Each year, between November and the following February, a group of Aborigines Taiwanese migrant workers set up camp near Lanyang River in Yilan County, on the northeastern coast of Taiwan. They travel from afar to this spot in hopes of catching that season’s eel fry. For those four months, these camp sights are their homes.
Dan, a light-hearted sixty-one-year-old, is a member of the Amis tribe. Dan’s been coming to Lanyang River to catch eel fry for the past seven years. But this year it’s different, because his girlfriend forty-four-year-old Wusai will accompany him. With Wusai by Dan’s side, the makeshift campsite feels a little more like home.
But no amount of warmth from within the campsite can shield them from the harsh ocean winds, the volatile squatter environment, harassment from local gangs, or a slew of unpredictability that arise from living on unfriendly grounds.
The end of February means the end of the fry catch season. Dan returns home to Taitung County with very little yield. But Dan is a survivor, and after working at odd jobs in Taitung, Dan picks up his weary body and heavy heart, returns to Yilan for another season in the treacherous waters, in hopes of getting the catch.