West Coast autumn days have many faces, but a lovely clear almost-winter day is like a tonic for the soul. It is 12 noon and on the beach at Paternoster everything is peaceful. Clear turquoise water, a gentle low tide, boats resting and parents probably having a cooling drink on one of the verandas!
Aren't you painting too many boats, the family wants to know....but I still have a story to tell about the small fishermen, the subsistence guys who are really at the bottom of the hierarchy as far as fishing rights are concerned. During the last century, people were free to fish, but things do change for many reasons. Fish become scarce. Crayfish is no longer poor people's food but an important export product. A fisherman is allowed to bring in 4 crayfish per day, and a small amount of fish,which means to live he has to go out daily and face the dangers of the ocean.
Large factories can buy bigger concessions than the small guys, and they have to. They must pay salaries to thousands of factory workers. And also, the population now need many tons of frozen fish, tinned fish, sardines, crayfish and cat food which a large company with large trawlers and refrigeration is able to deliver.
It is sad to listen to the very real fears of some of the 30,000 local subsistence fishermen. They can go to work in factories and the steelworks , but that means travelling to Saldanha, and have a divided family with old values under pressure. Children also loose respect for parents not able to provide for them and get involved in bad habits. West coast tourism, luckily, is growing and will hopefully provide jobs as people discover the joys of this peaceful area. How nice it is to be in a place that is not rich, not opulent, but so very tranquil and naturally beautiful!
After many months, I have to add this bit of news: This is the top painting on my blog! I watch the polls, and the paintings move up and down, but "More about Paternoster" stays in the first place!