Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dos Tiburones y Dos Angelitas

Saturday I went with my class to fish with the new program, Pescando Vivencial. The morning started off great, us 8 students were pumped to catch a big one. A local restaurant named Deep Blue (owned by one of my many host uncles on the island) was going to cook it for our dinner that evening. Our first bite bent the line and Carolyn jumped up and strapped on a belt with a holder for the pole, that way she could hold the line and reel in as fast as she could. Try as she did, she wasn't fast enough, because a lobo came up and munched our catch, lure and all. This was a disappointment, as the sea lions just swim with the boat and are obviously waiting for us to catch anything. What lazy little stinkers they can be! We fished many different areas, but didn't have anymore nibbles. Finally, much later in the morning, we had two bites at once! Both of the fishermen turned tour guides grabbed the poles and tried to reel them in quickly. To all of our dismay, two black-tipped sharks snagged these fish, but also bit down on the giant hooks. For the next twenty minutes or so, the professional fishermen struggled and fought with these sharks, about five and a half feet long, splashing and squirming on the end of the line which can hold up to 350 lbs. Finally, one fisherman was able to cut the line, freeing the shark. The second one was hooked and the lure pried from it's giant mouth. I saw it's eye, a white-ish grey orb that seemed to gaze at nothing. The shark was freed and released and the fisherman cheered and wiped the sweat from his forehead: he had saved his lure, with only gills left. We had no more bites that day, but luckily for us, the other boat with students had caught a wahoo and a tuna, so we would have something to eat with our rice that night for dinner. It wasn't until then that I heard a superstition about having bananas on boats. Apparently this is terrible luck, not just for fishing, but for anything to go wrong. "Well, that explains alot," I commented, as I recollected all of us happily chewing on the bananas earlier that morning, wondering why there were not more bites on our lines. It was an amazing experience, and so scary to see the sharks that close. Now I understand why the fishermen have resorted to long-line fishing and other newer techniques, in order to catch anything and not be robbed by sea lions and sharks. 
Monday night was the kickoff of this week's XMAS activities put on by the tourism chamber, who my father and sister are members of. I helped my sister for two days painting large cardboard candy canes and mistletoe cutouts, stuffed about 500 small grab bags of candy for the kiddos, and made little votive candles with plastic soda bottles. That night me and my friend Jazmine dressed as angelitas with white dresses, paper wings and garland halos and held votive candles and walked in the parade, behind a very unhappy white horse pulling a carriage with about twenty kids piled on. Afterwards we went to a cafe and sat at the bar to have a beer. Even more pictures, as everyone wants to take a picture with an angelita and her beer mug. 
After the parade there was a holiday cartoon shown in the square and my family dished up hot chocolate and bread for everyone who came. Last night all the different elementary schools presented their handmade ornaments for the city tree. Tonight I am face painting after class, I have been practicing my tree and star shapes, I hope I can get it right...