Friday, April 25, 2014

So behind With The Blog But I Wanted To Share Our Plans

Hello All 

As seems to be my style lately, that I have been tardy in keeping up with not only the blog, but emails, and personal writing. When we have internet, which is usually close to a town, laundry, groceries, restaurants, touristy stuff, there is so much to do that I don’t want to waste time on a laptop. Face Book is a draw too, because I can get wasted in seeing what family and friends have been up to, making me feel a much needed connection to everyone. Then when I have no internet, some great book, a hike,  a swim, or a snorkel can persuade me to get up and out instead of writing.  Not a bad thing

When we left Little Current, I had not been cruising before, and had visions of this life style being much different from what it really is, someways better, someways not. I really thought that it would be more like the North Channel, with lots of quiet anchorages that you could get lost in for weeks. This part of Mexico’s Caribbean Coast is full of tourists and a touristy lifestyle. I must be liking it though, because as I write this I see that we have been here for almost three months. We have enjoyed Isla Mujeres, and have used this wonderful Island near Cancun as our traveling hub, guest pick up, friend making, provisioning site. We made a quick visit to Isla Contoy, a nature reserve. Enjoyed a stay in Puerto Morelos Marina El Cid, that made me feel off the charts spoilt. Visited Ek Balam Mayan ruins and swam in a cenote.  We have petted a shark, stood at the most eastern tip of land in Mexico. We docked at Marina Puerto Aventuras, a large gated community centred around a dolphin training area for dolphin discoveries. We snorkelled the reefs at Hut point, enjoyed wondrous sunrises and sunsets anchored in Punta Allen, located in the Sian Ki Biosphere Reserve. For a couple that had no intentions of coming to Mexico this year we sure have had a lot of first and a great time. 

Our time here is almost done though. I am so excited as my nephew Adam will be visiting us at the end of the month, then when he leaves around May 7, we will be searching for the first weather window back to Florida. Yes, we are heading to Canada. The plan is to travel up Florida’s Eastern shore to Jacksonville, store the boat at Green Cove Springs Marina, hop on a plane to Toronto, and somehow make our way to Sudbury. The actual dates are still vague, depending on weather and travelling the coast. Our thoughts are somewhere around being in Jacksonville sometime in June but as always we are controlled by mother nature. Through the networking help of our friend Mike we have bought a used car to bomb around in for the summer, visiting family and friends. Other than that, our logistics for the summer are pretty loose.  We met a lovely lady from the UK, her and her husband have been cruising for over ten years, when we talked about our hopes, fears and anxiety about going home, without a base of our own for a visit, she shared that they house/pet sit when they go home so they are not under everyones feet, and can visit family and friends without smelling like three day old fish. Marc and I loved this idea so we joined trusted housesitters and have been combing through the ads looking for short or long term house sitting jobs. Funny though, we could go to the south of France or house sit a villa in Italy, but LOL Sudbury is not such a hot spot destination looking for pet/house sitters. We did find an ad for a prof from the university so we are hopeful. Of course, spending time with miss Olive, her mom, and uncle are at the top of the list for us, visiting Montreal enjoying Marc’s mom’s famous ragout and pecan pie, being introduced to Miss Dakota our new grand baby niece and I am longing for hugs all around. Perfect would be being able to see Jacob, Andrea and the boys or making a trip west. So, when’s the visit going to end? We are not sure. The rough plan is to stay until we a shoed away, probably in October, Thanksgiving with the kids would be heaven, head back to Jacksonville, replenish our boat and move on into the Eastern Caribbean. 

So, for our  sailing friends, we hope you are enjoying fair winds and calm seas. Next fall, we look forward to new adventures in the Caribbean and hope you are included. To family and friends at home, I am so excited at the possibility of seeing everyone. We can’t wait to catch up, share a glass of wine and hear what’s going on in your world. 

Much Love Linda 


One of the best things that happens when you travel, is all the interesting people that you meet and how everyone who touches you teaches you something. Man have we had a lot of lessons. Anyway, my friend and fishing Yoda, Robert from the sailing vessel, Honeymoon Forever, not only opened my eyes to fresh cerviche and cold margaritas at the soggy peso, but took the time to hook me up with some pretty cool saltwater sport fishing equipment and information. So, it is with great admiration that I pass this on to you.
Robert Scott 

