Day 7: Catching the big one Yikes!
Well since yesterday was a "down" day...today will be a little more interesting and active. This is something that I had thought about booking prior to coming and I had talked to a tour company prior to coming to the island about it. I thought it would be something Sakari would enjoy, but I just wasn't 100% confident enough to book then. After discussing it with Sakari last night, she said "YES!!! BOOK IT!" So, I got in touch with the tour company and told them I was interested in booking. We talked back and forth in text for awhile and then I ask if they had anything for the next day and I awaited for their answer. We would keep our fingers crossed and then we went to bed (all yesterday).
I got up this morning and checked for any messages instantly. They had answered and said they would be able to book us today (but ask that we come in early to put down a deposit).
So what are we doing today? We are going fishing!!! In the ocean!!! Sakari absolutely LOVES to fish. I used to fish when I was young and loved it. Sakari picked up fishing several years ago when some of the kids in the neighborhood was fishing in our neighborhood pond on our street. She didn't have a fishing pole so being the creative child she has always been, she made her own. As she got a little older, she finally got a fishing pole and started fishing with friends. But...not in the ocean!!! This was going to be something totally new and exciting!
So back to my conversation with the tour company...deposit? Why would I need to come in to put down a deposit? Wouldn't I just be coming in to pay in full since we are going today? They told me "normally we have people put a deposit down the day before". Um ok... "So are you saying we are NOT going today?" They confirmed that they would be taking us out today. But we needed to come and put down a deposit. Uh, I was so confused because they kept repeating about putting a deposit down the day before. But we figured we'd have some breakfast and head there to either put a "deposit" down or pay in full.
We got ready and headed out to find a place for breakfast. I knew exactly where I wanted to go and a place that everyone recommended from the Isla group.
We drove over to Mango Cafe. Once we arrived "una mesa para tres personas por favor" I told them. They took us upstairs and seated us. There was a guy up there in the corner playing music with his guitar and there were a lot of people up there.
Something I knew I wanted to try was again, something that the couple I watch on youtube says is amazing and they get it all the time. This would be chilaquiles. I really didn't know how I was going to feel about it, but I was up for new things this vacation so why stop now? One of the other things that everyone talks about having at this particular place was the stuffed portobello pepper. I know it looked amazing! The family decided they wanted the breakfast quesadilla.
I think I waited until the very moment that the waiter came over to take our order and I just blurted out "chilaquiles con verde salsa". Whew, did I just do that? Was I really going for something like that? Ok, we're doing it! Like it or not. I hoped that I wouldn't regret this decision. Wait...should I change it to the stuffed pepper instead? Ekkk!
So moment of truth...the food came out and it was a nice presentation but the first thing I noticed was the over easy egg on top. Oops! I completely forgot to ask how the eggs came. I don't like things that are "not cooked all the way" for the most part and that includes eggs. Totally my fault for not checking.
Mi esposo y hija had their quesadillas come out and my goodness they were HUGE! They looked delicious. Like is that really only 1 tortilla?
So I tried my meal and a few twirls and swishes in my mouth...hmmm, it was awkward to know I was eating breakfast and there were "chips" involved. The verde salsa was very sweet and there was a lot of it. It was saturating the chips so I guess that makes it seem less like you are crunching on your meal? It was good...well ok...but I'm not quite sure it was my cup of tea. I'm not sure I would order it again. I really wished I would have ordered the pepper. I know I would have enjoyed that a little more.
Meanwhile, I'm watching the fam truly enjoying their food and I'm sure they caught some drool coming out of the side of my mouth, and I wasn't trying to be obvious, I swear I wasn't, but it was just happening. So Sakari couldn't eat all of hers of course and offered me some. I had given up on my meal at this point. The more I ate of it, the more I started to not enjoying it as much as I did when I took my first bite. "Gracias hija!" Sharing is caring! Te amo hija!
"La cuenta, por favor" (In case you don't know how to pronounce this, it is said like La Quinta...just like the hotel chain. Something we always remember when we say it).
Our meal came to $549.00...just kidding... that's pesos, which comes to around $27 or if you were paying in US it would be $30.50.
Sakari was in a hurry to get going.
A short little video of Mango Cafe inside and out. It's a very pretty place and great service.
Ok, time to head to the tour guides office and clarify our fishing trip. When we arrived they said we would go out fishing at 1pm and to come back and meet them there at that time. I told them I just wanted to pay in full. There was no reason to just put down a deposit and come back in a few hours to pay the rest. However, we ran into an issue...they didn't accept a credit card? I didn't bring cash because I didn't realize that's how they wanted paid. What kind of company doesn't accept a cc? It was weird. We ended up having to use paypal to pay them. Because paypal charges fees, they made us pay an extra $15. So the total for the 4 hour fishing trip would come to $265.00.
