I had the good fortune to have my travel to Amsterdam cancelled this week due to the volcanic ash cloud of 2010.
In fact, the ash cloud and the chaos to air travel that is caused was a blessing in disguise for a couple of reasons. The first that it kept me in the US. The second that it kept several others from coming to the US. These cancellations opened a spot at a vendor event to which I was invited as a last minute replacement.
The vendor event was in West Palm Beach and it was excellent. Great speakers, a good opportunity to get to know a prospective vendor better, a similar opportunity to get to know a colleague, and finally a couple of days of excellent food, great drink and some deep sea fishing.
Out fishing excursion closed the event. We boarded the bus from the hotel to the marina at 8:00am. At the marina, we learned that our boat was a no show, so we boarded another and were taxied to another marina to board a replacement. This may have been another blessing in disguise as our captain and our mate were top notch and put us on the fish.
We motored to our fishing area and I the mate placed our lines. We had six or even our with a couple of teasers and waited. We were going for sailfish, swordfish, dolphin fish, tuna and wahoo. The first strike ended with no fish on a hook, but that got all of our blood flowing. We also had to pick the order and as the prospective client, I was given the honor. A little while later, we had another strike. The mate coaxed the fish to bite again and it was fish on...he handed the pole to me and it was my turn to work.
The fish was taking line out fast, and I didn't realize I was supposed to be reeling in, so I let him take even more. I was yelled at for not reeling, so I started. Instantly, I was tired. It felt like a monster. I reeled for what felt like forever. As the line started getting closer to the boat I saw a glimmer of silver. I was instructed to step back with the pole and the mate brought the fish on board. It was a Bonita - a trash fish that is used for bait. I didn't care. First, I was exhausted. Second, I was ecstatic. Third, the fish was beautiful - blue and silver with these amazing black patterns on its back. He had the fish in the hold and I took a look at him. I commented how pretty its markings were, and the mate informed me that Bonita is Spanish for "pretty". Made sense to me. We made note of the time, 10:15am as I sat down with a celebratory beer.
As we progressed through the rest of the order, we caught more Bonita. The last of the five on the boat brought in a pretty, if not small, black fin tuna. We finally had a game fish on board.
I was up again and brought in my own small black fin. A very pretty fish and a little easier to reel in.
We ended up going through the order again and caught another black fin, more Bonita, and a blue runner (another trash fish used for bait).
I actually got to go again and brought in another Bonita. Not as big as the first and not as difficult to bring in. I was thankful, as my arms had had enough.
All in all, we caught twelve fish. Enough to win most fish on the boat. The next closest to us had only 5. One out of the six boats that went out was skunked. We also learned that my first was the first for all of the boats, so I ended up winning two wonderful bottles of wine.
As we shared fish stories over an amazing lunch of fresh seafood, we learned that the largest fish of the day went to someone who brought in a 13.5 foot tiger shark. The pictures of that were awesome.
There is a saying that goes, "a bad day on the water beats a good day on land". Thankfully, we didn't have to test its validity. We had a great day on the water.