Friday, September 18, 2009

Sail-fish

Abe V Rotor

The sail-fish belongs to Genus Istiophorus, a relative of the swordfish. Sometimes it is mistaken as one, were it not for its expanded dorsal fin. It is vulnerable to commercial fishing, and toxicity from the accumulation of poison through the food chain, and it is sad to think that this beautiful creature would just become part of fairytale to the succeeding generations.

Sail-fish caught off the coast of Agoo, La Union. I took this
photo by chance on a moving vehicle, circa 2000.


Closeup of stuffed sail-fish. The enormous dorsal fin
opens like fan as the fish glides and steers over waves and
through wind. Its caudal fin forked almost 45 degrees
is an efficient rudder, while its elongated lateral fins
function both as balancer and oar.

Sail-fish hangs in a guestroom inTagaytay, Batangas

It's a beautiful sight this sail-fish makes as it glides on the blue sea, creating kaleidoscope colors like sprays of rainbow against the glistening crests on a clear morning or late afternoon.

Just as how fast it rose from the depth, hanging for a while on its sail, riding and slicing the waves, it sinks back taking with it a prize - an unwary fish prey - by a pair of sharp elongated beaks.

Fisherfolks tell stories around a bonfire, and I remember how sea creatures glow in the dark which we now understand as phosphorescence - the emission of phosphorous and other illuminating substances by fishes or by certain microorganisms that live in symbiosis with them. The sail-fish momentarily joins these nocturnal creatures, to the thrill and awe of night fishermen waiting for their big fish like Santiago, the old fisherman in Ernest Hemingway's novel, The Old Man and the Sea.

As a hobbyist, I have had the privilege sitting on a dimly lighted boat in the middle of the sea. Perhaps there is no other place where man is completely filled with wonder and respect and humility, but the sea. And if this were to lead man to renounce his destructive ways, there is hope to save the sail-fish - so with other threatened species. ~ ~

Living with Nature 3, AVR

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