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Fishermen of Mexico Dinghy Boats

Mexico fishermen use coolers and tubs as dinghies PUERTO ANGEL, Mexico- I walked by an old busted up cooler filled with some junk laying next to some fishing boats on Pateon beach near Puerto Angel. The cooler had the logo of the Sol beer company on it, and I cannot say that I thought too [...]

Mexico fishermen use coolers and tubs as dinghies

PUERTO ANGEL, Mexico- I walked by an old busted up cooler filled with some junk laying next to some fishing boats on Pateon beach near Puerto Angel. The cooler had the logo of the Sol beer company on it, and I cannot say that I thought too much of it: it is normal to find such junk on just about any working beach of the world. But almost every fishing boat parked upon the beaches in this stretch of the Oaxaca Riviera were accompanied by similar objects: old coolers or tubs. At that point I could only conjecture about their use, as I had not yet observed their main function.

Boat in Mexico made from a tub

The next time I saw this Sol beer cooler its true usage was made clear: it was a boat.

That is right, a young fisherman was sitting inside of the cooler, paddling kayak style with a long stick out into the bay. Using this old beer cooler as a dinghy, he got out to his fishing boat, which was anchored around thirty meters from shore. When he got to his boat, he hoped in and drew up the cooler with him: he would carry it in the boat until needed once again to ferry himself back to shore.

Beer cooler used as boat

Apparently, once finished as devices to keep their beer cold, the fishermen of Mexico use coolers as dinghies.

They also use tubs.

Wobbling like a man on a tight rope, I watched as a fisherman maneuvered himself in wash basin from his fishing boat to shore using a long stick as an oar.

“I like your dinghy,” I called out to him when he was firmly beached.

He smiled in recognition of his rather ungraceful exit from sea.

Mexican fisherman using tub as dinghy

A tub that the fishermen in Mexico use as a dinghy

Tub used as a dinghy by fishermen in Mexico

Mexico fisherman dinghy

I am sure that these dinghies also function as places to store fish and other gear as the fishermen of the Oaxaca coast go about their work.

Filed under: Beaches, Culture and Society, Fishing, Mexico, North America

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3413 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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4 comments… add one

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  • craig | travelvice.com December 19, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Wacky

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 19, 2010, 7:10 pm

      Right on, I was taken aback by it the first time I saw it. The other people on the beach found my amusement, well, amusing haha.

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  • brandon December 19, 2010, 5:24 pm

    freaking awesome

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 19, 2010, 7:06 pm

      Yeah, it really made me chuckle. But these coolers seemed to work well as boat — will keep that in mind for my next adventure: Vagabond Wade sets sail down the Amazon in a cooler.

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