Our 2022 season is all about L’encesa, an ancient fishing art from the area of our Marina Alta. We pay tribute to all those encesers who risked their lives every winter night with  the Enceser story. Today chapter 7: Pirates

“Although none of the encesers, or fishermen, in my circle knew anyone who had been attacked, there were pirates in the area and they would often steal the L’encesa night hauls.

Being very guarded as I am, I had already incorporated several security measures into my routine. I wouldn’t take the fish we preserved in salt home, but would store them in the fishery’s small hold. I only used the light when actually catching fish; the rest of the time the moon provided the light. Also, the fishing nights were not always the same days of the week.

These measures worked well until that Saturday night when the sky was low. I was already gathering up the catch and equipment to head home, and started to hear water surges. It seemed odd at the beginning because the water had been completely calm all night, but I thought it must be some big fish eating from a bank. Suddenly the sound got louder and I heard two strikes of a wooden paddle. Then, a harpoon with a long wooden handle shot down my tool holder and a man of medium height with a thick beard appeared in my fishery.

“The basket, now”, he said, pointing his harpoon at my stomach. For two seconds I didn’t really know what was happening, but I looked down and saw another male figure on a small wooden boat and immediately knew they were pirates. “Come on, give me the basket”, he repeated nervously. I slowly dropped the basket from my shoulder, praying he hadn’t seen the salted fish stored in the hold, and gave it to him. He quickly picked it up and jumped back onto the boat. A couple of orders to his colleague and they disappeared amidst the rocks.

I needed to sit down on a stone for almost half an hour to take in everything that had just happened to me. I stood up, fixed the broken part of the tool holder and ascended using the rope to return home.”