The Sei Whale

It doesn’t happen often, seeing a whale up close to shore.
When it does, it is usually a bad sign.
Something is wrong.

They think the whale came into the bay
Chasing food.
She is two-toned, metallic and grayish blue.
White underneath.
If you swam beneath her, looking up to the sky,
I imagine it would be a barley visible ghost that would cruise,
50km/hr over your back.
They are the fastest cetaceans, you know.
Looking down, from the bow of the ship that hit her,
Her dark skin probably blended into the water below.
A flying shadow.

I wonder if they felt it,
The short shudder
As the ship’s rudder
dug through her skull?
Maybe it didn’t even register.
If it did, what is running through their mind now,
With the news crews recording,
People chatting,
Children asking?
A job is a job.
These things happen.
That whale shouldn’t have been in the Bay,
Anyway.

_________________________

The whale is just down the road from us. It is an odd feeling. Fascinating to see such a large animal up close, beautiful even. It is sad to see an endangered species washed up on the shore, dead.

Here is a piece from the local news..

By Allison T. Williamsatwilliams@dailypress.com / 757-247-4535Compiled






NORFOLK – A 42-foot dead whale washed up near 1st View Street in the Ocean View section of Norfolk around daybreak Sunday morning, according to the Virginia Aquarium.
The aquarium’s Stranding Response Team is reporting that the male sei whale has a deep 1.5-foot gash on the back of its head, which fractured thewhale’sskull, said Susan Barco, the aquarium’s senior scientist. It also has traces of orange and brown paint or rust on its head, an indicator that it was probably hit by a ship or boat.
After efforts to move the whale failed Sunday, the stranding team secured him and will get an excavator to move him on Tuesday, Barco said. Based on its condition, Barco estimated that the 20-ton animal was killed within the past two days.
The stranding team will do a necropsy – an animal autopsy – on Tuesday to further investigate the whale’s health prior to the accident, Barco said. The stranding team will monitor the whale throughout the holiday weekend, Barco said.”
 source is here.

Here are some photos I grabbed today. 

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New Video: Ugly Fishing on a Nice Day

Beaver Creek beat me up. She stole my flies and what little pride I had. Fortunately, Kevin and John managed some fish. Though, even the one rainbow I caught on camera has a mangled jaw, torn up gill plate and a chomp out of its back. Was it a hawk? Heron? Ninja? That being said, it was a gorgeous day. Maybe a little too nice (sunny and breezy). 
One of my goals for the trip was to work on smoother/steadier filming. I think I accomplished that. I used a tripod, which I have never done. I also used a different setting on the GoPro to get wide angle shots and save memory. 
Lastly, I decided to provide my own music for this video and skip the copyright infringement. 

Every Morning.

Let this morning be good to you all.
The Sun is shining here
And even if you have gray skies,
The sun is shinning above the clouds too.

In the mornings my mind wanders, meanders seems more accurate.
A slow stroll through events to come
Stopping to follow a tangent every now and then.
I wonder when we’ll here the completion of EMB‘s bamboo stories?
Dress. Toast. Coffee. Computer.
Nope. No new updates. 
What is she doing leaving us hanging like this?
Let’s see, at work by 8am? I still have time.
Has any thing floated down the Poudre for us to enjoy?
The exam is next week. I think I’m on track for a passing grade.
Did I really see suckers and trout in YGF‘s latest video?
Oil change today.
We need more milk.
Any Owls to investigate?
Dentist appointment next week.
Just one more site before I head off. But which one?
Stripped Pajamas?
OBN?
Is that the time?
Late.

Cast ‘n Swim in Warmer Waters

We seek refuge in the warmer waters of southern countries when the winters begin to drag. Fly rod in tow, I tried my hand at tropical fish. We snorkeled and SCUBA dived to find the ones we didn’t catch. If you keep your eyes peeled at 3:42, you’ll see my elusive Permit swimming through the frame. 
Now, stop watching and go catch some fish. 
*Note, I spelled the band’s name wrong in the video. They are “Hey Marseilles.”

A FlyFishilicious Care Package

A couple goodies arrived today in the mail from FlyFishilicious. I’ve been looking for a new hat and this fishpond cap has already cozied up upon my noggin.

Additionally, I though I would share with you a tool I love uing on the water. It is the Ty-Rite Fish hook holder. I’ve got and orange one hanging off my lanyard thanks to the gift from by big bro. $10.00 at cabelas online. I’m sure you could find them elsewhere. But honestly, I love this thing. It hooks your fly the way a bobber hooks onto your snoopy pole. If you have it attached to you body somewhere, you can just let it drop and not worry about losing that size 20 midge in the water or grass at your feet.

Teva, My Feet Thank You

If not at work or running, I spend most of the summer in bare feet. The same has even been said when I wade in warmer waters. For Christmas I got some Teva wet wading shoes. I put them to work last week in Mexico while walking on sharp shoreline rocks. I even wore them to dinner a couple times because they were so comfortable. So I guess what I am trying to say is, Teva, my feet thank you.

