At the northern end of Chennai’s coast, just north of the Chennai port, where, at any given time, hundreds of trucks stretch in a long line waiting to load or unload goods, is Kasimedu fishing harbor – also known as Royapuram fishing harbor, for the town section nearby.
The harbor has a capacity of 575 fishing boats, but the space is currently used by 1,395 boats. This number includes six hundred 45-foot boats (each operated by 11 people); two hundred 30-foot boats (each operated by 4 people) and three hundred fiber boats with outboard motors (each operated by 3-4 people. Plus hundreds of catamarans. Here is a clip of the harbor from the air:
The harbor includes an auction hall visited by nearly 30,000 daily, with 200 tons of fish being sold every day. When I went to visit, a 45-day fishing ban was in effect – it runs from April 15 to Ma 29, and is designed to give the fish time to breed. So there were not many fishermen. However, the area is also home to a boat building/repair area, and when we arrived early in the morning, the men could all be seen heading to work.
Some of the boats looked like they had been there for a long time, in a state of permanent disrepair.
However, others were actively being built or refurbished, and it was clear that there is quite a bit of shipbuilding know-how here, with big fishing boats being built with relatively simple tools.
And then there was this guy, bathing his cows. You don’t see this every day. He brought his cows down to the water and was scrubbing them as they stood patiently, even down to washing their tails by hand.
Others were hard at work doing who-knows-what on their boats while the fishing ban was in place.
It was a pretty good day for pictures. Some of the photos you see above were taken with one of my favorite cameras, a Kodak Retina 1a, an early 35mm camera made from 1949 to 1954. But I also had an opportunity to test out a 1971-73 Canon FTb that I got in a box of cameras I ordered, but was missing its winding knob, had no battery, and no lens. I bought a cheap 80mm lens and you can actually get a winding knob loose, and screw it on. The light meter still doesn’t work even though I found a battery for it. But I think the pictures turned out pretty good. These are a couple of my favorites.
And finally, this one:
If you’d like to see additional pictures from Kasimedu harbor, you can check out this album on Flickr.
Also, this is a pretty good short documentary clip someone did about the actual fish market, which we didn’t see.