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Round the World 2005 - 6
In this part of the blog I'm in Cape Verde
Cape Verde - July 5, 2005 - Sal
Here I am, sadly at the last leg in my Trip. I'm in Sal, that, as the name suggests, is an island with a lot to do with salt.
Ancient salt beds are common, and the landscape there is harshly burned out.
The island is constantly under the inflexible scourge of the Trade Winds and is almost totally covered with brown sands blown out from the Sahara and eventually landed here.
In any case, the Ocean life, lacking any industrial plant, is still rich. Even if, sadly said, already not comparable with that of only three years ago.
Professional fishing in Cape Verde
Cape Verde - July 17, 2005 - Sal
Long, full days spearfishing the Cabo Verde waters. Some wahoos, some dolphin fish have been taken, but, yet, not any bill fish.
Anyway, the sharks are hungry here. More than once the fish resurfaced from the blue under our fins half chomped.
Cape Verde - July 19 2005 - Sal
The day of the record
As I wrote in an interview on the net.
The quiet dream
From the large window on the right the light pours onto the light wooden table. On the table, an enormous gun, all in wood, with a 10 mm shaft, two meters long. At one end a gorgonian head of serpentine rubber bands, black, five or six of them. I timidly touch it, try to lift it, I can barely move it, it will weigh seven or eight kilos. Leaning beside it, in the pool of light, numerous unknown tools. Behind, the murmurous, calm voice, of a man in the broad Australian speech.
It is July 1997 and I am for the first time in Western Australia, at the home of Greg Pickering, who holds two World Spearfishing Records. One, to a magnificent Yellowfin Tuna of nearly one hundred and fifty kilos. I clasp its photograph in my hands in disbelief. Taken exactly with that gun, now resting on the table.
It is the beginning of a Dream. A quiet one, barely confessed to myself and certainly not to others in the World, weighing lightly, lightly in the back of my mind. But there it remains, persistent, tenacious. And there, slowly, it grows, strengthens, demands attention, begins to dictate choices. The slow acquisition of techniques learned over the years around the world, the purchase of material perfected for fishing in the Blue Waters, nonexistent and totally unknown on the homeland. The experimentation and invention, the customization of techniques derived from everything learned.
And slowly the Dream grows, it begins to push, vigorously, to come out, to be recognized. Until I really decide for my Magnificent Folly. I drop everything, not really knowing if I would really come back, and I leave for a World Tour dedicated to spearfishing. Alone, a few hints of places and people where to dip the fins as a support. For the rest, total freedom. And the Dream that, unleashed now, orders and imposes. The fishing gun for the Blue Water Spearfishing, exactly Greg's, with the same gorgonian head of rubber snakes, blacks, however improbable it may be its transport by plane. With the rest of the equipment, it weighs as much as a normal airline luggage!
And I leave, the Dream that sings, and drags me and cradles me in the long dives, sometimes dark with dusty and empty blue waters, sometimes full of silvery and cobalt flashes, my fins carving the skin of the most diverse Oceans.
But without that apparition to bewilder me, to amaze me with wonder.
Until, today, in the Atlantic, a stormy day.
Long, heavy gray waves. The sky dark, ghosts of torn clouds skimming the breakers. The dark but clear water, over two hundred and fifty meters below my belly. A sudden form, the giant tail, the aggressive sword, slips under me, stops my heart, my breath.
The image is crystallized in the mind, forever, in that single instant of anxious admiration. Then, reality urges, the image vibrates, it frees itself like a shattering of glass. The Dream sings, finally free. Suddenly this strange wooden tool in my hands is powerfully significant: I dive to meet the Sailfish, I shoot.
The fish seems to disappear with the simple suddenness of a dream. But the buoy bounces from wave to wave, flies over me, dragged by the unbridled force of its fugue. And I immerse myself in the chase, my mind empty except for the swimming, hard, determined, the breath rasping in the snorkel against my ear. Doubts, doubts, will the gear endure that stress? Will the shot hold? Will the sharks eat it? Will I reach it or will it be faster than me? Only gray shadows in my mind, diluted by the waves crashing down on me, by the tantalizing vision of the red buoys on the crest of the ever-following wave, from the everlasting blue.
The buoy, almost strangely after so many long minutes of frantic swimming in pursuit, finally is here, within reach of my hands. I grab it. And I am dragged across the Ocean, the water streaming against me, by the fish that always swims, away from that pain in its side. I pull slowly, one hand after the other, until I see the flapping of the enormous tail, the glittering blue-gold of the back, the very white belly, the giant dorsal so blue as to be almost black, that it rises, once again, in alarm. The heavy steel line like a halter, I raise its head towards the surface, avoid a flash of the sword, grab him.
The Sailfish is mine.
The approval for the Record will take a long time, sometimes boring, bureaucratic. But all this is still in the future.
Now, the breath slowly calming down, now, the Record Fish is mine!
The Dream that slowly murmurs and rolls up, satisfied. For the moment.
Cape Verde - July 23, 2005 - Sal
Many sharks in these days. Today a massive one, way more than three metres, was hungry but gentle: it took only the head of the Wahoo, a portion that anyway has to be throw away when cleaning it.
When he tried, after that, to eat the whole fish, found two ugly, sharp guns, pointed on his nose. Gently, decided to sink…
Cape Verde - July 28, 2005 - Sal
Today I took a beautiful Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) of 65-67 kg. The weight is uncertain because I had, to weight it, a scale of ONLY 50 kg.
By the way, it’s a somewhat breathtaking sensation to witness the needle of the scale make a full rotation and continue over the end!
It was the last one, and by far the smaller, of four that went to the flasher, circled it, and disappeared in the blue at their usual breakneck pace. And, dear reader, the first one was really a dream fish.
The last one hesitated and circled it twice. I was ready for that…
Luckily, the sharks today decided to leave today THIS fish intact!
Italy - August 2005
it’s August 2005 and I’m back to Italy. My wonderful Trip is now finished.
I can’t even begin to convey the sensations I felt when returning to the Milan airport after more than six months away.
The life in the Trip was a simple but a rewarding one: the priority were that the gun could shot straight so to take that superb prey; eat and drink accurately so not to succumb to those so common traveller diseases (and in six months I had not even suffered a cold) and to have proper energies for diving; that my wetsuit would be whole, so to keep me warm in the Ocean… And, of course, to live, breathe and enjoy all that endless beauty I was every day contemplating…
So, all in all, see you again in these pages, if not in another Round the World Trip, in some, I hope rewarding, underwater adventures.
I’ve updated all the pages when I was INSIDE the Trip and this meant working through an almost endless list of assorted Internet Points in the World. A journey too in some way...