The Surprises May Surprise You

We are back, safe and sound, recovering from the vacation.  It’s funny how a vacation far away (which usually seems more appealing) tends to leave you more tired than one spent at home.

Late last summer, we planned a trip with friends to stay in one of those all-inclusive resorts in the Yucatan Peninsula. The thought was, it will be the most hassle-free option and therefore give us the most relaxing vacation. This was mostly true. However, by the end of the trip, I think we all recognized what we gave up by choosing the all-inclusive. We lost some freedom and the joy of discovering things on our own while having a catered variety of diverse food, drinks and activities delivered to our door.

I’m not trying to complain. It was an awesome trip. An absolute blast. I think I just learned something about myself. When it comes to vacationing, for me, it is like fishing. I am happier to catch the one fewer fish that I spent more time and energy seeking out than the buffet of fish from predictable and easily accessible waters. I want to feel like I earned it.

Okay, so now to answer your question. Did I fish? Yes. Did I fly fish? Yes. Did I get a guide? No. What did you catch? Oh, this is where you’ll have to wait. I have to put together the video 🙂

Ha. I’m kidding. The first morning I woke at six AM and went straight for the shore. It was a pretty rocky shore with lots of surrounding reef. I am so thankful I brought my wet wading shoes. My feet would have been shredded salami without them.

I walked up about a mile to another bay. I was carrying a small box of flies, some I borrowed, some I tied and two rods loaned from my buddy, a more experienced salt water fly fisher.

At first I pulled out the eight weight and began casting a crazy charlie blindly into the Caribbean blue water. I was getting used to the intermediate weight line alternating between fast an slow retrievals when I pulled up my line to cast it out again. Their was a disproportionate splash for the line that came out of the water so I looked a little harder at the spot fifteen feet in front of me. I saw a flash of a large silvery body with the build and size of a boxy pillow and a large, black, sickled tail. I could see it clearly. This was a permit. One of the trophies many salt water fisherman seek. And this one was seriously as big as my torso.

In the split second it took for me to recognize what I just saw and to simultaneously crap my pants, I began to cast my fly to lead the permit. It didn’t matter. I had obviously spooked the fish as it blasted away from me leaving a large wake.

I really couldn’t have expected to hook, let alone see a trophy fish within my first few minutes of fishing in Mexico. I’m sure it was just coincidence the fish was near my fly. There is no way it was actually interested. Right?

Anyway, I was elated. The morning’s hike, with no prior knowledge of the area and no experience tropical fly fishing had resulted in a sweet sighting.

I slowly made my way back, casting here and there, switching flies intermittently, and looking for fish.

As I got back to our hotel area, I realized these waters were the most similar to the flats I read about and had seen in many fishing videos. I greedily pushed out the memory of a “be careful of the reef” sign and carefully waded out to begin casting.

A short tangent here, I did (and still do) feel guilty about wading around the reef. I am fully aware of the damage an errant step or kick can cause to coral, so even though I was being as careful as possible, like abstinence, the only truly safe thing for the reef would have been for me not to wade there at all.

Anyway, I began casting to the edges of rocks, slowly retrieving a small shrimp-like puff I had tied. It wasn’t ten minutes before I caught my first two reef fish. I don’t know the species, but one seemed similar to the croaker I catch here in Virginia.

Ten minutes after that, while slowly retrieving the fly through a flat, I set the hook on a lively fish. It weaved back and forth, testing my drag, finally surfacing to show me its slender body, silvery armor and white belly. I laughed out loud (I now realize I do this a lot while fishing). I had hooked my fist bonefish, and a minute later, I had landed my first bonefish. It was gorgeous.

I honestly thought about quitting right there. Even though I hadn’t sight fished for this guy, I had done it. I had caught a fish so many people obsess over. One of the big name tropical fish. The one carp fisherman tend to site when they are trying to convince other fly fisherman of the validity of their catch.

After getting my video, releasing the fish and trying to wash off the semen-like substance left all over my hands and shorts from the fish (no one tells you about that, bonefish are covered in a nasty slime), I began casting again. I caught a couple more bonefish, but the next best thing that happened was spotting a swimming trigger fish. Just cruising along, I got it to follow my fly and take it on the second cast. Trigger fish can fight. It took a couple big runs and then the fly came out. After that, I was done. I felt complete. Accomplished.

I fished a couple more times over the next few days landing a few more fish. I even hiked back to the far bay in search of that permit with no luck.

I expected to be surprised by the all-inclusive resort, but I didn’t expect to long for the less-inclusive. Additionally, I hoped I would see some fish and maybe catch one, but I didn’t expect to catch several bonefish, sight fish a trigger fish, and spot a huge permit. Even though I had anticipated and hoped for some of these things, I was still surprised at how it all worked out. There is something to be said about being surprised. Sometimes you work hard all day to find fish, and get nothing. Surprise. Sometimes you plan on catching nothing and come away with more than you had hoped. Surprise. Either way, it seems it is the surprises that make the experience memorable and not the predictability.

Surprisingly, this taste of bonefish has now given me the craving for carp.