After preparing and reading for over a year, I finally was able to touch the grand Magdalena river of Colombia for the first time together with Juliana. We visited the fisher town of Honda for the annual upstream move of thousands of fish (la subienda de peces) between January and March. In the middle-stream, the Magdalena is also called Yuma. The town and river banks were packed with fishermen, fisherwomen, fish, birds, sellers and buyers. The fish move upstream after a growing period in the Ciénegas of the Bajo Magdalena. The open connection between the Ciénegas and the main Magdalena river is therefore important to sustain a variety of livelihoods. We see fishermen catching fish and fisherwomen cleaning fish. According to fisherwomen Cecilia, the tastiest fish is the Nicuro, but the most famous one is the Bocachico. Not everyone can just come and fish, there are specific places on the riverbank where families come for years and are historically claimed as their fish spots. The fisher organization has been putting in requests to the town mayor for better night lights so they can also fish comfortably at the night, but until now this request is not met. A great first encounter with a magnificent river!
By Lotte de Jong and Juliana Forigua