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Fish Tales

 

Bringing My Baby Home

 

We join Paco Saca for the adventure of a lifetime - so far ...


The boat is giving me quite a few problems... one of them is that when I throttle it down it immediately jumps out on plane... also the builder promised that it would cruise at 28 knots. and it's only cruising at 29 knots. It also has a terrible vibration in the cockpit area. I notice this vibration when I crank up the stereo system, which has six speakers and a subwoofer.

What a beautiful month... my two sons, my two mates, DA NEW BOAT, and me!!!!!!!!!!

At this moment the boat is waiting for the green light to cross the Panama Canal and I flew back home for a week to work just a lil` bit, I'll be flying back to continue across the canal with my wife and kids and hopefully finish the trip on August 10 th

Here goes the play by play...

It all started on July 4 th when we left New River Marina in Fort Lauderdale where the boat had the electronics installed. My plan was to move the boat down to Miami where I could enjoy the company of some friends to help me put some hours on the engines so they could have the first service before leaving the United States in route to El Salvador. On this day I enjoyed the company of a good friend, Dick Tanner (MarlinNut aka: TANMAN). Our plan was to arrive to Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove, grab a slip and then go fishing for the first time on my new Pursuit 38 Express. We fished "The Pocket" about 25 nm East of Fowey Light, conditions looked beautiful, weeds and currents were all over but nothing hit until about 2 hours later when the short corner 80STW started to sing... blue marlin!!! The joy only lasted about 10 minutes and then she threw the hook but I was the happiest man on earth... the first day out, in a place not known to be marlin heaven and raising a fish right up to the transom!!!

On July 5 th we enjoyed the visit of another SCMO'er, Dr. Chris Thomas (aka: holdemhook) and although fishing wasn't that great the company more than made up for it.

The following days were spent putting more hours to the engines, doing the service to the engines, generator and gearing up for the 2400 NM journey ahead of us. Finally on July 11 th we left Miami to our next stop, Key West. We got to Key West at about 2:00 p.m. the same afternoon, we docked at Oceanside Marina where we bought two 60 gal drums and two 30 gal drums for a total of 180 gal to make the crossing of the Yucatan Straits.  

We left Key West on July 12 th at 8:00 a.m. heading for Islas Mujeres, Mexico. This route would take us about 15 nm from the western tip of Cuba. At first the Gulf Stream gave me something to think about since I was only doing about 3 knots less than expected, but when we got nearer Cuba there is a current that pushes west along the coast, we spent a good part of the night enjoying a push from this current. When we were about to leave the Cuban coast, exactly in Cabo San Antonio the story changed and I watched the boat on almost the same corner of the plotter for about three hours. A leg of the trip, which I had anticipated that we could have rough seas, was as smooth as silk. We arrived to Mexico 26 hours later on July 13 th at 10:00 a.m. re-fueled and continued to Cozumel immediately arriving at Cozumel at 2:00 p.m.

July 14 th was a rest day; we took off on July 15 th to Ambergris Cay, Belize arriving there the same afternoon.

July 16 th we attempted to continue on with the trip to Roatan Honduras, but came back to port after only a few miles because of terrible weather... strong winds, huge seas maybe to 18 feet and head seas... I couldn't have made a better decision since on July 17 th the next day my patience was rewarded, the wind had died to almost zero and the seas looked like a cup of milk!!! I even slowed down for some trolling for an hour on what I thought to be very promising waters... in between Lighthouse Reef and Turneffee Islands but only managed one big `cuda on the short corner.

We arrived in Roatan, Honduras later on that day, July 18 th we rested and prepared the boat for visitors... my family was flying to Roatan for a weekend visit   We went out for a boat ride to other beautiful Hondurans islands including the Island of Utila. On Sunday July 20 th we stayed at the dock, went out snorkeling and did a lobster cookout. The bad part came when it was time for them to leave... I did not wanted to let my sons go so I called the school's principal (a friend of mine) and asked him to let them stay with me for a week

July 22 nd came; it was a brand new Paco   with my two sons on board... yeah!!! We left Roatan, Honduras at 5:00 a.m. heading for Providence Island (Colombia). After only 30 miles into the 370nm trip the wind picked up again, I looked in my charts and saw the Island of Guanaja just 9nm out of my way so we headed in to spend the night. The next morning on July 23 rd we left Guanaja at 4:30 a.m. and encountered much better seas... so good that I decided to skip Providence and went direct to San Andres, Colombia, some 60nm south of Providence and only 214nm NNW from the Panama Canal. We arrived to San Andres at 12noon on July 24 th  

July 25 th was another rest day. Since the longer legs of my trip were over I decided to get rid of two of the four drums were I was taking extra fuel to make more room for fishing, and since the next leg was only 214 miles I thought to take only the two smaller drums just in case I decided to reach there a lil` earlier... on July 26 th we left San Andres expecting to arrive at the Panama Canal at around 4:00 p.m. estimating an average speed of 21knts. Wind was not that bad near the island but as we got further away from it they picked up quite a bit and seas went to 15-18 feet with the only difference that this time seas were coming from the quarter port side so I slowed down to trolling speed and changed the ETA to 5:00 a.m. on July 27 th , we even trolled those heavy seas and managed to boat a 30 lbs. Wahoo on a purple Big Reidee.

