November 17, 18
Yesterday was our day to explore the town. We had planned to combine it with reprovisioning, but the captain reminded us that we have Monday to do that in La Paz, and it would be more fun to toddle around town and have a nice lunch somewhere than to come and go with bags of groceries – and we had to agree he was right.
So we finished our coffees, while the dock boy washed the boat ( hooray hooray!) and then we caught a taxi into town. Some of the fleet was going to Flora Farms for brunch, which would have been nice, but I was happy just to wander . Unfortunately it was hard as the town is being ripped up and rebuilt. It’s going to be beautiful, as the main street will have sidewalks and planters and places for parking, and the central courtyard will be much bigger. It will be quite something when it is finished! but we managed to find our way around to the art district and investigated some of the galleries.
A new nativity for my collection caught my eye, and Val found the perfect spoon rest for her kitchen, although there was a LOT of fantastic stuff, pottery, jewellery, carvings… we could have bought but as we are flying home that wouldn’t be a good idea.
We lunched in one of our usual places and had a delicious meal, serenaded by the wandering band who were actually very very good. Then back to the boat, where we awaited both the arrival of the Kemps and Billy and the start of the evening’s festivities.
Eventually both were accomplished, and we were having drinks and appies at a very posh cocktail party out on the “island”… tables, candles, elegant servers in black plying us with margaritas ( and luckily lots of bottled water!)… a dolphin show for those who were so inclined… linen table cloths and many happy cubaristas. Food was good, entertainment was good.. ( who knew Eric from Sprezzetura could do Neil Young as well as Neil Young!!!! ) it was great to see everyone, especially those who were going to head South..
Speeches were made, thanks were given, hugs all round… and then we took the Kemps and Bill back to our boat to quickly give them a tour of the new Northern Ranger! Cam and Kim headed off to Tanglewood for a sleepover, as they were going to stop by Costco on their way to La Paz today, and the rest of us were heading out for either Muertos or Puerto Vallarta. The PV-ers left very early this morning, around 0400, while we had a sleep in. Alarm went off at 545, and we were away by first light, along with the rest of the fleet.
We had barely cleared the breakwater and I had put two lines in the water. After lots of discussion and encouragement from other more successful fishermen last night, I continued with my cedar plug/ mexican feather combination. I was standing in the salon with Val, chatting and drinking my tea when Val nonchalantly mentioned she was watching a huge silver fish jump behind us. I said “I hope it is coming for my lures” at which point she said ‘well, it’s right there”..
I lunged for the back deck and sure enough one of the lines was screaming out. I grabbed the rod and judging by how fast it was going out I knew it was something big.. I couldn’t get the rod out of the holder. I could barely reel it in and then suddenly the other line started screaming. By now the captain had slowed us down to almost a dead stop, and came back to help. We both played our fish but he lost his ( it was on the cedar plug) and when I got mine to the back of the boat we saw it was a large bull dorado. Beautiful beautiful fish! It took a fair amount of work to get it on the gaff and into the boat, at which point Lawrence turned around and left, saying “ OK now you deal with it””.
Ugh. I love fishing, enjoy catching, and am not so keen on the killing part unless I know I can do it quickly and relatively humanely. This was a big bull with a thick heavy head so there was no finesse in dispatching it. We didn’t have the bottle of cheap vodka on board that we have been told works to calm the fish down…not to mention the one doing the catching….LOL.. NOT… anyway, after a lot of blood being thrown around, I finally had a dead and blooded fish at my feet… and a cockpit that looked as though I had killed five fish and not just one.
And then it was all about getting ice, figuring out how to ice the fish down, what to put it in… we have no cooler that big ( we couldn’t weigh it but I measured it at three feet from nose to the V of the tail. Not bad!)
After some thought and wondering if I dared put the lines back in, I decided to deal with the fish, cutting it up and freezing some, putting the rest into our small cooler with all the ice we had.
Now I figure I have room for another fish, hopefully a tuna this time, so the lines are back in the water and ever hopefully I await another strike.
But what an exciting time! A double header! Talk about an adrenalin rush!
( and thankfully the blood that spattered over our new teak and white chairs was easy to clean off.. most importantly of all)
And first thing we do, when we get to a store in La Paz that carries them… we buy a fishing cooler.
Now the wind has picked up, registering 26 plus on the anemometer, which means probably around 20… seas are rough and choppy but I don’t see a swell so it’s just wind and waves- blowing buckets of salt water all over our clean shiny boat! Lots of water over the bow, hopefully all hatches are closed tight! It’s coming from the Starboard front quarter, so one side of the boat seems calm and hot and the other is very splashy and splooshy. Good nautical term – splooshy. And the bulbous bow is making a fairly dramatic bang!bang! thump! as it crashes down on the bigger waves.
Altogether a very exhilarating ride .. needless to say I have pulled in the lines and have diverted my attention to feeding the crew. Breakfast was small and a long time ago and fishing is such hard work!
Next stop, Muertos – we will drop the anchor, don our bathing suits, and hopefully be able to have a nice swim and watch the sun go down..
later that same day!
Coming into Muertos was like trying to park in the mall at Christmas time. There were already a fleet of Bahahahahians there, ( sailboats doing the same thing we were doing)… and a number of Cubaristas had dropped anchor ahead of us. We managed to find a good spot to set our hook, and first order of business once we were all settled in was, of course, to go swimming.
The water was warm, it was relatively calm where we were-but the current was fierce. If you let your guard down, you would have floated out to sea. Back on the boat and showered, we got down to business.. Lawrence finished preparing the dorado for dinner, putting aside enough for the four of us for one meal and leaving three more meals worth for freezing. It was indeed a big fish!
Our first night at anchor with our now-complete crew was great, barbecued fresh fish, good food, a bottle of wine- and early to bed, ready to get up the next morning to finish this adventure. Costa Baja here we come!