About a week ago, me and my friend Julie got hold of a car, and took some of the off-duty guards down to Bonege to go diving and spear fishing. We make spears out of thick wire and then fire them at fish using rubber tubing while we are snorkelling; it’s one of the many ways the locals do it. This is the third time we’ve attempted it. It’s quite tricky…the first time a guard called Louis Selwyn caught a clam, and I caught an ear infection. The second time I hit two small reef fish about the size of matchboxes (they looked bigger underwater…). Third time lucky. We scuba-dived the Bonege wreck while Wilson and Alex tried their luck. The dive was great but it was looking like another fruitless day with the spear-fishing when, just as we about to leave, Wilson leaps up from the water shouting ‘God is with us’, having neatly punctured this large batfish. He looked very happy.
These are some photos Julie took on her mobile phone, which is one of these new ones that also doubles as a media player, PC, fax machine, photocopier and laser beam. The guards took some photos too on their ancient ‘film’ camera, which seemed to work by capturing light on a roll of some kind of chemical film, hence the name.
Silliness aside, we think it’s good fun for the guards, who are all from Temotu or Malaita and have nothing to do most of the time when they are off duty, as their people are all back in the provinces. I suspect they are bored and lonely a great deal of the time. They have approached me several times to ask if we can go again soon but it all depends on when I can get hold of a car…
Anyway after a bit of ‘honour haggling’ we finally decided that I was to accept the fish, rather than me having the honour of allowing Wilson to keep it (he really wanted to give it to me). Of course, I nobly offered to cook some of it up for them and give it to them on their next shift, not realising that it was at midnight. So I stumbled out blearily with two bowls of batfish curry at about 1.30am and then promptly went back to bed again. It was a good day.