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Diamonds And Dust: 40 - Dynamite Fishing - Part 2

How much dynamite does it take to catch a fish?

Malcolm Bertoni continues his richly detailed account of life in a Namibian diamond mining camp.

To read earlier chapters of Malcolm's story visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/diamonds_and_dust/

To obtain a copy of his book click on http://www.equilibriumbooks.com/diamonds.htm

This story was told to me by J_ only recently and I wasn’t aware that he had done a similar thing as us, but only with much more drastic and much more hilarious results.

Evidently J_, who was plant sup at No 1 plant, and a blaster (we’ll call him X) also decided to have a go at getting some fish using dynamite. I think this all happened after Bruce W_ left. They had seen the fish in the dam and how big they were. According to J_, they were mullet and good eating as we had found out previously.

So J_ and this guy go up to the dam and check it out. While X goes to get some dynamite, detonators, Cordtex, etc, J_ gets the dinghy ready. X comes back and prepares one stick, ties it to a brick and they row out and drop it near the middle somewhere.

There is a muffled explosion, but nothing happens. No fish. So X gets two sticks and they proceed to drop this. Another muffled boom and once again nothing much happens. No fish.

Perhaps the dam is fuller than when we did our dynamite fishing. Perhaps the dynamite is not as powerful as previous batches. Maybe CDM are being sold half-strength dud dynamite. Perhaps the fish are tougher. Who knows?

So X uses four sticks of dynamite and there is a pleasant boom with an eruption of water a metre high. They row out to collect the tonnes of fish that must be floating on the surface.

By the time they get there, the few fish that had been floating are already recovering from the explosion and swimming happily around.

X is now seriously annoyed. He’ll show these fish who is boss. So he gets seven sticks of dynamite ready and they drop it into the water and wait expectantly.

There’s a massive explosion and the water erupts into a towering column of muddy water. The entire dam shudders from the blast. The haul road, which is 60 or 70 metres away, is covered in water, fish and mud from the dam. It’s raining fish. J_ and X are drenched and covered in mud, with fish flapping all around them. They collect some fish and get the hell out of there.

J_ told me that the dam was never the same after that and that it leaked continuously no matter how they tried to repair it. Seven sticks of dynamite sounds like a bit of an overkill if you ask me.


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