Fishing villages and towns (and we used to have numerous; now we only have a few left) hold a "Flag Day" - vlaggetjesdag - to celebrate the fact that they have reached yet another Summer alive (my interpretation) and the fact that the fish have been gracious enough to get caught in their nets all year long. And it's great for tourism.
|© WibeKoopman Photography|
What I mostly saw today though, was a trade with pride in their work, and very happy to give us, landlubbers, an insight in their daily business. This business is catching fish, and the vessel I was welcomed on, the GO-29, is a shrimper.
The young guy in the photos is Jeroen, looking a tad grim, but so would you if your day consisted of 24 hrs of shrimping for 3 to 5 days on end, with a rigorous grueling schedule of 1/2 hour on and 1 hour off.
Today I saw him looking happy, rested and glamorous, the perfect host for all those strangers who were welcomed aboard of the GO-29. You can look up the video on YouTube (called 'Stellendam Flag Day 2015'), or use this link:Leaving Stellendam Harbour
Those letters GO stand for Goeree, the Zuid-Hollands island with the home harbour of Stellendam. But this fishing family actually comes from Moerdijk, up river, where their grandfather did his shrimping on the river in the days when Moerdijk was an island. Now it is dry land, safe behind dykes. But the fishing is at an end there, and the few families that remained fishermen were forced to bring their vessels to Stellendam.
It is not all rosy, explained skipper IJsbrand's nephew to me. The fish they used to catch on the river, spiering (sprot in English) likes brackish water. But the salty sea water doesn't reach Moerdijk any longer due to the Deltawerken (which keep the Zuid-Hollandse isles and Zeeland safe from the sea surges), and the spiering has disappeared.
IJsbrand and his family were very hospitable, serving free cold drinks, beers and shrimp sandwiches. And let me tell you, those shrimp are the best and tastiest shrimp in Europe! They are tiny, but will have your tastebuds in rapture.
Now, obviously my videos are amateur. I have no pretensions. If you want to view the pro stuff, you will have to visit my son Wibe's website soon. He is uploading the photos of today as I write. I will put a link at the bottom of this post.
What I would like to end with, is a plea to remember Goeree. Whenever you are in the vicinity (and Rotterdam, very hip these days, is only 35 kilometers away), do come to visit our islands. First you pass the island of Putten, then (only across the canal) my home island of Voorne, and then you cross the Haringvliet dam to Goeree-Overflakkee, the last Zuid-Hollands island before you cross another dam to Zeeland.
Our islands, my Wetlands, are the ultimate Dutch delta. Almost my entire country is a delta, but WE are the delta of all deltas.
Link 2: leaving Stellendam harbour ('Stellendam Flag Day - 2')Leaving Stellendam Harbour -2
Link 3: passing Hellevoetsluis harbour ('Stellendam Flag Day - 3')Passing Hellevoetsluis harbour
Link to Wibe's website: Wibe Koopman Photography
I'll leave you with one of Wibe's photos.
|©WibeKoopman Photography - Norfolk Beach|