- Posted April 11, 2013 by
Polhena Beach, Sri Lanka
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Travel photo of the day
The Stilt Fishermen of Sri Lanka
- alexislai, CNN iReport producer
I had read about the famed stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka before we even arrived into the country. I was hoping to see them and one morning, while we were swimming in the waters off Polhena Beach, we spotted the telltale stilts. We returned to the same spot at sunset and met up with a group of young men sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking the water. They told us that they were waiting for the sun to drop over the horizon before going out onto the stilts. We decided to patiently wait along with them. Surprisingly, we didn't have to wait long. About 15 minutes later, they moved over to another section of the rocky outcrop, and then one by one began to wade into the water and climb up the stilts. My brother had tried to do the same thing earlier in the morning but climbing up the stilts is not as easy as it looks - it takes quite a bit of upper body strength to pull yourself up onto the crossbar and then balance yourself so you can sit comfortably. Apparently, the men can sit on the crossbar for hours!
The fishermen weren't that far off shore from us so we had a great view of them from where we were sitting. It was fascinating watching them climb up the poles, position themselves so they could sit comfortable and then toss out their line. Through my camera lens, I could see them occasionally hauling in a catch. A quick flick of the wrist and the small sardine was torn off the line and tossed into the bag.
We stayed to watch them until it got dark enough that we could barely make them out.