We're moving this summer to a flat within five minutes of Plage de Ouakam, a traditional Lebu fishing community. The plage is a beautiful spot, nestled in a cove, adjacent to the high basalt cliffs of the Mamelles. The beach is lined with narrow, wooden fishing pirogues, and tends to be a bustle of activity, with kids swimming, fishermen tending their nets, and the occasional goat reluctantly dragged into the shorebreak for a wash-up.
Winter upwelling is serious here, driven by stiff off-shore winds. The winds have begun to subside now, and the water is gradually warming. The air is still this morning, much as it was when we first arrived last August. The change in water temperature drives the migration of tuna along the Senegal coast, as they move north into cooler waters.
ISD teaching colleague, Bruno, and I headed out fishing with guide Momodou yesterday for an action-packed morning. Over the course of about four hours, the three of us caught on the order of 60 skipjack tuna, varying in size from small to medium-size, 10 pounds plus. Momodou explained that the local fishermen were catching tuna everywhere, in both shallow and deeper waters.
Bruno and I each kept several of the larger fish. The rest were divided-up amongst two dozen family members, each of whom walked away with samples according to their status, I assume, to be cooked fresh on little charcoal grills.
I intend to spend a lot of time on the plage next year. I've kicked myself for not getting out more often to go snorkling along the cliffs, particularly to see the grouper and tuna migrating within meters of the shore.
They build pirogues on the plage. I'm interested in documenting this in film next year, a nice opportunity to practice my Wolof, and build connections in the community.
The surf can also break big in the cove, but not often. It requires a southeast swell, which occurred only once this year. For over a week, the swells were breaking high, 10 feet plus.