Friday, 11 May 2012

Barracuda Baby

We made it to Puerto Juarez in Cancun just in time to board the 12pm ferry over to Isla Mujeres.  It was a pleasant cruise across and we sat on top staring down through the crystal clear blue waters wishing we could jump in.  But first things first, and when we landed our priority as usual was to find a room.  We’d decided not to book online as everything had been super expensive and we were hoping to find something cheaper when we arrived.  It took a bit of searching, but after some fine negotiation skills we found Hotel Caracol with a private bathroom for cheaper than a dorm bed in the nearby Lonely Planet recommended hostel.  Of course, as our luck goes, it wasn’t until after we checked in that we once again noticed the Night Club sign next door.  Oh well, that’s what earplugs were made for….

The next stop was the ocean, and we were both keen for a swim, but while the water looked so enticing it was actually quite refreshing (i.e. a tad cold) but pretty good once we braved diving in.  However, it seemed most people seemed to prefer to bronze themselves on the shore so we had the ocean to ourselves. We decided against the tourist priced restaurants in town for dinner and instead found great little street vendors selling cheap tamales and fajitas and we spent the evening exploring and eating our way around the small town.  It had a very laid back atmosphere and was nice to stroll around at night along the beaches.
Reeling one in...
The 8kg barra!
Monday was designated as Dave’s belated birthday day and we were up and ready at 8am to head off for 4 hours of fishing fun.  We boarded Captain Pancho’s boat and headed out to sea.  We actually didn’t really head out far at all before the first mate Leo (there was only the four of us on the boat) had out rods baited and we were set up and trawling.  We looked a bit dubiously at each other as the water was really shallow and we were so close to shore we could see people sun baking, but sure enough only a couple of minutes later Sarah was reeling in her first barracuda of the day.  It put up a decent fight on the way in and she was quite proud of it when Pancho hooked it and bought it onto the boat.  However, when we asked if it was a big one he looked very doubtful but said it was a good start, and then promptly clubbed it to break it’s back and give it a quick death. 

Dave's proud catch
Enjoying the day
It wasn’t long before Dave followed suit, proudly snagging a bigger barracuda, but then even better he caught a yellow fin snapper which Pancho told us was much better eating than barracudas even though they are smaller.  As we worked our way slowly into deeper waters Sarah reeled in 3 more barracudas and Dave caught another yellow fin.   Around 12pm we turned the boat around and started heading back in, but on the way Sarah caught the biggest fish of the day, an 8kg barracuda that really put a fight coming in! It was noticeably larger than the other 5 barras we already had and even Pancho seemed a bit impressed with our last catch.

Back on shore we were allowed to choose what fish we wanted to take to have freshly cooked for lunch, Pancho recommended the big barracuda and the two yellow fins so we took his advice and he promptly sold our other 5 barras to waiting restaurants.  Pancho was right about the yellow fin, all the chef did was deep fry it and it was delicious and made great fajitas, and the barracuda was great as well.  It tastes twice as good when you’ve caught it yourself J
Our feast

After our feast it was back on the ferry to cross over to Cancun for our last night in Mexico before the next leg of our journey – Las Vegas.  It wasn’t a long last night as we were up at 3am to get to the airport in time for our early morning flight out….


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