Recently I’ve been spending time in some interesting places, one of with is this old gold mine on the edge of a sleepy town named Rodalquilar in province of Almeria, Spain. The province is better known for it’s fresh fruit and vegetables, but once upon a time gold was a great source of income for the region. It’s unknown when the mines were first opened but there are records dating back to 1864. Mining continued on and off right up until 1990.
After leaving Rodalquilar we headed to the coast with the anticipation of meeting some friendly fishermen.
We arrived in the small fishing village of San Miguel De Cabo De Gata in the late afternoon and I set off to scope the place out and see who I could find. I could tell that the location had great potential, there were all the signs of a lively, although small scale, fishing industry. I was slightly disappointed that there was no one around to talk to but I did come across a few cats, this one had managed to find the very last spot of sun on the beach. Without any schedule confirmed I was hopeful for the next morning.
The morning came and knowing fishermen like to get going early I was up and on the beach at 6 am, ready, looking for signs of life but there still wasn’t anyone around. I waited thinking I must have missed them and that the boats had already left. However there seemed about the same amount of boats on the beach as the evening before. I waited. There were a couple of boats moored out at sea and I shot a few frames. I waited some more.
2 and a half hours passed and finally a small boat pulled up to the shore. I got talking to the boat owner and asked how the fishing had been that morning, his reply “nada”. He’d been out at sea for 5 hours and returned with nothing.
He explained how things used to be different and how there was once a thriving fishing community, but due to bigger nets and over fishing there are now only a few boats that go out regularly to fish. They often come back empty handed. There was one bigger boat operating from the beach that takes the bulk of the fish. I waited a little more for their return
Around 11am I saw the boat drop anchor about 50 meters of the coast, wondering how they were going to bring the catch to land, if they even had anything, I was pleasantly surprised to see them rowing in.
I was surprised and impressed that in the 21st century in a developed country like Spain there are still fishermen using rowing boats.
They had a reasonably good catch, landing 3 buckets of small fish that were carried up the beach before being sorted out by species.
By this time a crowd of locals had arrived to check out watch they had caught and purchase there lunch. It was really nice to see the whole process and to witness how the locals buy their fish directly from the fishermen on the beach, no middlemen, no supermarket, no polystyrene packaging. Simple.