As rough seas continued to batter this country’s coastlines yesterday, fishermen in Maracas and Las Cuevas were unable to go out to sea and instead spent the day repairing their fishing vessels.
A Guardian Media team visited the North Coast yesterday and spoke to several fishermen who said although they heeded warnings to secure their vessels on Monday, several boats were badly damaged.
Fisherman and mechanic Patrick Bharat recounted Monday’s events, saying, “When the waves started to come in big, a few boats that were anchored not so deep, they sky up with the waves and capsize, we had to get swimmers to go and pull them in, turn them over and get them to safety.”
Bharat said another boat floated into the nearby river and its hull was punctured. Several fishing nets were washed out of boats and damaged as well.
One of the damaged engines was brought to Bharat’s shop and he said it would cost an estimated $2,000 to repair.
But Bharat said the fishermen in the community were accustomed to pulling together in times of distress, so all the other boats escaped damage because they were properly secured.
Another fisherman, who asked not to be identified, said while he was fearful for his life and his equipment, if the rough seas continue into the weekend as forecast, he would be forced to risk his life to ensure his family is fed.
“If it stays like this, I going out by Thursday night because my family have to eat, my children have to go to school, I can’t afford to stay home and I now buy that boat so instalment have to pay,” he said.
Saying his fellow fishermen are facing the same “pressures”, the man said he expects others will also brave the battering waves as they cannot wait for the seas to calm.
At the nearby Maracas Beach, although beach-goers were not plentiful, several people could still be seen frolicking as the high waves crashed into them.
One enterprising group also tried surfing the large swells, though without much success.
And while lifeguards in their towers kept a close eye out, Lifeguard Patrol Captain Carl Hernandez issued a warning to the public to stay away from the water.
Hernandez said on Monday the beach was overpopulated and a 12-year-old boy was swept away from the shore about 300 metres into the ocean by a large wave.
Luckily, three lifeguards were able to rescue the child and bring him to shore.
“When the sea rough like this and somebody put themselves at risk, they actually putting the lifeguard at risk too,” Hernandez said. “I cannot tell the bathing public not to come on the beach because sometimes people just want to come out from home but what I could advise them is try their best with their kids not to even let them go into the water.”