Chasing fish

This man set out a short net between the pole and his boat and then proceeded to swim and splash in a circle around the pole. It took a while for us to realize that he was chasing fish into the net. He was there a while, so I can’t vouch for the efficiency of the method.

Sunset the evening before was also quite nice.

Cuttlefish harvest

We took an after-dinner stroll down to the water in Kochi and found fishermen unloading their boats.

They were offloading big baskets of cuttlefish. After weighing their catch, they stopped at the big boss who tallied receipts and recorded everything in his record book. Cash was occasionally disbursed.

Cuttlefish are by far my favourite marine creature. They’re just awesome. I’ve only managed to spot a couple while diving, probably because they have such amazing camouflage. They can change colours insanely fast, have muscles that change the texture of their skin to mimic the texture of whatever surface they’re on, have 180-degree vision, have ballast tanks like a submarine, and occasionally pulsate crazy colours like in this video. Oh yeah, and they have green blood because they use copper to transport oxygen instead of iron.

Given how few cuttlefish I’ve seen while diving, I was surprised by the size and volume of catch that these small boats were returning with. I have to admit, this made me a little sad.

Chinese fishing nets in Kochi, Kerala

The shoreline of Kochi is full of giant cantilevered fishing nets that are referred to locally as Chinese nets. At sunset, the operators started to arrive to put them to use. They’re large contraptions that are dipped into the water and pulled out a short while later. The process is repeated many times over the course of the evening. With all the nets, I’m not sure how there are any fish left in the bay.

On this particular net, a bright light hangs over top of the submerged net to help attract fish.

The weight of the net is offset by rocks tied on various lengths of rope from the arm of the lever. It looked pretty easy to get the net up and down as the weights provided near perfect balance.

Birds started to accumulate, waiting to pick small creatures off the net as it came out of the water.

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas!

This was painted on the side of a building in Kochi, Kerala.


Umbrellas were strung up to provide some much needed shade in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Sources of Traffic Jams #243: Cows

Contrary to popular belief, cows don’t roam freely in Mumbai. Rather they are tied up on the side of road outside my apartment so that people on their way to work can feed them balls of rice or handfuls of grass purchased from the cows’ caretakers.

Inside the Taj Palace Hotel

I’ve probably walked 100 times up the first story of the red staircase inside the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai. It wasn’t until I was looking down that I realized how spectacular the building actually is from the inside.

Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai’s Laundromat

Sacs of clothing come in all directions to Dhobi Ghat. They’re tied together in old saris, coded by the household from which they originated.

Scrubbing happens on the sides of giant cement tubs.

There are a few electric washing machines to be found, but the most common washing method is to simply beat the garment against a cement block.

A santa suit was a source of entertainment.

A lot of new garments are laundered at Dhobi Ghat. Below, kids play in the shade underneath hundreds of new pink shirts.

Hundreds of cement tubs fill the neighbourhood, each with a slab for beating clothes clean.

Another corner of Dhobi Ghat is home to hundreds of irons. Electric irons are still in the minority. Most of the irons hold hot coals.

Being a large community, life goes on throughout the neighbourhood, like this gentleman getting a shave.

Mumbai’s Sassoon Docks

The Sassoon Docks are a good old fashioned fishing wharf in Mumbai. Boats tie up against the wall and catch is offloaded by baskets up to the pier.

Parking is a little crazy. The approved technique seems to be to ram the boat at the entrance to the harbour and push your way in.

Changing a lightbulb

The light changing team was amused and confused by my desire for a photo. I just liked the colours and the lines.

The pigeon feeding area

Just outside of our apartment complex in Mumbai is a stretch of sidewalk listed in Google maps as “Pigeon Feeding Area.” What they mean is “large cement pit, covered in excrement, overrun by by pigeons and rats.” Everything in the neighbourhood is covered in pigeon crap, except for the guy under the giant umbrella who sells feed to passerbys needing whatever little karma boost can be obtained from supporting the production of toxic poop.