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8th February, 2017

The Fishing Expedition

Bursting with enthusiasm and excitement at what could be caught for the evening’s supper, five intrepid fishermen (and one woman) set out from the ship on a pre-organised fishing expedition.  I had recruited the executive chef and his assistant to join me on the trip, themselves both keen fishermen, in a further attempt to secure a fine catch for the evening’s feed.  The optimistic galley team had pre-prepared two large cool boxes, so that should our catch be too large to manhandle back to the ship, it could then be cut and stashed on board the fishing boat, and wheeled back to Saga Sapphire in cuts within the boxes.

Things started well; the weather was ideal being calm and sunny, and as we approached the marina housing our prospective fishing craft, an old fishy smell lingered in the air which we thought couldn’t be a bad sign.  We were greeted by David and Antonio, the local skipper and mate of a Aries, a clean and well-equipped ocean fishing boat.  So off we set, refreshments in hand, out of the marina and into a gentle swell of the Pacific ocean.  Our fishing grounds were to be 14NM west of the coast, a journey of approximately 45 minutes.  Enroute we passed turtles bobbing on the sea surface, and a school of curious dolphin came to play briefly in our wake.  Again, positive signs of sea life.  Excitement at what potential tasty meals lurked beneath the blue got the better me and I subsequently made my way up to the wheelhouse to chat to the skipper, David.  Tales were told of the ocean teeming with black marlin, swordfish and mahi-mahi just feet beneath the gentle waves - however apparently in recent days the fishing had been ‘slow.’

Bait and lures attached, 5 lines were cast and the trawling began in earnest once we had reached our fishing grounds.  The fishermen sat and watched patiently as the bait occasionally splashed free from the sparkling sea surface.  After all, this was the middle of the fishing season, in the so-called “Swordfish Capital of the World.” Executive chef George Streeter was already planning his tuna sushi for the evening meal starters, in anticipation of our boat returning laden to the gunwhales…

3 hours, some light local refreshment and a bottle of suncream later, not a single bite had been noted on any line.  Other fishing boats had patrolled the area also, their decks filled with tourists bursting from their 'tourist' t-shirts, caps perched on their cherry red heads.  However all had suffered similar poor fishing luck; it seems that the fish were elsewhere today.  Slightly disappointed, we were told that it was time to return to the marina empty-handed.  I quietly and carefully considered if there was time to make a detour on the return journey to the local fish market and purchase the largest animal I could find. 

At 17:00 Saga Sapphire sailed from Mazatlan port, exiting the breakwaters into the same lazy Pacific swell.  At the helm, I was reminiscing about our rotten fishing luck, speculating whether it could have been the daft optimism of bringing two large cool boxes with us.  Just at that moment, an enormous female humpback whale breached the surface and crashed down in a cloud of seaspray, just half a mile or so off the port beam of the ship.  Passengers watched in awe as the same whale began slapping the surface with her gigantic fin which alone looked to be at least 10ft in length.  Closer to the ship, dolphins and rays began jumping from the water, exhibiting a spectacular show for on-lookers.  Further afield, more whales began to breach and blow, shoals of smaller fish leaping nearby. The sea was positively bursting with life.  The irony of the situation was not missed by myself, nor was it by Captain Rentell, standing close by on the Bridge-wing, an eyebrow raised and the start of a wry smile on his face.  I could sense his expression without even looking at him.  The fish even looked like they were smiling…

Staff Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.