15.09.2013 - 16.09.2013 22 °C
As you may have seen (probably not) Mexico is currently experiencing two hurricanes. There is flooding and landslides in various parts of the country. Luckily the worst of the storms has passed us by, but the accompanying wind and torrential rain has not. The rain has been at times biblical; I did not know it was possible for the sky to contain so much water.
For the last week we have been confined to our room which is sending us a little bit crazy. This island sorely lacks in inside diversion, as all of its attractions are outdoor based. So we decided to go fishing anyway with Kerri’s students. Aged 20 – 25, from small villages in the Yucatan, they had been hinting of a secret fishing trip for the past week or so. The manager away, class was cancelled and off we went. Needless to say, these guys are not expert fishermen, they are gardeners. The expert guides live on the other end of the island, where I give my class. So it was with some trepidation that we got in the boat under a pencil-lead grey sky and waited for them to figure out how to get the motor running properly.
It was great to see the whole length of the island flash by; it’s actually a pretty big place. They showed us the other tiny fishing communities that cling to the shoreline, made up of shacks just waiting to blown away by the next big storm. The men (no women) there live even more rustically than we do – virtually no electricity and 50 km out from the mainland. We arrived at our destination under darkening skies. A lagoon, separated from the sea by a strip of mangroves and apparently one of the world’s best sport fishing locations. The guys told us normally it is crystal clear and turquoise but unfortunately for us it was opaque at best and distinctly mud coloured. Must have been something to do with the aforementioned rain.
To get warmed up we began casting off a small spit of sand with our yo-yo lines. This a fishing line with a hook and bait wrapped around a reel and you just throw the hook, no rod involved. It’s definitely not what the pros use. Anyway to my surprise I actually caught something! A baby barracuda, probably weighing a mighty 2 lbs. Still his teeth looked sharp enough. After that it was time for some fishing in the boat. Because the lagoon is so shallow, you have to pole around it because the motor would hit the bottom and also scare all the fish away. It’s a very tranquilo way to get around and I enjoyed being pushed around in circles while the boys argued about which one was the worst at poling. They were all terrible, but to be fair it doesn’t look easy. We spent around half an hour looking under mangrove bushes, as this is apparently where the fish like to hang out. We cast a few times and got some nibbles but then a big Snapper stole my bait. As no-one had thought to bring any spare it was time to head back, trophy-less.
As we pulled out of the lagoon to begin the hour or so drive back it began to rain. Then the wind picked up. Then it began to properly rain, then pour, then lash. As we picked up speed in open water the wind was driving the rain horizontally. The waves increased in size and soon we were being slammed up and down in our seats like basketballs that felt pain. Luckily the route back was easy as we just had to follow the shoreline back the way we came so we only got lost once. The rain was so hard the visibility was down to maybe 3 metres at one point and the sea became indistinguishable from the sky. Just water everywhere. At one point we had to stop because the other boat had engine trouble and it was like we were just sat in the ocean, completely surrounded by waves and rain.
Eventually we made it back. Wet through and freezing, with the only catch of the day being my barracuda. It was an experience that only served to reinforce my belief; that I don’t really enjoy fishing all that much.