Long winded, photo loaded post alert – I just couldn’t narrow down the awesomeness any more!
Since we began splitting our time between Arizona and Puerto Rico, one thing that has stood out as a challenge is spending time with family. Growing up, I built wonderful relationships with my grandparents. We spent a week of each summer vacation going up to the Mogollon Rim to fish and hike and explore. These are some of my favorite childhood moments and I’ve always wished my kids could enjoy the same experiences that I did because these are the most valuable things we carry through life. This past weekend, my dad was able to visit us in Humacao, Puerto Rico and we did what I’d say was an A+ job of making some awesome memories!
We fed ducks.
We read lots of books, and cuddled.
But the real goal of the trip was for Grandpa to be here for Clay to catch his first fish. And man, did we make some awesome fishing memories!! After some unsuccessful shore fishing attempts before Grandpa arrived, we decided our best bet was to charter a boat out of Palmas del Mar. We were stood up by our first charter company, but at the very last minute Captain Bill Burleson and his beautiful ship, the Karolette, a 40+ Bertram came to the rescue and gave us a great experience! Here we are on the bridge of the boat – itching to get out on that blue water!
I think it’s safe to say this is the face of the happiest little boy on earth!! *side note: this is probably the coolest life jacket ever. We snatched it up at West Marine and it was money well spent. He wants to wear it all the time. Safe happy kid, happy relaxed mama!
We even got a little snuggle time in on the boat ride out to the sea mount! If you’re like me -I had no idea what that meant until last weekend. It’s an underwater mountain. And fish LOVE them and the kelp beds that surround them.
We were told we had an opportunity to catch Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Marlin, and a few other sport fishing species. The captain set us up with five lines in the water and we troll fished the sea mount. I would reel in the first bite, and Clay the second. It took us about an hour to get the first hit – what a rush!! And then….. Dinner!
I’m told at 5lbs, he’s a little bigger than the average black fin tuna taken from that area. Pretty proud of my pretty (and yummy!) fish. Then it was Clay’s turn. We spent the better part of three hours trolling around the mount trying to get another hit. Just as we were about to turn back and head to shore, there was a HUGE hit on one of our lines! Grandpa and Clay got situated in the fighting chair (a special seat with a foot board designed to keep you in the boat when fighting big game fish) and got to work!
This was absolutely the highlight of my day. The highlight of my week. The highlight of my Spring. Watching my dad help my son reel in his first fish! We were hopeful for another tuna, or maybe a marlin, mostly because we’re the type that believes if you catch/hunt it – it should be dinner and not wasted life. Even though we release those we catch, there is always a risk of shock to the animal. After fighting the fish in we discovered we were going to be in a catch and release situation because my little dude’s first fish was…… *drumroll please*…..
Guess one of those super cute “kissing his first fish” photos was sort of out, so we had to let the Captain’s mate hold him for us instead for a quick photo op before sending this little guy home to the ocean! He was small for a barracuda – about 4 feet long.
In the end – we were undeniably successful in making some lifelong memories and capturing some special photos to hang on Grandpa’s brag wall and add to Clay’s scrapbook. Whether or not fishing is your thing, I hope what you can get from this is that the most valuable things you can give your children aren’t iPads or cell phones or game consoles – they’re memories.
I’d love to hear your stories! What are your favorite ways to bond with loved ones?
Love and Light ,