Friday, July 29, 2011

Survival Christmas Island Style

The guide catching our lunch

Tony preparing a fire

Lunch being cooked

It doesn't get much better than fresh fish for lunch!

I spent a week in the Republic of Kiritimati earlier this month.  If you don't know where this republic is look at a map of the Pacific Ocean, travel 1300 miles south of Honolulu to a position two degrees north of the equator and there you will find a coral atoll called Christmas Island or "Kirimati" which, by the way, is pronounced "Kiri- bass."  Kirimati is one of thirty-three small islands scattered over two million square miles of the Central Pacific Ocean which make up the Republic of Kiritimati.  Enough geography.  I went there for two reasons: one to fly-fish for bonefish and trevally and secondly to photograph seabirds both of which I manages to do successfully.  So what does all of this have to do with survival and surviving?

During the week that I was there I witnessed an exercise in "survival food procurement."  While out fishing one day the truck that was transporting us from one place to another didn't show up at the appointed time with lunch!  While this was not truly a crisis the guide and I were hungry and thirsty after a long morning of stalking bonefish on the flats and were ready for some food!  After an hour of waiting the guide took matters into his own hands, asked to borrow my fly rod, walked down to the nearby coral reef where he promptly caught a snapper and a small grouper.  Returning to where I was sitting under a tree in the shade he gathered up a pile of coconut husks and some dead palm fronds and built a fire.  As the husks were burning down to coals he found a piece of old sheet metal, propped it up on rocks and couple of pieces of pipe over the fire and then, when it was hot, put the two fish on it to cook.

Ten minutes later he pronounced the fish done and they were served to me on a platter made from a nearby broad-leafed tropical plant.   At that moment nothing could have tasted better!  They were delicious.

This certainly was not a survival situation but it was a "survival vignette" that reminded me that often the survival resources we need are present all we need to do is know how to exploit them!


1 comment: