Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Trip

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought that I knew way more than I did coming into this. Not the case. I am getting schooled on a daily basis, and stoked. Slowly, and not always smoothly, I am transitioning into a serious fisherman. I have not yet set foot on land. 11 days into the trip and we have caught over 30 marlin, and countless yellow fin tuna, dorado, and wahoo. I am the man in the cockpit; rigging all rods, pinning bait, gaffing fish, and leadering marlin by hand. It is intense and extremely exciting.

Today I had to take the "donkey knocker" (a plastic bat full of lead), and bash a dorado's head in after it got into the boat so that while flopping around on the deck, it didn't hook one of the people in the cockpit, or damage the boat. The aftermath included blood spatter worthey of Dexter.

Other then brutally murdering sea life, I have seen a lot of great things. Paddle boarding the small but extremely long waves at Santa Maria, snorkeling, watching dolphins ride the wake off the bow of the boat from the pulpit, epic sunsets, 80 degree water, and eating like a king, have all been great additions to the rigorous fishing schedule.

Unfortunately the weak connection here has rendered me incapable of adding photos or video but I will get it up soon. Until next time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Finally I can post something from my travels abroad. On Thursday I left Newport Beach and this evening we reached our destination at Turtle Bay. I can't believe that I am as fortunate as I am to be doing what I am doing. Right now it is my captain Bob, the wild Hawaiian chef Lane, and myself. They have already taught me so much.

The first night we motored all the way thru, all taking shifts on watch. The following night, at midnight, we anchored off the coast of a small mexican island inhabited only by those that worked on the salt mines and fisherman. After bartering with the local fisherman for some beer and T-shirts we ended up with 29 lobsters. Lane and I proceeded to clean them all to get ready for some feasts in the near future.

Later in the day we got radio from the Tigress, whose firstmate is my buddy Tommy who got me this job. They were on their way back up from Cabo and found some great fishing. We saw eachother in passing as both boats pulled in unlimited amounts of yellow fin tuna. We murdered 13 good sized tuna and decided to leave the rest to the multi hundred porpoise pod that were traveling with us for about an hour. One of the new things I learned today was that you must put tuna on ice immediately, not because they will spoil, but because they fight so hard that they can cook themselves from the inside out.

When we finally got to Turtle Bay, Lane and I set up shop to clean all of the tuna. It took a few hours but we ended up with the pounds vaccume sealed and frozen, along with freshest sashimi I've ever had. Now we are resting and getting ready for whatever tomorrow brings. Life is good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Still Waiting

So yes, its true, my departure got pushed back again. I don't know if I am ever going to be able to head out. Its becoming a bit frustrating. Checking out all of the pictures that Seton has posted of Europe as well as the recent photos that Luke has posted of Japan, I'm becoming jealous of their adventures and chomping at the bit to get out of southern California.

Even so, things could be worse. Now I am able to vote easily, hang out with my friends on Halloween and get better acquainted with Newport Beach. The other night I went hoop netting for lobsters with my friends Tommy and Carver over by the famous Wedge. We headed out after sunset with squid and macarel for bait. We caught some more bait fish with the same set up that I landed the seal a few weeks ago as well. Had a few beers, baited and dropped some traps, and enjoyed the full moon, clear skies, and calm water. We didn't pull up any lobster however we did catch a couple of crabs and an octopus. Attached is a video of the octopus and a picture of Carver pulling in the largest crab. Although we didn't have anything to grill when we got back to shore at midnight, after getting pulled over by both fishing and gaming and the coast guard, it was still a great time.

Other then that working and surfing has consumed all of my time. Getting more acquainted with the boat, the water, and getting ready for the trip is all I can do for now. I can't wait to post something from Mexico. Until then limbo continues...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Times

Bailing on Princess Cruises was one of the best decisions I've ever made. My life on El Tigre is turning out to be exactly what I was looking for and it will only get better when we leave for Mexico in early November. For now, Newport Beach is a cool town. Turns out I had some friends up here, and through them I've got a chance to see the area and meet some new people.

This week we will taking inventory of what we've got and prepare for our trip south. I'm so excited to get on the water, kill some fish, surf, and "get salty." The only time that I've been out of the harbor on El Tigre is when we went bait fishing for a trip to Catalina that had to be cancelled due to the gale force winds caused by the Santa Annas. Even so, it was a good time. The chef hung around and made dorado and cheese enchiladas along with fresh sushi.

While fishing for bait, I was consistently pulling in multiple fish at a time. At one point I cast out and I felt something big hit the line. At this point I didn't know what I was fighting but I fought it and got it toward the surface. When it got close I was surprised to see I had landed a seal! A cod was on the top hook and the seal must have went after it and got snagged. Luckily it got off the hook before I had to take it out with pliers. Fisherman don't like seals and when we figured out what it was my captain said in jest, "bring it in, let's club it!" Didn't get to club it but it's the first story of many that I will accumulate while on El Tigre.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Change of Plans

Although I was supposed to be an employee of Princess Cruises and board the Sapphire Princess this Saturday, I opted out of the opportunity. Instead, through the help of some good friends and good people, I've landed a more lucrative job working on El Tigre, a yacht out of Newport Beach. Although Marla wasn't too happy to hear about my late bail out I had to do what I had to do.

Tomorrow is my first day working on the boat and preparing it for a 3-4 month voyage to Mexico. The majority of our time will be spent in Magdalena Bay, north of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula. There is good surf there and I hope to get alot of good maritime experience with captain Bob. This is a picture of Cuevas, one of the best breaks in the area.

We leave at the end of October prolonging the goodbyes that started at the end of July. Soon enough no one's going to believe that I'm leaving. Although I was extremely eager to board a ship and get the hell out of dodge, I guess I will be hanging out in Southern California a bit longer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Having graduated from San Diego State University this year, I look forward to the new experiences that post college life has to hold. Many of my friends are calling it adulthood but most remain in a sort of limbo between their existence as either students or adults. This summer felt remarkably similar to those of the recent past. Living in Mission/Pacific Beach, working as a wakeboard instructor at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center (as I have done since my freshman year), surfing and partying with friends; the feeling of intense change that I had at the graduation ceremony had diminished.

Now that summer has ended a sense of nostalgia has set in. At the beginning of September, I moved out of my house in Mission Beach that I shared with my childhood friend Andrew. Yesterday was my last day as a wakeboard instructor at the MBAC after over three years of employment. Seton, one of the best friends I've made in college, is travelling indefinitely through Europe. Luke, another one of my brothers in debauchery, leaves Wednesday to teach English in Japan. In a few months Cisco will be heading to China to learn Mandarin: and while some of my closest friends have left, many are still here and either jumping into their careers or returning to class.

And then there is me. Next week I leave for the Mexican Riviera to work on a cruise ship. I just sold my wakeboard, my truck is listed, and I'm working on getting rid of any of my other unnecessary belongings so I can pocket the cash and not worry about storing any of it at either of my newly divorced parents' houses.

Even though some of this change may seem daunting at times, those feelings are crushed by my excitement in what lies ahead. Having no obligations keeping me here, no stuff tying me down, and no next step engraved in stone, I am embracing a type of freedom that I have never experienced in my life!

Through the next few years I will be traveling and working for the sake of experience. I will return to southern California from time to time, and may ultimately end up here, but for now I am going to utilize this new found freedom, these relationships with people that have manifested through school, travel, and life to form new relationships, new stories, new experiences, and begin a new chapter.

Who knows what's next?