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Good Morning Fishing in Las Penitas, Nicaragua

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

The peace is broken by the arrival of a fishing boat. It motors up to the estuary shoreline, two men throw two anchors. Immediately, a crowd of locals gather.

Men in rolled up jeans and soggy shirts begin to throw rays as large as themselves onto the beach. The slap of dead fish landing on sand fills the air. A few women sharpen their knives on rocks and slice the ray meat from their skulls.

Locals, children, hotel staff, tourists, dogs and cultures alike watch.

As more fish are carried to the shore, the water begins to turn to

red. Rays are lifted by their eyeholes and slapped against the water. Guts are hurled back into the depths. One fisherman scoops bowls full of blood out of his boat.

And as quickly as it began it ends.

The good meat is bundled into buckets or back into the boat to be taken off for sale. Grannies take leftovers or smaller fish for themselves. The vultures swoop to grab the fish guts. Women nag their children to come along and threaten to leave them behind. Soon, the area is clear and the water fades back to blue.

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