I went to the calm and serenity of the once bustling Lim Chu Kang Jetty, one of the last few wooden jetties remaining in Singapore which currently serves as the docking place for the offshore fishing kelongs (villages built on stilts) and aquafarms. This jetty is more for offshore kelongs with fishing traps and several fish farms to transfer caged culture fish to lorries on the mainland.
It is actually a good place to relax at dusk by walking along the fishing jetty. You can enjoy the tranquil sea breeze and watch a spectacular sunset, or the fishermen returning with their catch.
Before arrival, i have framed images in my mind of i want to take based on what i know about this place. A sunset in the background, one or two fishermen in their boats and maybe some interesting subjects in the foreground. I was hoping that all things will align themselves for my photo shoot at the jetty. The whole experience turned out to be more than just photographic rewarding, and also a discovery about the daily simple, laid-back and fulfilling life of a fisherman. It is so different from what i have been leading as a city dweller's.
Most saltwater fishermen don't own a boat. That is a simple fact that would seem to limit their ability to fish. Most of the slick fishing magazines feature articles that necessarily involve fishing from a boat and not just any boat but one that has all the bells and whistles. Some fishermen feel relegated to only reading about great fishing adventures, for in their own world, a boat is financially out of reach.
The jetty was quite quiet and very tranquil with panaromic view of sunset in the background.
Jetty or Pier fishing is an art of its own. The fish, depending on the species, generally come in waves as a school passes through. And the really good jetty or pier fishermen know how to get with the action while the fish are swimming in there. Most are bottom fishing, usually with a multi-hook rig weighted on the bottom.
The jetty or pier pro have a way of knowing just how long to wait to get more than one fish hooked up before reeling in.
Some people may wonder what will these folks do with the fishes after they caught them? Well, you won't find a lot of catch and release out here. They want dinner, not pictures for the wall. They spend their time fishing, socializing with the regulars and helping out anyone near them who appears to need help. The amateurs are easy to spot and after having fun watching them for a few minutes, the regulars are more than willing to help out.
Wee hours of early mornings and evenings are the best times to see the fishermen in action. Below are some pictures of fishermen in action against the backdrop of a stunning sunset.
Life of a fisherman is certainly not a life for everyone. Long hours, hard work and bad weather are enough to keep most people on land. But if you ask every fisherman about fishing for a living they will tell a different story. They will tell you about the breath-taking beauty of the open ocean, about the great excitement of a good catch of fish and about the personal satisfaction of a hard day’s work.
While many fishermen admit that fishing can exact a physical and emotional toll, it is a small price to pay for a way of life keeps them coming back season after season to earn a living from the sea.
How will it be to make your means and living by struggling on the sea every day by braving the odds nature? Won’t it be excellent thrilling and enchanting? If you answer this question with an affirmative 'yes', you got to have more than envy on a fisherman’s life, his family, way of living, culture, practices and the interactions among the community & rest of the world.
What makes these people's lives special? The life of a fisherman has three proportions namely - peace, happiness and satisfaction at the right quantum. If we are to take an account of the other virtues that they posses, the list will definitely be an unending one. They live as a family. They share happiness and plight equally (be it of any type or magnitude).
Any dispute is resolved by mutual agreements and it need be consultation from elders and neighbors. Then what else does one need in this world to strive in peace? They leave into these everyday and return with many or some (or ever no fishes). Whatsoever be the result does not have a say in their happiness. To them, fishing merely professions. They worship it and adore every respect for Mother Sea so no matter whether they get fishes or not, they will remain happy with the present.
They are indeed a very special breed of fishermen, these jetty or pier dwellers. They garner a big salute from me for having more patience, more stamina, more strength and more inventiveness than most any other fishing group I can think of.
I saw someone started to move his boat from where it was docked to the jetty. But it was from the far left from where I was standing and it was out of the frame at that moment. I saw two locals rowing their boats. Timing was good as the sunset was wonderful and i got the subjects I wanted. I took the shot there.
Two other fishermen in their boat came into the frame too. I have pre-framed my composition and waited for them to come in to complete it.
Persistence and patience are the key.
Time spent at this jetty is really special and it is amazing how one man's everyday livelihood can be another man's adventure of a lifetime. I must admit that i always have such enthusiasm to try out anything under the sun. We sometimes do not realise that simple things in daily life actually carry a lot of meaning and significance. And as always, i try to show the best of everyday's life to others.
One of my best ability is being able to tell the story of a simple life activity in the light of much significance, colours and adventures. Someone once told me that my down-to-earth attitude, my observation skills have made me a person who is always happy, cheerful, simple and also live life to the fullest everyday, just like a fisherman's life. :-)
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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