Salmon Sand Sea

October 16th, 2017

Our first stop after the crossing to the USA is a sleepy village on the coast of Washington. La Push is part of the "Native Reserve" of the "Quileute Tribe", which settled here a thousand years ago. At the beginning of October the main season is over at the resort, where we find a place for our van to spend the night. In the summer, Twilight fans are apparently looking for Jacob here. But there are still some visitors. Most of them are here with their long detached houses on wheels next to big campfires.

We came here more by chance than that. As soon as possible to the coast was the motto. The beach is flooded with driftwood, which can grow up to a sequoia tree. The sun sets behind the islands rising out of the roaring sea and surrounded by fir trees. Fantastic.

On the second day we walk through the extinct village to see what else is available in La Push besides the big resort. Abandoned and dilapidated houses as well as rusty car-fraks indicate that there is not much left here except for summer tourism.

Surprisingly, we meet some fishermen in the small harbour, dismantling a dozen Pacific salmon the size of their thighs. When asked how far out in the sea the salmon were caught, the men laughingly explain to us that just around the corner at the mouth of the river we would be able to watch the fishermen pull the fish out of the water. This is more interesting than here where the animals are already dead on the fillet table. His brother is just outside, the one says, while he cuts the salmon's head off with a skilful cut between his fingers.

At this time of year, salmon migrate from the sea to their breeding grounds, where they die of exhaustion. The ideal time for fishermen to make a profit. Not with fishing rod and bait. Various small boats are scattered in the water near the estuary in the sea at a distance to the shore. On each of them there is a proud fisherman, most of them "natives". Each boat is surrounded by a row of white buoys. And suddenly it flounders in the water. Along the net, the angler pulls himself to the given spot, fetches the fish into the boat and frees it from the net, while at another point in the water it wobbles again and the whole game starts all over again. At the same time, it is also a cat and mouse game with a seal that swims around the net and doesn't want to miss the easy prey. After a while, the fishermen brought so many salmon into the boat that we can no longer count them.

In the evening, one by one, they return to the port to have their daily hive taken away in large blue containers by a forklift truck. Proceeds are given per pound and one of the fish to take home for your own family. It was a moderately good day, says the one fisherman - only about 60-70 fish he pulled out.

We leave La Push with mixed feelings. Wonderful beach but freezing cold nights. An interesting culture and history of the natives, which is getting more and more forgotten and lost and becomes an attraction for tourists. The king of the fish caught once probably captured to cover the personal needs of the "Natives", today's main export product.