Mariners

In Sicily there are still realities that haven’t been touched by progress. They seem to be anchored to the past, with no possibility of change. Pozzallo’s fishermen are one of those. Francesco is the oldest of this community; he fell in love with the sea as a young child, when he was seven years old. He used to take the rattletrap his mother used to do the washing and adventure with it to the open sea. He used to row with the oars he made himself and went fishing for octopuses with a fork as a harpoon. When he was 10 he bought his first real boat which was 1.8 meters long. As he grew up, more and more boats would enter his life. Every boat bigger than the previous one. Up to the fishing boat and finally an oil tanker, where he worked for more than 20 years. The big boats would take him away from his family for a long time, once even longer than three years. Today Francesco is 75 but, now as then, every night at 2am he leaves the port with his little boat “Ace of clubs” to drop his fishing net in the open sea . No longer for work but to feed his passion and, as he says, to keep himself young - ”If I stop I get aches and pain!” He spends most of his time making or fixing fishing nets. Not only his own, but also his friends’ones. Because in town everybody knows Francesco is the best. He also invented particular fishing nets that are now used by most of the fishermen in the area. Nowadays the maritime tradition of the family is kept alive by his son Giuseppe (known as Pinuccio) and his sons Francesco and Marco. They meet at the pier every morning at 3am and when they leave for the sea with their fishing boats – the “Gabbiano” and “La Romanella”, they see their father that has just come back from his “cala” and is sitting on a rock on the shore. They return to the port after sunset with the boat full of fish, meticulously placed in containers. Tomorrow will be another day, the same routine, the same fishing boat, the fishing net and the long waiting before they pull it back. Actions and emotions immutable in time, although generations go by.