Wednesday, August 12, 2015


They say the best time to fish is at night, when the sun doesn't chase the fish into deeper water.

In the dark of night, the fish come up close to the surface so they can look for food. That's when the fish are easier to catch.

This painting depicts just such a scene.

It was painted by Påle' Marcian Pellett, an American Capuchin missionary who was the priest of Malesso' in 1940.

He told how Jesus Cruz Barcinas, a Malesso' resident and community leader, took him and a few others with him to do night fishing.

To do this, one needed a hachón, or fishing torch. The word itself is borrowed from the Spanish. By 1940, Chamorros were using metal canisters filled with kerosene, with some rags serving as the wick.

Then, the fisherman would use a spear, or fisga, to catch the fish. That word, too, is borrowed from Spanish.

As soon as the fish was lanced, into the rice sack it went.

There are pros and cons to almost everything in life, and night fishing did pose its dangers. One could step on the wrong thing in the dark water, for example.

The amazing thing about this Malesso' fishing scene is that is was painted in Japan - not on Guam!

Påle' Marcian, being an American, was shipped off to prison camp in Japan when the Japanese occupied Guam. There, he had lots of time on his hands. Somehow he managed to get the supplies needed to paint these water colors, all from the memories he kept of his time in Malesso'.

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