So we were heading back home to wait out our time. They said they needed a few hours to get the boat prepared and get everything we would need.
Along the way, I wanted to stop by the Rainbow stairs and get some pictures.
Now you have to check out this video of La Gloria. It has the rainbow stairs in it...but there's another surprise. What they did to the middle of the road. So cute and so many ideas. The end of the video was us heading back home along the east coast...backwards.
When we got back, Sakari informed me that she had "summer homework" to do. Say what? Since when? Well since we were on vacation during the open house at her new high school, we missed out on everything they gave the kids...which included summer homework that they told them they needed to complete and hand in the first day of school. Well isn't this going to be interesting seeing how we come back very late the night before she starts school. I guess we had our work cut out for us since it all involved things like the eco system and other things that would involve...travel for a unique twist on homework projects you didn't know you had.
We left around 12:30 to head back into town and I spotted another one of the lighthouses. Isla Mujeres has 3 lighthouses on the island. This one is dab smack in the middle of town!
We found a parking spot right in front of where we needed to be. We walked in and then walked right back out and we were walking to the beach again. Where is the transportation in this town? It's hot out and I'm fluffy with a bad leg. Whew!
We made it to the beach and climbed aboard a small fishing boat and off we went.
They told us it would be about 20 minutes out to the reef as we headed toward Cancun. I felt like it was a lot longer than that. Then guy in the back started setting up the fishing rods, putting bait on them and casting them out once we arrived at our destination.
Then he would eventually put them in the rod holders on the back of the boat. We would continue to drive the boat around the area. Sakari was looking at me kinda weird like "When do I get to fish and when are we stopping?" I just shrugged my shoulders because I had no idea how this all worked.
Then immediately there was a bite. He motioned for Sakari to come over and told her to reel it in. She sat down and "attempted" to reel it in. It was a bit of a struggle because the reel was stripped from the rod and it kept twisting and moving as she tried to wind it in. She sat down to put the rod between her legs to maybe help stabilize it. She was excited to see what was on the end of it.
Once she pulled it in, it was a barracuda. YIKES! He had us back up as it flopped around on the boat floor. Then the unthinkable happened...he took a large wooden stick and beat it in the head until it stopped moving. It was violent. The look on Sakari's face broke my heart. She was shocked and I could tell it didn't sit right with her. Of course she knows they are going to die but it was just weird and of course we've never experienced anything like that before. We were caught off guard on how they do all of this. I mean it makes sense since they have to get it in the cooler somehow. But man was it brutal.
They ask if she'd like to have a picture with it and showed her how to hold the bloody fish. She put on a brave face and smiled for the camera.
After that, the guy baited the rod up and threw it back out in the ocean and put it on the holder again. The hubby got up to speak to him and told him he'd like for Sakari to be bating her own rod and casting it out. He told him "I'd like for her to do it all".
It wasn't long before there was another bite and he picked up the rod and handed it to Sakari again. She struggled trying to pull it in as the reel swung around the rod. He told her to put her arm up against the reel to stabilize it and reel it in. It was hard for her to try to hold it in place and reel something big in at the same time. Faulty equipment. They need to get this fixed! She was putting the rod between her lets, putting her arm up against the rod and reel and trying to wind it in at the same time. It was super awkward.
It was another barracuda. As it flopped around on the boat floor, he took out the large thick stick and hit it several times in the head. Sakari stood back and turned her head while trying to cope with this and I watched her expression. I wasn't sure what to do. I went over and ask her how she felt about it and if she was ok. She said "I just wasn't expecting this but I'm ok." I think she was just not wanting to say anything.
He baited up the rod again, still not letting her do everything like the hubby had told him, then threw the line back out. Then he turned to her and put some type of fishing belt on her that you could put the end of the rod into it to hold it.
That may help hold the rod, but it wasn't going to fix the spinning problem.
We were boating around the reef. It took awhile to get another bite. He was telling the captain go over there, go over there, around that area, yea there. After awhile, there was another nibble. This time on the other rod. He handed it to Sakari and she was able to reel it in with no problems. The rod didn't spin like the other. It was yet, another barracuda. A smaller one. He ended up throwing it in the cooler still wobbling around and didn't even bother to ask if she wanted a picture with it.
At this point Sakari started asking me "When is the boat going to stop?" "Are we going to park somewhere and fish?" I knew what she was talking about. She's used to fishing while being still, holding the rod in her hands to feel when there's a bite (or using a bobber) and then reeling it in. Not moving around constantly and dragging the line. It was all new to us. I told her I had no idea if they do fishing like that or if this is the only way to fish in the sea. Maybe the bait had to be moving?
I tried to ask him about it and he said "Yes, this called trolling". I couldn't get an answer out of him as to whether or not there is any fishing that you just boat out and stop and throw the line in and fish.
