Capelin time is something many must feel in their bones. Maybe there’s something about the weather and the wind that tells them, yes indeed, the capelin will be here soon. And when that time arrives, for generations, people have quickly shared the news the capelin are rolling—where and when to meet. Nowadays everyone has a smartphone at hand and within a second, the word has gotten out. And like clockwork, people begin the appear at places like Point Verde beach with their rubber boots on, nets in hand, all ready to get their share of the annual bounty from the sea.
It’s a time that many can share as a common tradition, one that bound ones forebears to the sea as strongly as it does those in more modern times. Along the shore, children run and try to collect some of the capelin, all under the eye of proud grandparents who look on with a knowing smile. They can no doubt remember when they were no bigger, for the first time greeting the capelin. Our lives have changed considerably over the decades and years, yet still the capelin remain a unifying element.
Years ago, the majority of the people who call this place home were strongly tied to the sea, fathers and mothers striving to make a life from whatever could be caught in various known locales such as Cape St. Mary’s. Although, it was always a double-edged sword, that deep and penetrating love of the sea. For as everyone accepted, with little grudge, sea could both give and take. Still everyone knew in their hearts and understood, that was the deal.
Nowadays, some people remain tied to the sea, somehow making a living in the fishery. However, it is a shadow of what the fishery used to be in this once-a-country province. And perhaps, every year, as we wait expectantly for the capelin to roll, it is perhaps a poignant reminder. It is a homage paid to a time when virtually everyone’s life was firmly secured to the sea and its many riches. Like the fishery, waiting for the capelin remains today as a harmonising element for the various communities that ring the coastline.
There is something comforting about sharing an activity with our community. It’s one of those sentiments that brings us together. We know the terms, what to do and we share a love for this tiny creature who annually graces our shores.
On the day, countless people arrive for the festivities. Some only go to watch the activities while others, pail in hand, are determined to gather as many fish as they can. After all, there are always grandparents or members of their families who are now too old to participate in the rhythmic surge forward to gather the capelin and then back again as the tide recedes. All the while, people are laughing and joyously splashing, splendidly soaked.
Capelin time is an annual event that is rejoiced simply in part by its expectation. And when it arrives, amidst the splendour of the day, it somehow brings with it an assertion of the rightness of our world.