Next to the UNESCO world heritage monument “Cape Coast Castle” in Ghana, I saw a fisher village that draw my attention. Maybe even more than the historical castle itself. With a desire to visit the fishermen, the response I got from the taxi-driver was: “Usually, no tourists entry to this place, because they will get robbed”.
I was a bit disappointed. However, then he continued: “But I grew up in this village, I can show you.” So we went. Me without actually knowing if it was true what he said. If it was safe or not. But taking the chance due to that this is the experiences I love the most when travelling. See the daily life of local people, and visiting places where few actually goes.
Feeling a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, having the fishermen staring at me like I was not supposed to be there. The only tourist, that was not so much welcomed.
After a few minutes, things seemed to go back to normal. I felt more invisible. That it was accepted that I was there. Maybe because I was with a person they knew. I was able to watch the fishermen prepare their green fishing nets and colorful boats. Learning about their traditions related to the fishery.
The fish they normally catch is Tilapia, Tuna, Herring, and Sole. They do so by casting their wide nets about 8 kilometers from shore. During the hunt the fisherman sing songs that they believe evoke the particular fish they seek to catch.
Many fishermen, do not fish on specific days. This because they belong to specific ethnic groups, like Fante, that believe that they have to leave the water alone on certain days. This so that a particular spirit can replenish the water with fish. The process of fishing is furthermore accompanied by prayers and offerings.
The large fishing boats they use are carved from a single log. After construction, an herbalist and a priest consecrate it. Thereafter, the boats are decorated and carved with symbols, traditional or modern. The name of the boat is also painted on as decoration.
Eventually, leaving the village, safe and whole. With many impressions richer and more knowledge about the fishermen in Cape Coast. I was happy that I took the chance.