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Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.




Fish Expo 2018




Thursday, 19 April 2018

A feast of fishy days in Spain and Portugal.


Magazon's lighhthouse, The Punta del Picacho stands well inland providing a guiding light to the port of Huelva...



the huge sandy spit (now armoured) plays host to the typical kind of flotsam found near any fishing grounds like this small dahn...



a fish, possibly a sheepshead built to eat clams and limpets...



while a Great Skua or 'shit-harry' as they are known in Newlyn, was hounded away from a dead fish with huge scales...



that's a fifty-pence piece for scale - no sign of a 120mm minimum mesh size in these parts it seems...



a local fixed gear boat makes its way parallel to the huge rock armoured sand-spit to the marina at Mazagon...



a town which chooses to celebrate its proximity to the sea with this giant gull statue on a roundabout, maybe St Ives would like to erect something similar - maybe with a pasty in its mouth...



heading off into the big city of Huelva which boasts a brand new indoor market, the Mercado del Carmen...



featuring colour-coded stainless-steel, fish, veg and meat stalls...



with the usual wide variety of seriously tasty fayre on offer like this stall devoted to cured meats, local cheeses...



 and salt pork and fish...



next door, the stall was devoted entirely to shellfish of all sorts...



while others are devoted solely to a single fish like tuna, such as Pescades J Marquez, Mercado del carmen...



and swordfish...



the bright red loins...



cut straight from the carcass...



other stands went for a mic of fish...



with the inevitable presence of hake...



and these tiny trammel net caught 'wedge sole' or acedia (lenguadillo...



plenty of bass and bream including these gilthead variety...



breccas and sargos



and plenty of other fish not seen in Cornish waters...



unlike these much more familiar mackerel - the monger happy to split a mackerel oozing deep-red blood and roe to show just how fresh his fish are...



the range and quality of fish on sale was superb...



but the local speciality seemed to be cuttlefish - known locally as, choco...



back in Mazagin marina there were a couple of old style...



 wooden double-enders awaiting restoration...



while further along the coast the only fishermen in the Parque National sported two very skinny legs and a long beak...



in at El Rocio, a town that boasted a huge church that hosts Spain's biggest religious pilgrimage during September every year when a round one million people flock to the town...



and streets straight out of an old Western movie...



heading into Huelva a huge statue to the man we have to thank? for 'discovering' the USA...



and the giant Cristobal Colon power station...



drive across the Rio Tintoa and out through Huelva over the river Odiel to Punta Umbria...



which boasts some seriously big palm trees...


and an equally big market...



and maritime centre with its divine symbolism...



and striking logo...



one of the local restaurants...



seems to have made Captain Haddock their patron...



the port itself has received a good chunk of EU funding it seems...



though local fishermen are making noises in protest...



and have adorned many of the walls with their slogans,,,



encouraging people to 'squeak', well, that was the literal translation for 'chirla' so we can only assume it means honk your horn in support when passing...



every fishing port has one, the local ice works...



which supplies the necessary to the sardine fleet...



working similar gear...



and nets to the Cornish sardine fleet at home...



though this is a novel idea to maximise deck space...



every boat's gear on the shore has an ID tag...



two older sardine boats...



show a familiar kind of leaded footrope...



and deck arrangement...



all of the fleet carrying a huge amount of floodlights no doubt easily seen by the ISS when it passes overhead at night...



other boats boasted very flimsy dahns...



and a strange collection of that all-too-familiar sign if ink stain only too familiar to the beam trawl fleet at home...



earthenware ports...



which on closer inspection...



reveal each has a small hole in the base...



some of the boats...



appear to have invested in plastic cuttlefish pots...



but the hauler is the same...



new pots...



for old...



other boats in the fleet...



are rigged for shallow water shellfishing...



with some working one or two of these tiny trawls...



all of the boats have a river mooring and a punt at hand...



trawling seems to be fairly uncommon...



and, on a day when few boats were at sea this was the only big boat, and a trawler to boot, on the move...



every fishing port has its Swordfish of course...



the local supermarket...



has a selection of frozen...



and fresh fish...



and shellfish on sale...



with some very tender looking squid...



and the inevitable choco...



along with whitebait of some sort...



hake...



mackerel...



and scad at twice the price of the mackerel, no accounting for taste...



unless they know way of cooking it that we don't



bass a-plenty...



eating at a local restaurant a small group of locals were fishing with nets for clams in the heavy surf...



not far from the ports of Huelva and Punta Umbria the biggest city in the region Seville despite its size is home to some traditional outlets in which to eat and drink...



such as the totally authentic Bodega San Jose...



the kind of place that harks back to a time when the world was a simpler place devoid of overt regulations, there is no electronic-touch-pad-till, instead they record 'la quenta' for each table in pen in simple columns on an A4 pad...



little has changed since this local artists sketch was given to the then landlord...



who may well have been the husband of mum. who at the age of you can only guess, not only still works the bar with what appears to be her sons and maybe even grandson also cooks...



 some of her favourite tapas dishes...



just down the road are the 13th Century Reales Ataranas linking the city...


via the river Guadalquivir  to the sea over 65 miles away...



travelling west and into the Algarve the indoor market at the old fishing port of Tavira in Portugal...


like many places is adorned by an eclectic mix of religious and other artefacts...


even on the fish counters that sell fish taken straight from the local fleet...


of inshore boats...


with their characteristic swept bows...


transom sterns with towed clam gear...


both Spain and Portugal seem to attract graffiti artists who take delight in siting their work in the most dangerous or difficult places, if it not the sides of an underpass on a motorway it's the support columns of a river bridge...


a familiar sorting table for shellfish...


and nets stored up for'ard...


a style of hull from another era...



and something more contemporary...


giving enough space for the big sardine nets...


while up for'ard, insulated tubs give away the kind of fishing the boats prosecute...


no more than two dredges for the clam boats it seems...


all round the port many of the properties are faced with ceramic tiles harking back to their Moorish origins...


while the first bridge over the river promises to lock in good luck to anyone who takes the trouble to close the hasp...


those familiar inky stains tell their own story...


looks like cuttlefish are on the menu for the local fleet...



so retiring to the covered market tapas bar it's time for a snack of starters which included cured slices of tuna...



grilled sardines, all six of them...



scallops...


and the most tender and tasty octopus you could imagine - viva Espana and Portugal!

We will be back!