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ITALIA - SLOVENIA   Part 2/4 - Creatures of the lagoon
Gommone Laguna Club Venezia - 21st Raid, Venezia-Pirano
 



Solitary, remote and simple thatched houses, rowing boats and traditional nets can be seen along the riverbanks of this vast deltaland. The rivers, canals and lagoons of the northwest Adriatic are the lifeblood to those who live as subsistence fishermen. Our modern rigid inflatable boats, in bright contrast to the fisherboats, looked incongruous as we stepped ashore for a traditional lagoon meal, sheltered inside an authentic rustic village hut.

Even after our short cruise through the cold, damp mists we eagerly ate a muddy soup filled with different looking seafoods (one dared not ask what it was made from,  although it was very tasty)
followed by sardines toasted on an open fire. Starkly I observed that we were just a few hours away from cosmopolitan Venice where, no doubt, some were enjoying 'a la carte' haute cuisine, while others here existed solely by eating creatures of the lagoon.

Molluscs, worms, crabs and fish abound in the murky, muddy waters of these lagoons along with huge gatherings of herons, cormorants and other avian predators who are the natural competitors to the men who live by this sea. Man, always novel in his survival, brought us the sight of enormous nets which are laid across the canals to catch crabs, as testimony to his ingenuity.

Warmed by the fishermen's fire and slightly light-headed by the cold red wine we continued north easterly through the canal network towards Grado. The delta mud deposits change little with the tide, tidal ranges of less than 1/2 metre, but far greater by the flowing waters from the foothills of the Alps.

Deep watermarks guide craft through the maze of channels but can't be relied upon, as delta silt deposits as Mother Nature decides. Nearing Grado and a colour change in the water around us as we left the deltas and moved nearer to the sea. It was fascinating to arrive at the town of Grado in twilight, with its mainstreet an illuminated waterway leading to the town square and inner harbour. Fishing boats 'parked' outside apartment blocks, no different to cars in the cities that we had left behind.