Rasqueta, sacho, gancha, raño, angazo, fisga, rastro… are women’s weapons

Unbreakable women like Nélida, a meiga das areas, governed the seafaring families of Val Miñor.

At the end of the 1960s, Simone de Beauvoir published “”La femme rompue ” to denounce the inequalities of the couple. In these times of oppression, 1598 kilometers from Paris, a woman, with her whole body, jumped between the stones of the Atlantic with an iron hook in her hand to catch a pair of octopuses accustomed to the harsh coasts of Cape Silleiro. There was a time when unbreakable women like Nélida, the “Witch of the Sands”, ruled over the fishing families of Val Miñor with determination to lifted the barrow, harvested clams or caught sea knives in the waters of Panxon. The expression of female emancipation, so fashionable today, was embodied at that time by women wearing rain boots, a headscarf and array of equipment. There was a time in this region when, for every man who set out from the port, a woman would rush through the sand, defying the tides by dislocating her back laden with salt-soaked scrap metal. Visitor friend, these beautiful beaches also offer a face of abnegation and devotion in the cold and violent seas of winter.

The land for those who work it and the barnacle for those who carry a knife, that was the dominant idea when the sea was generous and that no one lacked anything. There were no taxes, but there were no rights either, for seafood pioneers such as Nélida

Known from the stones of Baredo to the most infinite rock of the Estelas Islands, Nélida began working when shellfish were a gift from the sea for the neighbors who made an effort to catch them. There was no need for legislation. The land for those who work it and the barnacle for those who carry a knife, that was the dominant idea when the sea was generous and that no one lacked anything. Decades and decrees later, she would continue to be as loved by the poachers as by the fishing guards.

With a chiseled face furrowed by the northeast wind, adored by her grandchildren, always in a good mood, people still remember experiences with her. Today, she would have lots of followers. Nélida taught her spells to many young people who accompanied her as in a movie adventure. Suso, a retired percebes fisherman with white skin and blue eyes says that the meiga das areas taught him, like a magician, the tricks needed to catch the most elusive shellfish. “She helped everyone, everyone loved her,” Suso recalls gratefully.

”Boy, do you want to learn how to catch an octopus? Take this pannier and come with me.”

Val Miñor was a land, sand and stone, more than a land – of pioneering women who ruled the sea and families. No fisherwomen without broken backs and knees cut by mussels or sea urchins, none who have seen chronic cut. This is how Lu remembers, a retired fisherwoman with black eyes like the depths of the sea, who worked for years in a cetárea in Morrazo, on the north side of the estuary.

One day, at the end of the 1970s, Nélida sees a small townsman near the sea and says to him: “Boy, do you want to know how to catch an octopus? Take this basket and come with me.” The boy who was not yet ten years old, took the red basket, an iron hook and ran after the plastic boots of Nélida wich nicknamed was “the witch of the sands” to live his first marine adventure. by jumping on the stones of the Atlantic Ocean.

Apartment Hostel on the banks of the Rías Baixas

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Hola! 👋 Soy Elisabeth de A Meiga das Areas
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