Turks and Caicos is home to the third largest reef in the world; The Great Barrier Reef is the largest, followed by the Belize. The water along the island drops off to more than 10,000 feet and is home to thousands upon thousands of fish, drawing visitors from all over the world, eager to dive and snorkel.
This is wonderful news if you’re a diver. In this case, however, my beloved husband had anticipated a vacation filled with hours roaming the flats, catching bonefish, but we have unexpectedly found ourselves on an island almost completely protected by a Nature and Marine Park. No fishing allowed.
Ordinarily I would applaud this achievement, and be heartened the island officials had the wisdom to protect what makes it special, but a husband toting a fly rod to an island where he can’t fish, unless he hires a very expensive guide to take him miles away, does not a happy vacationing husband make.
Alas, Jim hired a man who boated us through choppy seas, to the mangroves of a small island some seven miles away . As the small skiff slapped each wave and concurrently my rear end, I wistfully, and with considerable confusion, admired all the desirable fishing spots we passed on our relentless trek to the happy hunting grounds.
The flats where the bonefish hide are no more than a couple feet deep. This is where the guide polls us silently along, as we stalk the very elusive, and nearly invisible bonefish. Jim tells me this is his favorite part. This is good, as I’ve witnessed how challenging they are to actually catch…assuming you see one. Nothing my husband likes to do is easy….. why is that? The wind whipped us around while the guide barked orders at Jim to throw his line out this way and that, as he scouted the fish from a pedestal at the stern of his skiff. In powerful wind, Jim tried to throw his fly here and then there, similar to throwing a feather into the wind. It’s difficult, and after an hour, exasperating…and after more barked unrequested advice, unkind thoughts surely crossed his mind.This is a bonefish. Not a delicacy…. hence its name.
Carrying large rocks across the ocean floor yesterday, and trying to throw a feathery fly into the wind today…. this is what some suspiciously call vacation.