Tag Archives: fishing


14 Jun

While fishing on the Zambezi River, I turned around from the boat’s railing and saw my pink wallet suddenly being shoved back into my purse. At first, with the bright sun, I wasn’t quite sure what I had seen, but then I realized one of the two local fishing guides intended to steal money from my wallet while the other man was the look-out. Usually one for confronting mistreatment right away, I paused, realizing the two of us were alone on this fishing venture in the middle of the Zambezi River with the two guides. These were desperate times in Zimbabwe, with the continuing pillaging and mismanagement of the economy by President Robert Mugabe, not to mention his human rights atrocities.

Almost worthless ten million Zimbabwe dollars

When we were in Zimbabwe, we were given local paper currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in the amount of “Ten Million Dollars,” which at the time was worth a mere 66 cents. There was even an expiration date on the bill. It continued to depreciate so much that this past week Zimbabwe took their currency out of circulation. One can now exchange 35000000000000000 Zimbabwean dollars for $1 U.S.

A guide at the elephant refuge center explained to us that before Mugabe took power Zimbabwe had better employment rates and quality of living; the ongoing deteriorating economic status of Zimbabwe’s citizens made things even harder for those who compare their current situation to their lot in the past. We were told that many Zulu were killed by Mugabe. Some of the Zulu warriors danced and sang for our tour group at the grand, colonial Victoria Falls Hotel. (I plan to later post video of their performance.)

As these thoughts quickly raced through my mind while on the fishing boat, I decided to casually meander over to my purse at the back of the boat, pretend to need my lip balm from it, and then carry it to the front of the boat where we were fishing. The river has a number of dangerous animals including hippos and crocodiles, and I feared if we confronted the two men that they might be desperate to protect their precious livelihood. We tried to look nonchalant while continuing to fish.

IMG_1006We were supposed to take a sunset Steam Train across the Victoria Falls Bridge over the thunderous, misty falls, but the train wasn’t running due to the inability to pay for needed parts. Our tour had also scheduled a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls. If they couldn’t get parts for a train, I wondered about the maintenance of the helicopter. So that is one of the reasons we instead opted for the unique opportunity to fish on the Zambezi River. That option may have been no safer than the helicopter ride. In both cases, we and all of our tour companions ended up safely back at The Victoria Falls Hotel where we watched the colorful sunset, flanked by mist from the Victoria Falls on one side and the baboons running around the grounds and up the walls of the old grand dame hotel.


3 May

Swimming with nurse sharks

Chowing down on the day’s catches as the sun set on the beach was a satisfying end to our private boat adventure inside the reef off Ambergris Caye, Belize.  Especially rewarding was catching the reef fish used to make the ceviche and diving for the conch as well as the lobsters from Captain Tony’s secret, personal traps.

During our regular family trips to Ambergris Caye, we always book a day with Tony Calderon for snorkeling, fishing, and lobster-hunting. Being a lifelong resident, Tony and other captains like him, know the best uncrowded spots for reef activities. While the four of us fished with varying success, Tony masterfully pulled up one fish after another by lowering the fishing line by hand with only hook and bait attached. All the while he cheerfully helped us with bait or snagged lines.

20150113_142150After fishing, we snorkeled with the vibrantly-colored reef fish and then swam with rays and harmless nurse sharks. We learned how to identify which shells had living conch and which did not. Diving for lobsters was teamwork with attention to making sure not to get “clawed” while tossing the lobsters in the boat. At the end of the outing, we relaxed with drinks while Tony started a fire with coconut husks in the old-halved barrel where he planned to cook the lobster. When the coconuts collapsed the rusted out bottom, undaunted, he laughed and flipped it over, using the lid to finish cooking the lobster and sides. The only disappointment was I’ve yet to get Tony’s famous, secret lobster sauce recipe, although  I did get a photo of the ingredients he used.20150113_140401