water with his bloody body. I thought I saw him do the death shudder as he drifted through a hole in the coral head.

The next day was Tuesday, the first day of a new work week. Each week we go fishing with improvised fishing tackle off the rock wall that lines the lagoon by the housing units. Usually several fish are caught in the hour we devote to fishing, so when one of my campers got really excited about a fish he had just caught I was surprised.
“Scott, Scott!”
“What’d ya get there Iamen?”
“Fish! Kang-kang.” (that means tasty)
“Let me see.” Pause, look of dismay “What? No way. Hey Binton, check this out. This fish has a whole through its belly!”
That’s right, one of my campers caught the fish that I had speared the day before, the same one that gave an Oscar-winning performance on his death shudder. Binton was impressed, but he agreed that this fish was kang-kang. So he ripped off its spiny dorsal fin and tail and then ate the whole thing (head, bones, guts, etc.) raw. Probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen. He just smiled at me and went back to fishing. I got back into my office that day only to find out that my iPod had been stolen…I hate immorality.

Thursday night was our campout. We went to a beach that is on the other end of the island that no one really goes to that often. It has a big bonfire pit and a place to pitch tents. So, we cooked hobo pies for dinner, learned how to make s’mores, and spent time around the campfire. C.J. told old Marshallese folk tales that scared the living hell out of my campers, it was awesome. Cultural legends are passed down orally through the royal family here, so having C.J. there to tell them was a real treat. I stayed up all night to make sure that everything would be ok in the event of an emergency. Needless to say, I was tired by the time I got to bed the next night—6am Thursday to 8:45pm Friday…but my kids loved it so I was happy. I got lots of pictures. It was probably my favorite night since I’ve been here.

I’m happy, but miss you all. Leave me some love.

1 comment:

Tara said...

1.) Finding Nemo fish!!!! You should not be killing these beautiful creatures...remember you are suppose to be catching me some and smuggling them back to the US for my aquarium??? You are only allowed to kill ugly ones.
2.) Very sad that your ipod was stolen.
3.)I want to go camping.
4.)You better have called Iowa to check about your placement next semester, otherwise I am not going to be happy with you.
5.)Call me tomorrow if you get a chance. I work 12-8:30, so call me in the morning.