One of the best parades in Ghana is the return of the fishing boats. At 7 or 7:30 in the morning you can watch the fleet of fishing boats return from night fishing to Elmina Bay Harbor. Calling them a "fleet of fishing boats" is a bit of a stretch. They are really nothing more than dugout canoes or small boats with small motors. It still amazes me that they will take those boats out on a pitch black ocean where they will fish all night. This is especially true knowing that most locals do not swim.
The best place to observe this parade of colorful boats is from the arch bridge near the Elmina Slave Castle (see our previous blog entry). Apparently each of the boats are owned independently and the captain takes great pride in coloring his boat, naming his boat and adding an appropriate scripture on the side of the boat. The flags are beautiful.
As the boats work their way in they use their little motors and long sticks to maneuver through the maze of boats. Sometimes they need a tow from a neighbor to fit in a place to dock. Their clothes from the night of fishing are usually completely soaked and are often hanging on a clothesline to dry. There may be 6 or as many as 10 fishermen per boat. They do this 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year (there is no fishing in Ghana on Tuesday). It is their life. They are amazing.