On the island, springtime is when each islander gets his kaic, batela, gajeta, pasara or any other type of traditional subsistence fishing boat out of the water for skver or annual boat maintenance. Boat maintenance on the island is a man’s job. The boat is taken out of the water. At the minimum, it is pressure-washed, sanded, and anti-fouled. It may also receive any of the number of standard items on the boat maintenance list, including patching up worn parts of fiberglass or replacing wooden planks eaten away by salt and moisture.
A relative has graciously allowed us the use of his kaic whenever we feel we want to and we have wanted to use it numerous times since we moved to the island last August. The 4-meter little boat took us across the bay to a small island adorned by pine trees and flushed by amazing, green-blue water. The island is a perfect place for a swim, especially when, for our taste, the village gets too crowded with both local and tourist swimmers and sunbathers. It is also a great destination for picking wild asparagus, a favorite springtime green. The little boat took us fishing too. With a lot of enthusiasm, my son, our puppy, and I munched on popcorn and searched the dark sea now lit by feral, a light mounted on the bow of the boat, for fish and mollusks. My husband rowed the boat with osti, a three-pronged spear used for traditional fishing in this part of the world, at the ready. We didn’t catch anything but that doesn’t mean the adventure was any less enjoyable.
To give back to the little boat and its owner, we take it out for skver. It is a perfect spring day for it. Since I don’t hold truck with the traditional separation of man and woman’s jobs on the island, I join my husband in painting the anti-fouling onto the little boat’s hull under the waterline. Boat maintenance has always been something we did together and it is one of my favorite activities. I am excited that our son too shares the enthusiasm. We paint as the Sun sets behind the hill and then head home to a dinner of wild, freshly picked asparagus omelette. A perfect day with a perfect ending. Island style.