Mariners | Sicily

In Sicily there are still realities that haven’t been touched at all by progress. They seem to be anchored in the past, with no option for change. Pozzallo fishermen is one of those. Francesco is the oldest of this community and 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 an harpoon. When he was 10 he bought his first real boat which was 1.8 meters long. As he was growing 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 long time, once even longer than three years. These days 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 next. Not only his owns, but also his friend ones. Because in town everybody know 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 the sons of him 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 in the shore. They reenter 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 the time, although generations go by.