The ocean is a grocery store.

At the end of piers, the tips of jutting land, on bridges or banks, in small boats and large, men shop for dinner.

Early today three men are casting from the end of a pier at sunrise. They have been up all night and one lifts the top off a five gallon paint bucket and shows me his catch – six red snapper.

” You take them to a restaurant, ” he  says, ” and they will cook them up for you. “.

They cast their lines out thirty feet and weights carry the baited hooks to the bottom. When the line pulls taut they wait. Sometimes you have a bucket of fish in half an hour; other times it takes all night and a pack of cigarettes to fill your cart.

” Captain Shark’s is the place to get a pole, ” the talkative one tells me.

This morning I find bait and tackle at Captain Shark’s across from Maya Air next to the Hyperbaric Chamber. The store has fishing gear but also boating and diving items. It costs fifty Belizian to walk out with twenty pound test line, extra weights and hooks, a bag of frozen sardines for bait, and a Yo-Yo, a gadget used to hand cast and retrieve your line without tangles.

It will be a sad day when they ask for a license to fish from the pier.

It is a crime to lock the grocery when you have hungry men.

 

 

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