Mazatlan fishermen (Photo: Michael Day)

(Published by The West Australian on 7 October 2010)

In the mid-morning, a Mexican fisherman was coming home from a night working his lines.

An old outboard motor pushed his painted wooden dinghy through the glassy blue.

On the beach near the centre of the town of Mazatlan, leathery skinned men carried wooden rollers down to the water’s edge and waited for their mate to draw near.

The fisherman cut off the motor and rode a gentle ripple on to the first roller. Then it was all hands on deck. They pushed the fish-laden boat forward on to all three rollers and propelled it up the beach.

Soon the boat was safely at rest in the soft, dry sand. Nestled nearby were Charito and another boat called Gonzalito. Further along were Martha II and Cesar.

The fisherman joined others in their daily task of scaling and gutting their catch. One man whistled, then threw some fish innards high into the sky. A giant bi-tailed seabird heard the call and swept in for breakfast. Grey-brown pelicans grumped around and gobbled up spare offal.

Then the fishermen gathered around a boat which had a plank forming a table across its gunnels. The men played dominos, gambling on every throw, and they laughed and shouted in the sun.