Skip to main content

I like the ocean, at least to look at, and I like eating fresh fish. I've never been too interested in how the latter gets out of the former and onto my plate.

The lovely wife and I have recently arrived in Panama City and are staying with her oldest son and his family while we acclimatize and figure out where we want to live. My youngest step-son, Danny the Dentist, is a fanatic fisherman and immediately invited us to visit his friends Damiana and Didimo, who live on the coast in Los Santos province. When I say "on the coast", I mean the ocean is their front yard and their supermarket.

Well sure, I keyed in on the road trip and hammock time. After I agreed to go, the fishing on the open sea and the sea-sickness thing popped into my mind like a painful boil. Oh yeah, there was that fishing trip with a previous father-in-law in Oregon, when I spent the whole time feeding the fish in a most unpleasant manner.

 

Danny the Dentist is known for his chronological flexability and he had patients Saturday, so we didn't cross the bridge over the Panama Canal until after dark. We drove west along the Pan-American Highway and then south into the Azuero Peninsula. We arrived at Damiana and Didimo's house after 1 AM, actually we arrived at the end of the road and then carried a bunch of staple food, beer and fishing equipment along the beach and up to their house.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Damiana and Didimo have lived on their piece of land for 20-some years. To say that they are of modest means is beyond an understatement- when they bought the land for $35 they had to borrow it from her father. They've advanced a lot from then, but they still insist they're poor. (They're not, except monetarily) When we showed up in the middle of the night, they warmly welcomed us and pulled three corvinas (sea bass) out of the fridge. Now, I love corvina, but this was the best ever, with fried platanos (non-sweet bananas) on the side and lots of beer.  Didimo and I ended up sitting there and talking about this and that for hours. Every once in a while he reminded me how much he loves Danny like a son, and my wife and me also by extension, and he actually means it.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

After a couple hours of sleep, I groggily stumbled back to the car with Danny, and we made our way to a beach near the town of Pedasi, arriving about 7:30. Avidel, the Captain of the 27' fiberglass boat didn't look too happy about our late arrival, but it was hard to tell with the mask he was wearing. We loaded up and pushed off.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The sea was a bit choppy, thank God that Danny had given me an anti-barf pill on the way. Actually, the waves made the boat look kinda small. Avidel is one hell of a driver, but still the UP/SLAM-down motion of the boat made me not want to move. They told me that we were looking for sea-birds or dolphins, that's where the fish are.

After a bit, the hills of the coast were barely visible. My fishing pole started to bend, and I heard the RRRRR of the reel as the line flew out. Did I mention that I don't know the first thing about fishing? So Danny is telling me what to do, and I'm trying to reel in what seems to weigh something like a Volkswagen. I let too much slack in the line and lost what Avidel said was a 50 pound tuna. He saw it, and he should know.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Crap. The one that got away. I didn't have too long to feel like failure because we started to catch fish. Dorado (mahi-mahi) with their bright gold color and huge head. Yellow-fin tuna and Albacore tuna, fat and silvery. When one pole gets a fish, you reel in the other one so that the lines don't tangle. But sonofabitch, the other one had a fish also. That happened several times. The last tuna we caught flopped over the side and got nailed by a shark. We had so many fish by then we didn't even care much.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Cleaning the fish took a while, but was almost as interesting as catching them. We anchored off the coast where we started from. The Frigate birds, pelicans and grouper fish wait there to fight over the scraps which are recycled into the ocean. The three dorados and 15 tuna became fillets and went into zip-lock bags, filling a rather large cooler. Danny gave fish away to six or seven people on the way home, as he seems to know and be loved by a significant percentage of the population.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

So, that's my little adventure, so far. Did I mention I love Panama?

P.S. I've left a lot out. Stay tuned for more.

Originally posted to MyNameisChiriqui.Blogspot.com on Tue May 03, 2011 at 04:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site