After awhile, there was another bite on the messed up reel line and she pulled it in. What do you think it was? Yep, another barracuda. It was a pretty big one too! You could tell by the look on her face that the beating in the head with the stick wasn't getting any easier on her but she still said she was fine.
I started asking again about the way they were fishing. He said there was a different way and put a big 5# ball on the end of one of the lines and threw it out. He said that would make the line sink to the bottom and they would drive around the reef and other fish would come out of the reef after it.
As we drove around and around the outside of the reef, not getting any bites, Sakari was complaining to me about how we were fishing and said she really didn't expect this. I ask if she wanted to stop. If she wasn't enjoying it then we could stop. I could tell that she didn't want to actually tell me that by her reactions and the way she was trying to beat around the bush about it. She said "Well, I am getting a little sea sick with the boat moving around like this." Yea, that was her excuse. We all know that none of us get "sea sick" and I knew it was her excuse to stop. I told her if she didn't want to continue, I'd let him know to take us back and tell him you are a little "sea sick" as an excuse...not that we needed one...it was my $265 I paid for a 4 hour trip.
I let him know that we were probably done and she was a little "sea sick" and wanted to head back. He said they would head back but continued to fish and drive around the reef. Finally there was another bite and they told her to pull it in. What do you think it was? Nope, you guessed wrong. This time it was a Red Tail Moon Snapper! Wow! Something different. He kept saying "Very nice, good meat!" He seemed really happy about this fish for some reason.
Sakari was happy there was no head bashing with this fish.
Sakari said she really enjoyed the ride there and the ride back. For someone who was feeling sea sick, this is not something you would say right? LOL
On the way back we were asking them about the fish. They said if we wanted to take one with us and go have it prepared and cooked we could. I ask about them making ceviche. He said we could pick out a fish and have a restaurant make us some. Wait, this isn't what I discussed with the owner from the very beginning back when I first started talking to him and he offered the trip. He told me that they would make fresh ceviche out of one of the fish we caught. I had spoke to multiple tour guides who had also said that they would prepare fresh ceviche out of the fish you caught. His response was that "normally people who do our fishing trips will allow us to take the fish home and feed our families and neighbors with it." Um ok, I just paid $265 to go out and catch your family dinner for tonight. I don't mind (and expected) to let you have the fish caught. I mean what was I going to do with it? But when I'm told we would get ceviche prepared with one of them, that's what I expect. I would like to be able to say we ate fish we actually caught ourselves on vacation. He got on the phone with his brother (the one I talked to) and he said no that we could take it somewhere. I started complaining because I had in text to prove what he had told me!
When we arrived back at the dock, they told us to go to the little stand by it and they would bring the fish to it. We waited and waited and you could see that he was on the phone with someone...probably his brother expressing my complaints about not getting ceviche.
They finally came with the fish and laid them out on the table. I felt a little weird about this because on that same table someone was working on a boat propeller and it smelled like straight oil there. Um, ok.
Here was her catch for the day:
And the biggest barracuda caught today
Everyone was stopping by and taking pictures of the fish as they went down the dock.
So he told me he knew nothing about making ceviche and didn't get anything to make it with and got his brother on the phone and then handed the phone to me. Roberto (the owner) told me "ceviche is not included in the $250 fishing trip". "Um...yes, yes it was because you said so and let me read to you what you told me. I have it in my text!" We argued back and forth and I do not usually like confrontation but this was really pissing me off. We didn't stay out the full 4 hours, saving them not only time but gas in their boat and they were not willing to live up to what they promised.
He told me that I could pick out a fish, and go have the restaurant located there by the dock, make ceviche for us for 200 pesos. So this was now going to cost me even more money. So the brother went over to the restaurant to talk to them about making our ceviche. Then came back and told me "They said they would do it for 250 pesos", which then ended up being around $12.44 US if you break it down. I told him that was fine and then he mentions..."That's 250 pesos EACH PERSON!!!" Now I was pissed. Totally and utterly pissed! I had half a mind to just gather up all the fish and take them with me and not allow them to take any home type of pissed. I'm not feeding anyone at this point.
I told him absolutely not! I'm not paying for a $265 fishing trip and another 750 pesos (or $38) for ceviche that was supposed to be included in the fishing trip. That's ridiculous! Not to mention bad business. What a scam! You better work something out is all I have to say!
Roberto finally showed up at the dock a few minutes after that. Then the story changed up. He tells me "You should have ask about it again when you came in this morning to book." Wait, how is it my responsibility to remind you what you just told me in text? The reason they had us come in and pay a deposit in the morning was so that they could go out and buy everything needed for the trip HOURS ahead of time and get things prepared. He told me "We didn't have enough time to get everything needed for ceviche". "Ok, so you're admitting that NORMALLY you would be getting these items and it would be included in the $250 then!" He said "We needed to gas up the boat and get bait". For HOURS??? Come on. We've owned boats and jet skis, don't give me that crap. It doesn't take several hours to do all that! You had plenty of time to get everything you needed for this trip. But yet there was time for them to go to the store to buy drinks for the trip. The store didn't have what you needed to get to prepare ceviche? Get outta here!
