Snorkel fishing...contradictory?

Trip Start Jun 20, 2011
1
24
31
Trip End Jul 19, 2011


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Flag of Honduras  , Islas de la Bahía,
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stace here.  A couple days ago we met Nelson (a taxi driver) at the grocery store who said he would take us fishing and snorkeling for $80.  The other quotes came in at around $250.  We arranged to meet him at Anthony's Key (a nearby, fancy resort) and follow him to the dock.  Expectations changed.  He took us to his house, which was a shanty-town style cul-a-sac.  From there, we assembled our snorkel gear and he handed us small sticks wrapped with fishing line, hooks, weights, and squid (he called it calamari).  I said, "aren't we going on a boat", to which Nelson replied, "No. This is very special.  You get a chance to fish like a local, fishing WHILE you snorkel.  It's amazing.  You've never done anything like it.".  He was right.

We walked to the mangrove shore where an old black local was scaling several small longspine squirrel fish, and I don't even think they were dead yet.  Immediately, the guy and Nelson started getting into it.  Nelson was "trying" to hide the conversation by speaking in Spanish, which infuriated the individual even more.  He claimed to be British with his family lineage from the original slaves.  Nelson later told us the old man's family had owned this whole area, until crack got the best of them.  His bed was now a hammock on the furthest mangrove from the shore.  There were a few tense moments, but Nelson cut more bait and we were off.  His cursing increased as we entered the water and swam away.

We snorkeled along the dolphin pen (probably illegal) and out to edge of the channel.  Nelson showed us how to fish.  While snorkeling, unroll the line beneath you and hover it around the fish you want.  Suz and I have always laughed at how fishing is kinda a one-winner game of "Trick and Kill", but this was amplified.  For the past month, our family has been quietly observing the reef fish in their pristine habitat, occasionally feeding them peas to attract more.  This time, we will tow them on a line, suffocate them, and the scale one while it was still alive.  Gruesome.  Nelson then went after lobster.  He had a small metal rod that he would pry them out of their hole and then stab them.  He only got one out that had decent size and he missed.  Spears and slings are not allowed on the reef.  All of it was illegal.

We were done half way through what he had plannned for us.  We didn't last as long as he wanted, but we Suz and I had seen enough.  Back at shore, our British friend has calmed down significantly.  He seemed friendly and apologized to Nelson and us. On the walk back, Nelson tells me how the old guy was crazy and said "see if I give him him $ next time he asks". Back at Nelson's house, the old guy shows up, bums a cigarette off of Nelson, and even went into house.  Suz commented to Nelson that he SEEMED liked a different person (behaviorially).  Nelson said that it was a different guy... his twin brother.  He looked identical, same t-shirt, same flip flops, same bowed right leg, and thus the same limp.  Suzanne challenged Nelson, asking if both men would wear the same shirt on the same day, but he still swore by it.  There is no way.  Something weird was going on.

Back at home, we grilled, and ate on the deck.  The kids didn't eat the fish.  We didn't blame them.  It is pretty weird to see them on the grill... the same fish we had been snorking with for weeks.  The Butter fish (that Nelson caught) was significantly better that the French Grunt.  

Later, we put alcohol in our ears to try to get the water out, and the kids crashed.  A very interesting day.
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