We had a fantastic day fishing last Saturday. Up early and on the ocean by 7:00 AM, it was suppose to be 6:30 AM but it took us a few minutes to find the boat…. Once aboard we made our way up the fresh water estuary and out to the ocean. We only traveled a short distance (maybe 5 minutes) and saw some fish activity on the surface so we stopped and cast for a while. No bites so we carried on. Just before the last bend to open ocean we went inside a bay which seemed like our captain’s own fishing hole. The area was huge but we had the area to ourselves all morning! The small bait fish (sardines or similar) were in areas that made the water look as if it was boiling; So many bait fish that we could no longer see to the bottom in shallower areas. On many occasions while fishing for Rooster fish we would see as many as 8 or 9 Rooster fish following our lure! Very exciting! We ended up taking home a Needle fish which Pat brought in, 2 Spanish mackerel and a Jack fish. I brought in 2 Rooster fish the first broke the line escaping under the boat; The second one [pictured below at about 35 pounds] and a Pompano both of which we released. The 35 pound Rooster fish put up an amazing fight; I must have brought him close to the boat at least 6 times or more. Each time that I got him close he would get spooked and make the rod sing as he swam off. It took 20 – 30 minutes to land him. Here are the highlights:
Two weeks and two days left in our vacation and we finally got a look underwater! Today we traveled to Catalina Island with Deep Blue Diving! Our first dive was just fantastic! We saw a lot more than I was able to capture pictures of as the visibility for large distant creatures was not the best; and a few camera challenges due to not diving underwater for a while – oops! We got to see giant Manta Rays! We saw about 4 or 5 giant Manta rays and I would estimate the biggest was at least 12 feet across! Magnificent creature; so graceful as it appears to fly through the ocean! Wow! We also saw eagle rays and plenty of sting rays, we also saw Octopus, Moray eels (mostly green ones), Sharks and hundreds of schooling fish as well as plenty of other species of fish. Here are a few of the highlights:
It has been a few weeks since I posted. We have been very busy and enjoying the local culture. We attended two cooking courses. The first cooking course started with a tour of the local markets where we found where the “true” local farmers markets were located. We learned about the six different kinds of bananas in the area, local cheeses, and traditional pork dishes that are eaten in a bolillo (a Mexican bread roll that is shaped similar to a croissant but made with a chewy type of bread); the center of the bread roll is removed and stuffed with the pork dish – absolutely delicious! We also learned about many of the locally available peppers and chili’s. Did you know a dried jalapeño is a chipotle pepper? After returning from the market we learned how to make ceviche and tiritas (Zihuatanejo ceviche) and fish tacos complete with recipes and tasting our creations! A unique culinary experience in Monica’s backyard! Wow!
In our second cooking class a few days later we learned to cook a charros bean dish – absolutely delicious; including epazote which is a local Mexican herb that helps relive the gassiness that comes from eating beans. We also made molcajete salsa (stone-ground salsa) in a mortar and pestle – OMG! Going to have to buy one of these gizmos! Not be topped by cooking squash blossom’s fried in cheese! I know how to use all those squash blossoms I got last year without throwing them out!
Are you hungry yet? Pretty sure we’ll be trying these dishes at home!
Blue water tour
We went out by boat on Thursday on the search for a spot to dive in blue water. The blue water today was about 4 – 6 miles from shore so very deep but the visibility and color background is amazing.
Here is Joao on the hunt for current and/or gatherings of debris or vegetation that can typically gather near these currents. Schools of fish, birds, turtles and other ocean mammals follow these currents for a source of food.
Any day you see dolphins on the ocean is just awesome!!
Dive anyone? Well, no luck seeing any large mammals (that want to play) or large schools of fish; we brought our dive gear so I guess we might as well go for a dive. Solitary rock – here we come!
A little cloudy on Friday but another great day on the ocean! The air was a little cooler at about 74 degrees Fahrenheit around 10:00 AM and the water has cooled a bit to between 82 and 84 Fahrenheit. This is good as we are seeing bigger fish and the blue water is coming closer to shore giving greater visibility underwater. Because it was cloudier on Friday we saw a lot more eels than usual. Here are a couple.
We saw a nuidbranch in the shallows but my picture is a little overexposed. An eagle ray spotting part way through the dive was exciting too but a little too far for a picture. Towards the end of the dive we saw a school of huge rainbow runners too. I would guess they were 4 – 5 feet long each and we saw around 20 of them in the school. Here are a couple more pictures.
First fishing trip & Diving
When we first arrived we attempted to connect with the fishing Captain we had used previously. Santos Soto is his name and he is a fantastic fisherman! We spoke to some other fisherman that told us he was sick and could no longer fish. This was sad news but they promised to pass on a message to his son who is Santos Jr. and has taken over fishing for his Dad. A couple days into our trip we did receive a message from the security guard that Santos Jr. dropped by and left his business card. We were really happy to hear that our message got through to the family but somewhat saddened by the news that Santos Sr. was no longer able to fish.
We found a fantastic deal on a fishing trip so decided to give it a try. Remember the adage ‘you get what you pay for!” Yeah, it’s true. We did manage to catch one small black tuna that we gave to the boat Captain and we did spend a relaxing day floating on the ocean and saw turtles and dolphins – not a bad way to spend a day!
On Friday after our dive trip we were walking down the street that goes along the beach and we were pleasantly surprised to see Santos Sr.! He remembered us and we had a good talk with him. He is going in for Cancer treatment three times a week in Zihua but is well enough (and getting better) to get out and sell fishing trips for his family boat. He no longer is able to go out on the ocean – doctors orders! He told us he has lost 33 kg since getting sick and was in the hospital in a nearby town for 2 months. He told us that he is feeling good and that God does not need him yet! Perhaps we will go fishing another day soon…
Dive Trip to Sacramento and Zacatoso
Super dive at Zacatoso today! The visibility at Sacramento dive site was not great but was a nice dive in an area that I’m sure would be a lot better when the visibility is improved. The second dive however, just about half a kilometer away was amazing! A nice shallow dive with plenty of fish, special critters and corals. Our bottom time (time underwater) was close to an hour. We could have stayed longer as most of us had plenty of air but some were getting colder after being under water for that long. Even with the water temperature at 82 – 84 Fahrenheit you still tend to get cold after that length of time underwater. Here are a few pictures: