Actual Fishing with Dynamite


It was 1967, on the south coast of Crete, in the village and beautiful bay of Matala. The village had two or three tavernas and possibly 25 residents, plus about a dozen hitchhikers temporarily domiciled in the ancient tombs in caves in the hillside. Fish, potatoes and retisina were on the menu everyday, and not much else. The women worked in the fields and the men who were nominally fishermen, sat at tables outside the taverna and drank retsina and smoked. Occasionally a industrious man with a good throwing arm would go out in the bay in a row boat and throw a stick of dynamite with a lit fuse as far as he could. Seconds later there would be a gusher of water and dozens of stunned unconscious fish would float to the surface. The “fisherman” would collect them up and row back to shore and supply the tavernas and residents. About a half an hour later the Greek coast guard would power into the bay, look around for a while and then leave. And we all had very fresh fish with potatoes for dinner that night.