This past weekend I spent my nights Palolo fishing. Palolo is a worm that only comes once a year sometime in October. It hatches according to the moon’s schedule. I think it’s 7-8 days after the first full moon in October or something like that. Either way, what happens is around midnight you go about 2-3 miles into the national park and sit on the shore of the ocean. Around 12:30 two brave souls wander into the water with a flashlight and net. They start shining the flashlight and using the net to try to catch Palolo. The first night, they go in just to see if the Palolo has arrived yet. Friday night there wasn’t any Palolo, so we made a trip for pretty much no reason, but there was something wonderful about sitting on the beach after midnight, listening to the waves roll in and not being able to see even 6 inches in front of you.
The following night (Saturday), we left around the same time and got to the ocean. There were a lot of people there, almost like a beach party. People brought their families, snacks, and flashlights. The Dad’s were in the water looking for Palolo, the Mom’s were on the beach guarding the snacks, and the kids were running up and down the beach playing. Around 1 in the morning, I heard about 3 different men yell, “PALOLO!!!!!” As soon as I heard that, the kids stopped playing and the Mom’s jumped into action grabbing the nets and coolers. The kids became efficient helpers, running back and forth between their fathers in the water and their mothers on the beach. They were in charge of carrying buckets of Palolo back and forth. It was insane. I was in the water with a net, about shoulder deep in the water trying to catch as many swimming worms as I could find. They were everywhere. You could see the excitement in everyone’s eyes. I was excited for them, but at the same time I really had no idea what to expect. After about 3ish hours of fishing, we went home. I was safely tucked in my own bed at 4am, realizing I had to be awake in 3 hours for church. Sunday morning church was exhausting and everyone looked like they rather would have been sleeping.
Sunday night we were at it again. Same old routine, going out to the middle of no where to hop in the ocean for hours on end to catch worms. Seems kind of crazy when I write it down. Around 2:30, I got cold so I came and sat on the beach with Neta. It was the first time since the first night that I actually took the time to watch the others. Here was my adopted family all working together to catch worms. But they were working together, every single one of them. A couple were holding lights, a few were holding nets, and one was running back and forth to deliver the Palolo to Neta who would pick through it to weed out garbage. It was amazing. They were fishing by moon light… but not just them, the entire village was there. The sense of camaraderie was truly amazing. It made me realize how much I will miss these people come less than 8 months from now.
Anyways, if you want to look up what Palolo is, check it out on Wikipedia. I tried some and I really didn’t like the taste. Here is a picture of me and Madelyn around 3 in the morning after I just got out of the ocean. Until next time.