Huanchaco Beach is a collection of many things. Many things that you would expect a tourist beach to be populated with; tourists, locals selling things to tourists, surfers, girls following surfers and the like. You’ll also find the fishermen, doing the things that fishermen do. Endless net-mending, the hauling of their still live and flopping catches to the restaurants across the streets, and drying their boats after the day’s work.
A 3000 year old method of fishing is still used in Northern Peru today, and it all comes down to one thing: caballitos de totoras, or little reed horses. These are kayak shaped, single-person boats woven and tied using a reed, or bulrush, called Scirpus Californicus. The boats are straddled, much as one would a horse, and paddled through the breakers to the fishing spots. Upon returning after the day’s haul has been caught, the fisherman literally surf their way back to shore.
Rumor has it that several years ago, marketers of small, engine-powered fishing boats attempted to pawn their wares to the fishermen of Huanchaco, extolling the virtues of a move to a modern fishing era. “You can catch so many more fish this way!” the salesmen said.
The reply of the fishermen of Huanchaco? “We catch all the fish we need.”
Sandi Child says
I love your stories…looking forward to the next
Cate, I don’t know why but “Little Reed Horses” continues to be my favorite post. It is so charming and takes me to a place that just seems so simple and natural. The way that man and nature coexist in harmony is the way we are meant to be. It’s nice to know that there are still places like this in the world. Thank you for sharing this.