We headed south from Bonanza, down through the Cerralvo Channel to the Bahia de los Muertos (aka by developers Bahia de los Suenos). It was a lovely day, and, finally after months of no luck, Earl caught a Dorado, saving me from having to figure out what we would have for dinner. We anchored in late afternoon in water that was just too inviting. I had my glass of wine in the water
We talked that night of spending a couple of days at Muertos or possibly going south, but early the next morning, the Captain pulled the anchor and we were on our way north, back up to Bonanza. It was a lovely day, but not a fish.
Then on Wednesday, Earl headed north again for an area called El Bajo where the fishing is supposed to be good. We were not alone. There were other boats, and, finally, bill fish jumping. Judging from the radio chatter, the fish were not biting, but we got bites and finally hooked a marlin. It was hooked behind the gills and put up a quite a fight. Earl had it up to the boat over and over and was exhausted by the time it finally got tangled on our stablizers and broke off. The only bad part of that was the loss of one of Earl’s favorite lures.
We anchored that night in the beautiful Hook at Isla San Francicso, this time off to the east behind the hook itself. We had only anchored there once before and had needed to move before the night was over. I guess it is a bad luck place for us. The wind was gusting 35 from the SW at 2am when Earl went up to check, blowing us toward the beach, and we had an uncomfortable 3 feet of water under us. Earl did not want to sand off the new bottom paint, so we picked up our anchor and moved to the other side of the island.
At first light, off we went again. We had agreed that this week was a fishing trip, and, finally, someone told the fish. Over the next three days we caught 5 more marlin and a sail fish, lost a bunch more, and caught a number of bonito. We also saw a number of sharks jumping. One of them jumped eight feet out of the water right in front of our bow. It was a dark color. We think it was a mako.
Fishing for these large bill fish turned out to be very much of a team effort. Daisy played a critical role. Her hearing is far better than ours, and she has learned to recognize the sound of the line being pulled off the reel and to let us know that there is a fish on. Then the circus starts! Earl is in charge of the back deck and the fishing rods. I am in charge of everything else and, at least in Earl’s mind, am to follow all of his directions which come hot and heavy.
These fish take out a lot of line fast and we have to chase after them. I have finally made a mental checklist for myself. Slow down the engine, take it out of gear, turn off the stablizers, turn off the radios so I can hear, shut the front doors so that I don’t need to worry about Daisy jumping overboard, and finally - this one seems to be hard for me - turn off the automatic pilot. (The boat does not react to the wheel if the pilot is on.) Then run after the fish, trying to keep the line 30- to 45 degrees off the bow. The boat reacts slowly, so I have learned to speed it up a little when changing direction. Importantly, I have to remember not to swear at Earl when he tells me to do something that I am already doing. In my free time, I need to take photos and get Earl into his fish fighting belt and life jacket.
These fish jump spectacularly! One of them actually “tail walked” about 50 yards. Unfortunately, this usually happens early on when I am too busy to try for photos.
We got better with practice. One day the seas were a little rough. It reminded me of gill netting in Cook Inlet. With the stablizers off, we rolled and everything seemed to end up on the floor. I had the boat in reverse and the water was breaking over the stern - just like Cook Inlet, except the temperature was quiet nice and we wore no rain gear.
Eventually, the fish tires and then comes the challenge of getting it off the hook and, more importantly, retrieving the lure Earl gets out on the swim step while I play the role of the assistant in an operating room - only it is gaff or pliers instead of scalpel. Daisy usually sneaks out as well trying to help. When it is all done, we collapse. One day we caught two fish before 10 am and had to go anchor up and rest for a few hours. What a wonderful adventure.
We have learned several things:
--Look for warmer water. The temperatures were between 78 and 85 degrees.
--If you don’t see any fish jumping, you probably won’t catch any - Duh
--Don’t bother buying lots of different types of lures. We have caught almost everything on the same type of lure called a Mexican Flag. (Ours are looking pretty chewed up.)
Then, it was time to come ‘home’ to Costa Baja. We will need to spend the next few days putting Serenity to bed for the summer and getting packed to go north. Since we came down in October we have gone 3,177 miles - Earl does like to travel.
We took on fuel before leaving on our fishing trip. It was expensive - $3.57 per gallon. Since we took on fuel in December, we had used 1,048 gallons. Assuming 1 gallon per hour for the generator, which we ran a lot, I computed that we used 1.7 gallons per hour and averaged 6.1 miles per hour.
Last night we met our new neighbors in the marina, Dave and Janet on the Cuervo. Janet brought their pet Lucy, an African Grey Parrot, over for visit this morning. She was darling and after she warmed up, she treated us to lots of her phrases and whistles.