Fishing for something to do ….
You just never really know how a day is going to turn out.
One sunny early afternoon, I was headed out to do some mundane chores but stopped by the Dash Point Park and fishing pier just to put off the chores for a moment or two. It was so beautiful that I took one photo, then hurried away, completed my chores, and came back for more photos.
Here’s the fishing pier on my early afternoon quick visit, just before high tide.
The photo below is a Google Earth view of the pier and the parking lot at Dash Point in northeast Tacoma, Washington. There’s no boat moorage at that pier; it’s just a fishing pier.
By the time I got back to Dash Point Park later in the afternoon after completing my chores, some clouds had rolled in, but the water was as calm as a cucumber. [Have you ever seen an excited cucumber? I bet not. They are always so extraordinarily calm.] Even with the cloud cover, Puget Sound was just as beautiful later in the day as it had been earlier in the day.
There was just enough beach for walking. Sometimes, especially at low tide and especially after storms, this beach is full of driftwood which makes for wonderful beach walking and photography.
The photo above was taken when I got back here later in the afternoon, just after high tide. That was a very high tide!
It was so beautiful and calm, with little waves lapping at the sandy beach. Lots of folks were fishing from the pier, or from shore, or from kayaks, or in more commercial fishing craft.
I walked out onto the fishing pier and chatted with several of the folks out there. A couple of great big burly Hawaiian guys admitted that they didn’t have a clue what they were fishing for but had bought fishing gear because everyone else was doing it and they were having a great time laughing and joking and not catching a darned thing. There was a Thai man and woman (very nicely dressed, with him in a suit no less) who were catching and keeping really small fish intending to eat them even tho they didn’t know what the fish were.
Other folks were obviously experienced and were catching small Perch and Rockfish, and there were all manner of wonderful languages being spoken. I had just decided to head back to shore when there came a chorus of excited shouts, a loud and raucous commotion on the pier, and a great deal of wild splashing in the water near the shore end of the pier. I hurried down to that end of the pier to see what was up.
There were three guys standing up on the middle rungs of the fence/railing that ran along the edge of the pier and they were leaning WAY out over the water, holding small handheld nets out as far as they could reach while a fourth guy, standing solidly on the pier itself, was frantically working a rod and reel as the fish on his hook leaped several feet out of the water many times. Wow! I was amazed how high that fish jumped. It had to have been four or five feet straight up, twisting and turning and thrashing and splashing, over and over, many times.
Wished I’d gotten a picture of that! But at least I did get a picture of the fellow and his fish after he landed it … a large “pink” salmon that would be making several nice suppers for him and his family. The fish doesn’t look very big in the photo, but it was big … and it was one powerful fish.
He was SO pleased with the fish, as were his buddies. I asked if I could take his photograph. He smiled and nodded affirmatively but was pretty shy about it. He didn’t speak much English. He told me his name, but I don’t remember it. 🙁 I asked him where he was from, what country, where he was born. He looked worried and then said, “up there” and pointed up the hill. I thought maybe he didn’t understand my question or, maybe, he had a reason to be reluctant to tell me what country he was from. I stopped asking and just smiled and said “thank you” a great deal and then he smiled a lot too.
Evening approached and arranged a lovely sunset for all to enjoy. Most everyone on the pier had full buckets of fish by then and were starting to head home.
I headed home too, but there’s a postscript to this story.
When I uploaded the photos into my computer at home, I realized the photo of that man with his fish was a good one. I made five 8×10 print photos with as high resolution as possible on really nice photo paper. I then gathered up five 8×10 heavy mailing envelopes. And the next afternoon I went back to the Dash Point fishing pier, hoping and hoping that he would be there again. He was!
When he saw me, he burst into a huge grin and laughed and waved and shouted hi. When he realized I wanted to talk with him, he motioned to me to stay put. He dropped his rod and reel and ran down the pier and brought back his grandson who spoke English fluently. His grandson was grinning too and told me that his granddad couldn’t stop talking the evening before at home about the woman who took his picture with the fish.
The young man said that his granddad had wanted to call his (the granddad’s) mother in the Philippines to tell her about the fish but she didn’t have a phone and it was difficult to arrange a time when she could be at a phone that she could use. And THAT’s when I pulled out one of the envelopes, opened it, and pulled out one copy of the photo.
I handed him the photo and the envelope and said “Yours … I give you this.” He was speechless (and wide-eyed) but tentatively and reverently took the photo (after making sure his hands were very, very clean). Then I pulled out the other four envelopes and four photos and handed all of them to the man. I said, “Por su madre en Philippine.” (Correctly pronounced the way they say it, it sounds like pillipeen. I didn’t know Tagalog, but he evidently knew Spanish as many Filipinos do.) Well, he started to cry. And he grabbed my arm and called EVERYONE to come see!! He was so happy! He kind of bounced and danced … and I bounced and danced with him because he was hanging onto me, what could I do? And lots of people joined around and laughed and talked in Tagalog and we all smiled a great deal and nodded at each other.
When the joyfulness and dancing (finally!) slowed down, I was about to leave but then I asked the grandson how his granddad came to the US. The young man hesitated. So I told him I had been raised in the Philippines, outside Manila, and had loved living there as a child. I told him that I liked meeting his granddad here and that I knew what a good fisherman he was and that I knew how important it was for him to be a good fisherman.
The grandson translated all that to his granddad. And then the grandson told me, with his granddad listening and again looking worried, that his granddad had come here on a ship illegally and had stayed in hiding from the US authorities for many years. The grandson wasn’t sure if his granddad was maybe still here illegally.
By this point in the story, everyone was really quiet and staring hard at me. I turned to the granddad and said, “Tu eres mi amigo .. somos amigos aquí .” (“You are my friend .. we are all friends here.”) And then I said in English, “All of us are just trying to live our lives and have good lives and catch fish for dinner … we are all family.” The grandson translated that to him for me and the crowd burst out shouting and nodding and laughing … and granddad grabbed my arm again, and we bounced around a bit more.
Finally! everyone calmed down and we said our goodbyes. I made sure the grandson got one of those photos for himself. And then I headed home in the big white truck, happy as that fisherman had been with that nice big fat pink salmon in his pail.