Swim free, little fishies! Swim free!!!

After my ritual morning run on the beach here on Saipan, I returned to my beachfront desk to do some brainstorming for a few projects including Living True To Your Self.

As I approached my usual spot, I heard the sound of a plop of water behind me, and turned quickly to notice a second plop and what appeared to be something hitting the water from an angle that, if it had been thrown, would mean someone out in the ocean had thrown it. I was puzzled, as there was no one on the beach or in the water for as far as the eye could see.

I gazed towards where the object had entered the water, and it was then I saw something dark and mysterious near the water’s edge. (hey, didn’t someone once describe me that way?). I thought it might be seaweed, but wasn’t quite sure. I walked towards it.

As I got closer, I was delighted to discover that it was….fish! Hundreds of them. No, thousands! Several undulating  black pools of small fish near the water’s edge. Doing their dance of life.

1. Something dark and mysterious by the water’s edge!
View the mysterious video!

They were so close to the sand at the edge of the water that it almost seemed as if they were about to  recreate their distant ancestors’  apocryphal transition from sea dweller to land dweller right before my eyes!

But then, I heard the telltale ominous music playing in the background. [Think: Jaws, the movie]. I scanned the horizon, and then quickly discovered the reason why.  About 5 or 6 feet from the frolicking school of small fish, was a larger, sword nosed fish that seemed to be enjoying the display as much as I was–but, as I was soon to learn–for entirely different reasons.

I watched as swordnose sailed out of the water and dove into the unsuspecting school of smaller fish. (Caught on film) The school dispersed for a moment in the area of swordfish’s entrance into the shallow water, a bit of chaos ensued, but things quickly returned to normal and the predator  could be seen swimming away with a fresh meal in its sword mouthed grasp.

2. Swim, little fishies! Swim!! (Attack of the swordnosed fish!)
View video of attack!

A few moments later, while I was still contemplating the predator-prey paradigm as it plays itself out in life and in nature, along comes a fisherman. I thought to myself that he’d probably seen many such displays in his years of fishing along Saipan’s shores. However, he too, uttered a “wow” and stopped to watch the schools of fish.

We acknowledged each other, exchanged a few pleasantries, and soon, he did what fishermen do, and cast his net into the waters to claim and augment his own catch for the day.

As he walked past me back to his bucket with a few small fish in his net, a few of them dropped out and onto the sand. I reached down and rescued those I could and tossed them back into the water.

We were next to each other. He standing, reaching into his net, tossing fish into his bucket. Me, crouching, reaching down to the sand,  tossing fish back into the water. He didn’t seem to mind. Nor did I. (I couldn’t help thinking of Elsa the lion and the movie Born Free.)

Soon, we smiled, said our goodbyes and he walked away.

I think he said they made a nice soup.