We have a retired artist friend who showed an interest for fishing. This is quite common down here but when it actually comes to physically going out fishing, nothing ever comes of it. People are way too busy doing nothing (a disease down here!) or something crops up out of the blue (belikin beer or rum overindulgence!). Which means there are in reality very few people to go fishing with. So over the space of a few months I kept bumping into Rafael the painter and knocking the idea about going fishing around but he thought I was another blagger. He thought the easiest thing to do was buy a small zodiac inflatable and a motor then people would have no excuse not to go fishing. In a month he had one shipped down from Canada and the first trip was planned up the Rio Nuevo (New River). The little 6 horse power motor was just right for the 3 mile trip across the bay to the mouth of the river. Once in the river, the water is always calm even after heavy rains and no more than 1/4 mile an hour flow. If the wind is blowing it can actually push you up the river against the flow and usually provides a lovely air conditioning effect. There are no mosquitoes on the river unless you go sit under the trees, which is where local fishermen in dug out canoes go to catch snook. We tried this on our last outing and were ravaged by doctor flies, our hands and feet swollen like balloons! On that maiden voyage Rafael caught a snook whilst trawling and he ate him that evening. If you are ever down here Jill and Benny across the bay from us cook a great plate of fish and chips and use snook.
Wood Nymph’s brother Captain Pablo came down to visit with his “friend” Miss Magnum ;)…..an aspiring foot model (face wasn’t too bad either). After she left Pablo and I took the double kayak to the New River and went fishing. We collected live minnows for bait using chicken liver to catch them. Basically you drop a few bits of liver into the waters edge and hundreds of minnows come in and gorge. You cut the top off an old plastic bottle (there are always lots lying around) and then drop some more liver in and when the minnows come back to feed you scoop them up. Pablo proved to be quite skilled at this, wading in amongst the lily pads….until I reminded him that that is exactly where the crocodiles hang out. He backed out of the water proclaiming “I think we have enough!” I paddled up the river and he was asking about the types of fish we could catch. He had an interest in Peacock Bass and I told him I had heard people talk about them some 40 miles up the river, but had not met anyone who had actually seen or caught one. We arrive at “the spot” and tried some lure casting. Then we thought we would try our luck at a half submerged tree with the live bait. The first cast was successful and we had a fish on. We brought him up quick so the line didn’t get tangled in the branches and lo and behold we had caught a small Peacock Bass. We quickly took the photo and then released it back into the depths, hopefully to put 20 pounds on for the next time we catch him! :)
Whilst fishing we have been using rock bass as cut bait on the bottom of the river to try and catch the elusive “River Monster” that I know must lurk in the depths. We would fish with slack lines then wait for the line to slowly tighten, ready to set the hook on that monster fish. We got used to striking hard when the line tightened only to find nothing on when we reeled in. So we took our time and then the crabs started to come in by the bucket load. Now is the season of the blue crab and Man Mountain suggested that we bring some back for him to cook up. So on our last trip we brought some back for him to sample. Well, he is still alive so I’m guessing no food poisoning!….next time I might try some too :)
We now have 4 water tanks which hold a combined total of 2600 gallons and this proved just enough to get us all the way through the dry season. This is no mean feat as the dry season is 5 months long with little or no rain in between. Toilet flushing uses a large percentage of our water and for the next dry season we have a plan to dig a shallow well which we will pump water from, up to a 50 gallon drum on the roof. This will then gravity feed the toilet. It needs to be at least 8 feet above the toilet to give 4 bar of pressure. Photo to follow late November if all goes well! The wet season came a couple of weeks early this year and coincided with my birthday which certainly wasn’t a “dry” day :) We went to the eatery Blues for a pizza and then back to our for a gallon of rum, pool playing and dancing. I was a little delicate the next morning and had the first afternoon nap I can remember for a long time.
Only IN Belize – Driving
Driving in Belize is not for the faint hearted. Congestion is not a problem and you are never going to see a traffic jam! There is no road rage – people don’t beep their horns, scream murderous obscenities through car windows, or give rude hand gestures. Driving after dark especially on a weekend can be dangerous as the majority of people drink and drive. police do not have breathalysers and I don’t know or have heard of anyone being caught for drink driving. They have just started handing out “don’t drink and drive” stickers, but change will be a long time coming. Any side of the road is ok, no one even blinks an eye, no flashing headlights to say you’re going the wrong way. Most roads are dirt and you drive on the smoothest side of the road to avoid the 1000’s of pot holes and sink holes. Drive over 20 miles an hour at your peril! There are numerous speed bumps everywhere, some with new signs and a lot with no signs! The ones without signs normally tend to be in the shade of a tree making them impossible to be seen and almost always next to a tyre repair shop – maybe there is a link here! :)