Okay, I admit it, I've been accused of being a fisherman, with a very serious sailing problem! I've also been accused of other things... but that's not related to fishing and sailing. I discovered both of them, more years ago than I am willing to admit to, while growing up on the south shore of Long Island. One would normally, not equate the two and think of them in the same sentence, unless of course, you have spent a fair amount of time sailing these beautiful open oceans, and seas that connect all major land masses. In fact, the two are a perfect match, in both the deep waters we sail and all the shallows that cruising sailors spend a fair amount of time in. Let's take a look at trolling in deep waters, shall we?
The very first thing we have to look at is gear. Your rod, reel, line, bait and/or lures go a long way towards determining how successful you will be, while trolling and catching good eatable fish while sailing. I will address these one at a time.
1st, Your Rod, you should look for a fairly stiff and strong rod in the 5' to 6' range, ideally 5’6”. Look for quality names such as Shakespeare, Penn, Daiwa or Offshore Angler,  All of these brands offer several models of offshore rods that will do the trick, you don’t want a heavy rod, but one that is thick, stout and light weight. I prefer mine to have rollers throughout the eyes. You should be able to get a great, high quality rod with all of the features I mention in the $100 to $200 range, tops. There will be cheaper of course, but you must consider the elements you will be using the rod in and quality is important for longevity. 
2nd, Your Reel,  this is your most important component in the combination, because it is the only element with multiple working parts, and it truly determines how successful you will be in bringing your catch on board. You are looking for a drag reel not a spinner or casting reel. As with the rods, there are many brands and models, I recommend sticking with these three; Penn, Diawa and Offshore Angler. My personal favorites are Penn Reels, a great US company that has been making fishing history for over 100 years, excellent quality and performance. Some of my choices would be anything in the Penn Senator, Defiance or Squall series of reels. You can expect to pay between $80 and $300 for a high quality reel. 
3rd, Your Line,  there are three major types of fishing line; braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament.  You can use anyone, but my personal preference for trolling offshore is braid. Whichever one you decide on, you want to use anywhere between 50 lb. and 80 lb. test line. You should have 200 to 300 yards of line spooled on your reel, depending on the size of reel you purchased. When fish hit out there, they run out line faster than you can imagine, especially  while you are underway at cruising speeds. You should connect a high quality stainless barrel snap swivel and the end of your line to secure your "bait".
Next, Your Baits,  you really have two options fresh (frozen) or lures. Fresh is a great option at the beginning of your journey offshore so long as there is a local bait shop that sells it. The best and most widely used bait for this application is pre rigged Ballyhoo, you have a pre-rigged steel leader attached to this bait, then it is best to dress it with a colorful skirt as well. 

Fresh Baallyhoo
Your second option, is lures and they are as varied as people, I will give you several to choose from. There are basically three types off offshore lures, to look at while trolling under way
Surface Lures: These are your rubbery soft lures, that basically bounce or skirt on top of the surface and create a visual to the fish below, who then come up and strike.
Just Below The Surface: These are harder lures usually with a plastic or metal housing up front and feathers or skirts on the back half, they ride just beneath the surface and are always colorful, attracting the attention of the game fish.
Bombers: These are traditionally plastic bodied lures with realistically painted fish bodies that have a "spoon" on the front of them much like a bill. These come in many different sizes and the spoon, makes them dive well below the surface, for example, a size 30 bomber lure is a great lure to use between four and five knots in areas that you know have grouper and other similar fish that tend to stay well below the surface. They give chase and hook up. 
Remember: Always use steel leaders on your lures. The fish you are trolling for strike aggressively and if you do not have steel leaders you risk them cutting right through your lines when they strike.
Here are some of my favorites; 
  • Offshore Angler (Bass Pro Shops),Dolphin Candy and Tuna Toast, both are feathered lures.
  • Game Fish Candy and Mahi Candy, both are Skirted Lures.
  • Williamson Lures - these are so realistic and I have caught a ton of fish on these while making passages. The Live Series Lures, these are soft lures. The Light Trolling Lures, these are feathered lures.
Consider getting a fishing net with small weave and an extendable handle. In addition, a gaff is almost a requirement when trying to bring in fish on a sailboat.
You will need a good sturdy rod holder, preferably stainless and mounted somewhere aft, secured and unobstructed, without one your chances of losing your fish and your gear increase greatly.
Now let me spend a moment on techniques and ideas to help you catch and keep the fish that hit your lines while trolling. While under way, play your line out so that it sits just behind the wake your vessel is making aft, set your drag so that it is tight, but not too tight, as you want the fish to swallow your lure, this secures it better. 
Once you get a fish on, the first thing you must do is get the vessel off wind and reduce your speed greatly, once boat speed has been slowed start to tighten the drag keeping the pressure on while reeling your fish in.  Ensure that you keep the tip of the rod up at all times, give gentle tugging motions on the rod so you can feel the fish. Hopefully you have another person on board that can assist either with the gaffing or netting. If not you've got your work cut out for you depending on the kind and size of fish you have caught.
Here are some fish you can expect while trolling the open waters of the Caribbean, Florida Keys,  and how they respond when caught.
Barracuda: Excellent table fair, just keep them under three feet or five lb.They will strike hard, run out some line and then give very little fight until you get them close to your vessel.

Tuna: Can you say delicious! Black fin, Yellow fin, Blue fin. All strike hard, fight hard and will dive deep once they are hooked, even the smallest of Tuna is going to give you a good strong fight.

Fresh Tuna Fish Salad

Wahoo/Ono: Excellent table fare, they will strike hard, fight hard, jump to try and spit the hook, it is very important to KEEP THE TIP OF THE ROD UP!
Mahi Mahi/Dorado/Dolphin: Simply the best, none better, They will strike very hard, will fight and jump, spin like hell, it is very, very important to KEEP THE ROD TIP UP AND NEVER LET UP ON THE PRESSURE. These fish are masters at spitting the hook.
Mackerels: Spanish and Cero,  both make delicious meals, either grilling the fish whole after gutting and cleaning, making fillets or breading and pan frying, They strike somewhat hard depending on the size, are fairly easy to bring in with very little fight.
Kingfish: Delicious smoked or grilled, they must be eaten shortly after they are caught, very much like the Barracuda, strike hard first, then they run out some line, very little fight after that.

Cooked To Perfection
From Snapper to Sea Bass The Fish Has Been Fantastic

Well, cruiser, that's it for this one. Remember, the earth is three quarters water, there is plenty of opportunity for you to catch fish and feed yourself and your crew while underway. It dosen’t get much better than that. Enjoy, stay safe and fish on.

He wasn't big maybe two pounds, but he sure did taste good

Pre meeting Robert my fishing yoda