«After the shipwreck I had to return to the sea out of necessity and because I have saltpeter in my blood». Jesús López. Barbate, 2017.
The sea in my childhood.
The sea has always been present in my life but the best moments were when I was a child.
My father was a very hard working person so during the week I only saw him in the afternoon-evening to play cards or watch a couple of soccer games while we ate dinner.
I remember it as if it were yesterday when, every Saturday, my father would get up early to prepare the two fishing rods that he would prepare on top of the cistern that was in the country or in San Félix 9. I also put a couple of wires in my wicker hood in case we found any «Moorish» crabs to catch. Then in the marketplace we bought shrimp from a street vendor and headed to La Caleta with our «gargajillos» on.
Even though he was more of a fisherman and I was better at catching fish, the sea was that living element which, apart from having that power, strengthened the important relationship between a father and son.
One month a year, July or August depending on my father’s work vacation, we would spend it in the fishing village of Barbate, where he and my mother were born.
I was not lucky enough to meet any of my grandparents, a fisherman and naval mechanic, but part of my family has kept up the tradition of fishing until today.
Barbate was a playground where the most fun was spent playing with my cousins between the beach of Carmen and the fishing port. The older brothers had to work and, from time to time, we went to visit and they gave us some nets so that we could catch crabs from the can l of the dock or on board one of the fishing boat that were moored.
Being a teenager, underwater fishing and canoeing were ideal ways to be close to the sea.
A decade ago, three brothers were rescued alive after being adrift for several hours along the coast of Barbate after the nacelle with which they earned their daily bread sank. The fourth crew member, one or both of them, did not survive and one of his nephews tied his body to himself so that he would not be swallowed by the sea forever.
Those brothers are my cousins, and the youngest, Jesus, was my playmate when we were children. The sea did not succeed in taking him away and despite the trauma of such a hard experience, he continues to live from the sea «out of necessity and because I have saltpeter in my blood.»
Hijos de Poseidon is a tribute to those people who live from the sea: they enjoy it, respect it, suffer from it, tell about it…; but it is also a reminder to those people who lost their lives between the winds and the tides, as if nature was trying to maintain a balance.