Early morning, pre-dawn. The corona of the sun is revealing itself, a halo on the horizon, rendering the canvas of sea radiant. A fisherman sits by a window in a small diner down by the pier, observing the spectacle with admiration. He is the only patron in the joint. In the harbor, the masts of many moored fishing vessels rise from the docks.
The door jingles open. A middle-aged man saunters in. He’s wearing new waders, shiny boots. Receding hair is slicked back. He takes a seat at the counter. Talks loudly to nobody in particular, making proclamations about the sensational weather.
The food arrives. Not wanting to eat alone, he grabs his plate, his mug and walks over to the only occupied table.
“Mind some company?” he asks with a wide grin.
The seated man looks up and nods. “Please.”
“You’re also a fisher I gather?”
“That’s right. Been fishing these waters for nearly thirty years.”
“Thirty years! That’s remarkable! You must be quite successful to maintain your business for such a long time.”
“I get by.” The fisherman responded modestly, then asked. “You’re new to the area?”
“I am. My fleet’s expanding down the coast line. In fact, we just launched our newest vessel two weeks ago.” He nods out the window and points to the largest boat in the harbor. It’s gleaming, state-of-the art. Crew members are tending to it, prepping it for another journey. The Bountiful Mermaid. Its owner smiles broadly.
“It certainly is a beautiful ship. You must be doing very well for yourself.”
“I’ve been fortunate. At this point we’re supplying three-quarters of the eastern seaboard! It’s a tough business.” grinning, “There are a lot of sharks out there.”
In between mouthfuls of pancake he asks, “So which baby is yours?”
The meek fisher points with the prongs of his fork in the direction of his boat.
“Oh your captaining Amber Waves’ eh? I was admiring her yesterday, fine vessel!”
A shaking of the head. “No, no, not Amber Waves, the one just beyond that.”
He’s referring to an old, immaculately maintained fishing boat, hardly twenty feet long.
“I call her the HaTuna Matata.”
The man across the table couldn’t feign his surprise. “You’ve been fishing for thirty years, in these seas, on that?! But… But how do you manage? How do you survive?”
“I manage to make just enough to make a modest living; to feed my family, to own a small home. For me, that is adequate. It is enough to get by.”
“Get by? With your knowledge of the sea and thirty years’ experience you could be the Big Kahuna down here! Why you could be making millions! You come work for me, name your price. Together, we can dominate the industry!”
“Sorry. Not for me.” the fisherman persists. “I like my life the way it is."
“But, don’t you understand? This is a chance to get rich quick! Think of what that means. You could move into a bigger house, buy anything you want. And you could easily retire years early. Just think. You could spend the rest of your days out on the water, fishing!”