If You Teach a Blogger To Fish...
June 11, 2014
I did indeed wake up before 5 a.m. yesterday, put my ass a small fishing boat with two local fishermen, and set off onto the great big ocean, past the sunrise and out to where it's nothing but endless, beautiful, unnerving flatness.
Jason loves to fish and goes as often as he can (usually catch-and-release fly fishing), but I've never been, never tried, and so I can safely say my only goal for the day was to not thoroughly embarrass myself.
(This is not me trying to be mysterious. This is me still too terrified of falling out of the boat to fully turn around for a photo.)
The whole idea behind the deep-sea fishing excursion is to catch actual fresh fish for your actual lunch and dinner that day, which jazzed Jason to no end. I was...not that optimistic.
On our way out and back, we passed directly through a huge school of dolphins.
(And while I've never been one of those OMG DOLPHINS people, I have to admit that the only possible reaction being that close to them is OMG DOLPHINS!)
FInally, it was time to fish. Our guide cast my line and handed it over to me, and instructed me to brace it against a metal spike he put in the boat because I had the lure for the "big fish." The reel was twice the size of Jason's and the fishing line was made of steel.
"WHY DO I HAVE THE ONE FOR THE BIG FISH?" I whispered to Jason. "THIS LOOKS HARDER. I THINK THEY ARE OVERESTIMATING ME. OR PUNKING."
Jason tried to explain to me how I would know if I hooked something ("You'll just know!") and what to do if I did ("Tell them, I guess."), and suddenly my reel clicked and line started twitching and before I could even process a "THIS IS HAPPENING" I was told to brace the pole against me and start reeling in whatever heavy, fiesty-ass thing was fighting me with all its considerable might.
It took FOREVER. My hands and arms started aching and I broke out in a tremendous sweat, which made my hands slippery and useless and I kept waiting for someone else to offer to take over, but no one did.
"Yep, that's a barracuda."
I CAUGHT. A. BARRA. CUDA. YOU. GUYS.
(I call the big one Bitey!)
After that, I switched to the smaller reel and...well, let's be honest here, I proceeded to kick Jason's ass at fishing. We found a school of bonito and I caught a whole bunch of pretty good-sized ones.
These, I was allowed to hold and pose with, as they are less likely to bite your face off.
And while I am usually the very definition of "squeamish inside kid who hates stepping on bugs that crunch," it really was a hell of a lot of fun.
Jason finally caught a couple too, though he assured me he didn't care that I caught more, because whatever, IT'S ALL DINNER.
By 9 a.m. we'd easily caught more like breakfast-lunch-AND-dinner, so we decided to head back home.
("Home," for now. Until they kick us out on Saturday while we sob and weep because nooooooo.)
Our guides each took a fish or two, and the rest went to the kitchen and Chef Rose.
They asked if we wanted to eat the barracuda, and we said sure, of course, why not?
(Because you might get poisoned, apparently? File that under Things I Googled Later, after the fact.)
Rose prepared it Jamaican Escovitch style and it was DELICIOUS, and I guess not poisonous in the slightest, because we're all still alive and well. Living on culinary edge, man.
We had enough bonito for not just our dinner, but for a lovely group dinner with another family of five at another villa, whom we've all befriended in that "LET'S TAKE VACATIONS TOGETHER FOREVER AND YOU SHOULD COME TO MY HOUSE" way you do when you're on vacation and everything and everybody is at Peak Awesome.
I tried to not be too LOOK AT ALL I HAVE PROVIDED FOR ALL OF THESE PEOPLE, but I did probably tell the ONE TIME I CAUGHT A BARRACUDA story a few times, like I will inevitably mention it at every future dinner party until the end of time. Sorrynotsorry.
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