Li Du harvested more than 20 large abalones a day.
It wasn't many, but he wasn't in the area where the abalone was abundant, and he had to hold his breath and pick up the abalone again and again. It wasn't like looking for a gem in a national park, where you only needed to bend down and pick it up.
Often it took him more than ten minutes to harvest a black gold abalone.
Under the water, it was cold and the current was strong, so Li Du had to rest for half an hour after diving, drinking hot cocoa and basking in the sun.
However, he was already doing his job more efficiently compared to others. By putting the abalones in a freezer by late afternoon, they were ready to go and sell in the market the next morning.
Melbourne had a seafood market with a collection booth for black gold abalone.
However, the next morning, Li Du learned from the thief that local abalone fishermen would not sell the stuff in Melbourne, and would go instead to Tasmania, across the water.
Tasmania was the only island state, including the main island of Tasmania and Bruny Island, King Island, Flinders Island, Macquarie Island, and many coastal islands. They were the so-called Natural State, also known as the Apple Isle, the Holiday Isle, or even the Australian version of New Zealand.
The main island, Tasmania, was located 240 kilometers south of Melbourne. The Bass Strait was located in the middle. The abalone trade market was not located on the main island, but was on the Gold Island in the middle of the Bass Strait, about 140 kilometers from Melbourne.
This state was one of the most beautiful in Australia with its rolling mountains, green pastures, lush virgin forests, and unspoiled white beaches.
Tasmania's wildlife reserve, which accounted for about 20 percent of the state, was fresh in air, sweet in water, and fertile in land, producing some of Australia's finest fresh fruits, vegetables, and grape wines.
Li Du had known of this beautiful mystical island for a long time. However, he had no chance to set foot on it. This time his destination was King Island.
There was a link between the island and black gold abalone. This was the first place to produce abalone and was still the biggest producer of abalone, including black gold abalone.
The island had the largest abalone market in the southern hemisphere, which also had seafood for sale. However, the largest market was abalone, which was where the world's top hotels purchased abalone.
In this case, it was easy to see why abalone at the King Island seafood market could sell for a higher price than it did elsewhere. There were no double-dealers, just customers and fishermen who traded face to face.
After a night's rest, they took the express steamship to the island early the next morning. They traveled for more than three hours, covering 140 kilometers.
However, Li Du did not have much experience on the sea, so he did not find the journey boring. He reclined on the side of the ship and watched the vast, undulating sea.
Ah Ow was fascinated by the sea, too. She leaned over the rail and looked down with him. The ferry sailed fast, and the wind was strong. Ah Ow opened her mouth and started howling.
Some people thought she was a dog and thought it was funny, so they came to play with her.
During the three-hour sail, there was always someone talking to Li Du. Many of the people lived on King Island, and they told him about some of their experiences living there.
First of all, it was not the same as the mainland area of Australia. The security on the island was relatively poor.
Second, the last people on shore to be provoked were not the local rascals, but the sailors. Sailors often went ashore to make repairs, and they would soon continue back out to sea. If someone was robbed by sailors, it would be difficult to track them down.
The conclusion was that sailors were more unscrupulous than rascals on the island.
There were plenty of helicopter destinations on the island where you could pay to take a helicopter tour around the island to see the ocean and the island in a different way.
With these experiences shared, Li Du and his men finally set foot on the island's harbor.
That day happened to be a Sunday. There were few residents on the island, but the economy was mainly dependent on tourism. Thus, it would be a little more crowded than usual on weekends. The shops and supermarkets were all open by early in the morning, and there were many vendors pushing their stalls on the road.
The island's infrastructure was modest, and it was totally different from Melbourne's.
There were only two streets at the center of the island. They intersected like a cross and divided the island into four parts.
As soon as Li Du left the harbor, someone came up to him and asked, "Sir, do you need traditional Tasmanian handicrafts? My family is of Tasmanian descent. It's an authentic indigenous handicraft."
The Tasmanians were native to Tasmania by name, but they died out in the middle of the 19th century after white European settlers came to Australia to persecute them.
The young man selling the art was lying, but the wood and stone works he sold were good, so Li Du looked at them and chose a very beautiful shell carving.
Shell carvings were works of art carved out of shells. The colorful and shiny shell carvings he chose were from the shell of a rare black gold abalone.
From this shell carving, it could be seen how beautiful the black gold abalone shell was. It deserved the nickname of the "underwater rainbow."
Upon seeing that he had chosen this work of art, the young man said, "You have very good taste, sir. This is a very rare black gold abalone shell carving. It is only 500 AUD."
The price surprised Li Du. Five hundred Australian dollars? It was too expensive.
An ordinary black gold abalone was 500 Australian dollars. The ones with good color and good quality could sell for 1000 Australian dollars, but the most valuable part of the black gold abalone was its meat. The shell was worth only dozens of dollars at most. As a result, it was simply polished and sold for 500 AUD, which Li Du could not accept.
He shook his head and refused, but the young man was displeased. "Sir, this kind of shell carving is part of the beliefs of us locals. Since you don't want to buy it, you can't touch it. If you have touched it, you need to buy it."
Li Du was entertained when he heard this. Was the guy planning to force him to buy it? Using the word "beliefs" to deceive people, was the person thinking he was a coward and had never seen the world?
However, he did not want to have a conflict with the young man, so he beckoned to several people behind him and told him, "These are all my bodyguards. They only earn 500 dollars a month. What if I trade one of my men for your shell?"
Looking up at the tall and fit Godzilla and Big Quinn, the young man left in disgrace. The young man was good at bullying and being a rascal, but not at butting heads.
This had happened as soon as they had left the harbor, so Li Du was more cautious. The security of this island was worse than poor.