Roberto went over to the restaurant to talk to them again. When he came back he said they were willing to take a fish and make fresh ceviche AND prepare the rest of the fish cooked in garlic sauce for $250 TOTAL. This would mean about 2 kilos of ceviche (or 4.4 pounds) but we had to take it to go. That was fine. I just want this to be all over with at this point.
So the brother ask us which fish we wanted. They persuaded us to take the barracuda. I assume because they new what a good catch the Snapper was. We weighed our choices and decided on the barracuda...ONLY because we wanted to be able to say we have eaten barracuda before. I know the snapper would have been better but at this point...whatever.
He started to prepare/fillet the barracuda for us on the table.
He would throw the parts he sliced off over into the sand and all the birds would flock over to snatch it up. Hey, everyone is getting fed off this catch.
We were sitting down at the end of the ramp to the dock, trying to stay out of the sun because it was so hot. So we were a little ways away from them. Sakari walked over to stand there and watch him prepare the fish. Of course they were all talking in Spanish with the guys that was fixing the boat propeller and I'm sure they didn't realize that Sakari has taken 3 years of Spanish and can understand certain things because she came back to let me know they were over there talking about us...as i expected...but still unprofessional.
They took the barracuda over to the restaurant and we waited for them to cook and prepare our food. Once it was done, we paid our 250 pesos and left. The bag was HEAVY and smelled so good!
We walked back toward our golf cart and for some reason the hubbys radar wasn't working today. I said go one way and he said another. Mine was right and we ended up walking several blocks the wrong way and circling around back to where I had said to turn and go down. Eventually we made it back to our Jeep and headed home.
We were so hot by the time we arrived that Sakari and I jumped in our patio pool and was cooling down before the hubby even made it to the door to unlock it and come around to the sliding glass doors to open up the house where we were. Ahhh, the water felt so good!
Ok, time to check out this meal they prepared for us for 250 pesos.
There was SO MUCH! I couldn't believe it. We had a very large tub of ceviche with sliced guacamole on the top.
We had a large portion of the garlic cooked barracuda
They also gave us tortillas and freshly made chips as well. WOW! They even included limes for us...and some hot sauce (which we usually don't do and when in Mexico, I can only imagine the fire it brings.
I could not believe all the food! And especially for that price! We were getting a whole meal, and way more than all of us could eat, for only $12.44! We just kept talking about what a cheap meal it was...until I brought up the fact that it cost us $265 on top of that to catch this meal bringing the total to $377.44....oops. Not so cheap after all right? But you pay for the experience I suppose. At least we could say that Sakari caught our meal for the day and fed us.
Ok, now that this fiasco was over, Sakari wanted to work on her "Summer homework" for a bit. We were so stuffed and didn't feel like moving at this point...and there was so much left over. I had no idea what we were going to do with it all. You can't keep ceviche. It will go bad after a few hours.
Once rested up, we headed out to the pool to cool off and play ball for awhile. We always manage to come up with new games to challenge each other.
Then Oscarita showed up (she must have smelled our fish) and we found what we were going to do with the left overs. A few of the cats showed up. We were popular tonight. Here is lovable Oscarita.
So it was getting dark and I wanted to head to the grocery store for some pop, leche and heuvos.
While at the store, we managed to also get more "goodies" since I now know how this works. Grab a plate and thongs, put your pastries on it and take it to the rude lady at the table in the middle to print you out a sticker. Yea, she wasn't any nicer this time around but at least there wasn't anyone behind us for her to motion over to help instead of helping us this time.
On the way back the hubby went a different way and we found the hospital and an entire wall dedicated to the staff. I love the art work in Isla.
The wall had all of the doctors and nurses names listed (Doctora y Enfermero)
The rest of the wall was beautiful as well. Very bright and colorful.
Around the corner was a beautiful church with stained glass windows. Church was in session and there was singing and music. It was so pretty.
We headed home and retreated to our new cooler room, but not a freezer like Sakari's, and to bed at 11:30pm.
Recap of fishing: I was glad we got to go. It was an experience that we have never had on vacation before. It wasn't what we expected but still something different. To be able to say that Sakari actually caught barracuda and snapper in the ocean was well worth it. The lies that the owner told me about preparing the fish, having to pay more money to have that done and him switching up the story...well, this is definitely a vendor I would never use again. Contoy Adventours. Do not use them. They do not keep their promises. They do other tours as well (whale shark, scuba, boating and so on).