Monday, August 14, 2006

Uncle Big Boy's Boat

This is probably not something that you can get into. I was leafing through a batch of photos from ages ago (I forget why I had drug out my photo albums and what exactly it was that I was hunting down) and saw some images I took when I went home for our family reunion back in 1989. This image is at the fishpond (that's what they're called and I'll explain why a little later) which was at my Aunty Trining and Uncle Big Boy's house. My aunt is my dad's sister. Big Boy is her husband and he came over from the Filipines to work as a planter in the pineapple fields. I don't remember what his given name is, but he was called Big Boy because he was tall and thin. Their house was small; I don't even think it was 800 square feet; 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a combo kitchen, dining, living room area. Smallest house in the family, I think, but most of our gatherings took place there because the kids could walk down the path to the 'beach' where the fishpond was and play to their heart's content. You didn't have to tell anyone where you were going; if you weren't at the house, your were down at the fishpond. Biggest activity down there is hunting crabs! For a child, a fishpond of this kind is a magical world where you could spend the entire day without ever getting bored. A few summers ago, my sister and I rented a house on the shore of Molokai that had a fishpond and we got to watch our children discover the magic of a fishpond. OK, so here's what a fishpond is if you don't know. Along the southern shoreline of Moloka'i, it is quiet flat for quite a ways out to the reef. Maybe about a quarter mile of shallow, flat water (I think the scientists named it the "Penguin Flats" even though there are no penguins for thousands of miles). The Hawaiians in their wisdom (probably an "ah ha" moment) brought large stones over the mountains from the other side of the island (legend has it that the menehunes which is sorta like Hawaiian leprechans that do handy work) built these ponds. There are (was) miles of shoreline that had these ponds that are half cirlces of a stone walls. When the tide rises, the fish from the ocean swim through the gate and as the tide goes down, the fish are 'stuck' in the pond. It's aquafarming of the earliest kind. Anyway, makes it easy to go fishing. The pond is very muddy from the runoff of soil from the rains. Kinda werid to go walking in (especially barefoot) as you sink down about 6 inches or more into thick mud. So the fish are happy since they live in a rich environment and are safe from their usual predators. Crabs florish and there are even small sized shrimp that grow in the pond. All you have to do is go out in that little boat and lay down your fish nets or your carb nets and you have fresh seafood everyday. Organically grown. Too bad I didn't like fish and crab when I was younger! : ) To find out more about Hawaiian fishponds, go to: http://oe.soest.hawaii.edu/~fishpond/index.html There is a section on Moloka'i fishponds, but I don't know the name of the one that was by my Aunt's house. Maybe if my cousin, Kalani reads this blog he'll tell me as he is able to remember things like this. There are a couple of photos of some other ponds, but they are not traditional (one of them has a wire cage). The old ponds just have a stone wall. The wall itself was fun to walk around on when the tide was down.

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