What was Kino's profession?
Kino was a "pearler," as were other men in his village. Kino's canoe was the "one thing of value he owned in the world"; it his ownership of the small boat allowed him provide food for his family and to possess at least one item of property. Because Kino is aware of the difficulty he would have providing for his family if he did not own a boat, he treats the water craft with great tenderness and respect.
After Coyotito is stung by the scorpion and the doctor refuses to treat him without payment, Kino and his wife, Juana, are desperate to find a pearl both so that they can sell in order to hire the doctor to heal Coyotito and so that they may receive the luck they feel such a discovery generates. They paddle the canoe to the oyster bed, which is already filled with other pearlers. Kino, whose "pride and youth and strength" enabled him to remain underwater for two minutes, retrieved an extraordinary oyster, which contained
...the great pearl, perfect as the moon. It captured the light and refined it and gave it back as silver incandescense. It was as large as a sea-gull's egg. It was the greatest pearl in the world.