The boat at the Panama Canal Yacht Club...


The Panama Canal crossing & the Pacific Ocean... ahhh my pond!!!!!!!

As planned, we flew back to Panama with my wife and kids to do the Panama Canal crossing from Colon (Atlantic side) to Balboa (Pacific side) on Sunday August 4 th ... because of mechanical problems on the airplane we arrived there a day later so we had to change our programmed crossing to Monday August 5 th  

We woke-up at 4:00 a.m. and started the preparations... I took the services of two experienced line man to make pairs with my mates, also I bought 10 old tires which were hung on the sides of the boat to protect it from the roughness of the canal walls, just in case... and rented 4 lines 125' long required for the transit thorough the locks.

We started transit at 7:00 a.m. and we were placed behind a Panamax vessel (the widest beam vessel that fits in the locks), there were merely about 100' left behind for my boat.

  

Lines secured, and lock closed it started filling with water from the lake above to lift us about 40' to the next lock.

  


  

When our lock was at a level with the next one the doors were opened and the vessel in front started moving with it's own power... yes it's own power!!!!!! Scary...

  

We managed the turbulence with the relief that on the way down the lake they place small boats in front of those big vessels and I would get even

  

  

We finished transit at 2:00 p.m. because we had to wait about an hour for the first available space down. As soon as we hit the Pacific we went to The Balboa Yacht Club to fill up and at 4:00 p.m. we were on our way to Coiba. After cruising all night we arrived at Coiba at about noon on Tuesday August 6 th ...

COIBA... Paradise found
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE!!! WHAT BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!!!

  

In this island, Capt. Tom Yust runs a modest charter business with all the amenities and avid fisherman might think... world class fishing grounds (Hannibal Bank), great food, a beautiful beach, air conditioned cabins... etc.

Although not a poster on SCMO, he is a regular reader and as soon as I said Paco Saca he goes... from MarlinNut??? I've read your posts!!! Anyway, my family and crew were invited to enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Tyra his girlfriend then to rest we went... we had some serious fishing to do the next day.

Wednesday, August 7 th at 7:00 a.m. found us heading out to the Hannibal Bank just 20 miles away from the camp, as soon as we arrived there I got a call on the VHF from Tom... he had the spinner dolphins and the ahi... we rushed there and put out my best spread... after a few minutes... BANG!!! Short corner goes... BlackBart's BRAZILLIANO scores again... est. 100 lbs. ahi on 80 lbs. tackle, I let Jorge my son handle it... I was waiting for something more challenging... we continued trolling and 30 min. later long shotgun went BANG!!! ...This was my fish... it hit a BigReidee (yeap... froggy scored again ) on a Shimano 30 TLD loaded with 20 lbs. test... yeah!!!!!!!!!!!ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz... Another 100 lbs. ahi...

  

Now it was Javier's turn and sure enough some 30 min. later a 40 lbs. bull dolphin on a BlackBart's Super Plunger... the weather deteriorated and we headed back to the camp were as soon as we got there we cooked some tuna steaks and gave the rest away to the villagers... nothing ever goes to waste here.

After dinner we enjoyed a cigar over some fishing talk with Tom... what a place, what hosts... this is a place that for sure will see me going back again and again... check the place out Coiba Adventure ( www.coibaadventure.com )

Thursday August 8 th was back to our trip... from Coiba we left at 4:30 a.m. to Los Sueños, Costa Rica some 220 nm away, we arrived there about 4:00 p.m. This place is a real dream... absolutely the very best marina I found from Ft. Lauderdale all the way to El Salvador... great hotel, fine gourmet restaurants... I don't know much about golf, but the greens looked very green to me   and people that knows says it's a beautiful and challenging course. We spent one night there and the next morning on Friday August 9 th , after a hearty breakfast we left at about 9:00 a.m. to Flamingo, C.R. we arrived there at 2:00 p.m. filled up and went ashore to have lunch and at 4:00 p.m. we were back on the move... our next stop Pto Barillas Marina Club, El Salvador we arrived there on Saturday August 10 th at 10:00 a.m. were we did customs and immigration and then cruised the final 30nm. of our month long trip to our beach house in Golfo de Fonseca...

I had brought a bottle of champagne a friend had given me in Ft. Lauderdale and told him I would pop it up and drink it as soon as I was moored in front of the beach house...

  

It truly was a nice experience... as you know I am a weekend fisherman... and I made it through 2400 NM. Taking all kinds of weather, I also put about 220 hours on the engines and they performed flawlessly. My goal was to bring the boat home without a single scratch and thanks God I achieved it.

TOO BAD IS OVER.....