With Miss Freya Stark, who writes about Barbados on another
page, I once went flying-fish-fishing off the coral shores of that island. Flying-fish, though for some reason they will only keep for a matter of hours after they have been caught, are extremely good eating. The natives go after them in heavy keel-less sailing boats which are trimmed by shifting pig-iron from one side of the well to another. Arrived at what for no discoverable reason they consider a good fishing-ground, the boatmen unstep the mast, whose shadow, sweeping the water as the boat rolls, would otherwise scare the fish away. They then suspend over the gunwale a wicker-work container full of bait, which consists of putrescent relics from yesterday's catch. This is jiggled to and fro in an enticing manner and eventually attracts the flying-fish, who swim up, sometimes in large numbers, and are scooped inboard with the aid of a sort of large lacrosse-stick. The incessant rolling of the boat, the blazing sun, the stench of rotten fish and the probability that one or more of your toes will be crushed while shifting ballast are factors which make it unlikely that this leisurely sport will attain a wide measure of popularity, and indeed we were told that no other white people had ever taken part in it. But it was quite fun.