Well fishing and food lovers, here is my January trip report…
The fishing scene, not the best conditions these dates. Cold fronts were moving in and out for ten days, never have seen it this bad in four and half years on all my monthly visits coming to San Pedro. High winds and rain, while not all day, and most only lasted half hour put a damper on some days.
Day #1 we fish with Clifford and Eric... two nice guys who like to have fun. Again, weather not the best. We fish in the back channels and reef, and dare not to even go near. Rough water... we catch a nice mess of snapper, including a nice cuda (see photo). As we got hungry and this is a Sunday and my friends slept in, we started out late 9 am, very late for me, but so be it. By 1 pm we head over to Caye Caulker to go to Rainbow which sits on the water, a nice view. I do my Captain Jeff thing and order family style. I ask if anyone wants something different before I give him the Captain Jeff nod. Nobody says a thing, as if to say, if it is not broken, do not fix it. First course is seafood nachos, lots of melted cheese,salsa the nachos filled with all shrimp, lobster, fish, squid, etc., and extra chips. A great starter for all to share. Next was a platter of fresh grilled lobster/shrimp, garlic shrimp, fries, slaw on the side. Their only choice in this meal was your drink choice. Mine was Lighthouse, a new friend drinks Lighthouse, so I drink Lighthouse. Some order Belikin. As this is lunch we are stuffed, no dessert. We leave the dock, fish a little more, and go back to my condo at Royal Palm to chill as the sun shined most of the day, a great R/R Sunday.
Next trip out was three days after as conditions were not good enough to fish. If was a tourist I would have waited for the weather each morining to clear and gone out and would have caught some fish weather turned nice and sunny, each afternoon but I go all the time and like am fishing and i look at the clouds and wind and rain . and I say the juice was not worth the squeeze another day .The next day I went out with the legend Captain Abel Guerrero. Like other my buddy Captain Pete Graniel, another old man of the sea. It is me, Johnny B, my neighbor and very good new young friend. I am his mentor and chat always about life. I love the young man, he listens and his heart is good as gold. His wife and young son have become an added joy of me coming down each month. Also on the boat were my best friends Collette and Maya, both also my neighbors. I could right a post just on them, as they are so cool and genuine loving buddies, but will move on as it would consume the day. Captain Abel takes us out again to the south channels end of island. First stop nothing, not a bite??????? Second stop, two bites of nothing??? What's the deal Captain? Ok Jeff plan B, we head to one of his secret spots and anchor, he throws in cut up sardine for chum and wham bam thank you ma’am. The fish are jumping in the boat, while not literally, but one after the other. We only are keeping nice, big fish. It is 1030 now. We left as we waited for the front to pass. We have a bucket full to clean, about 120 snapper, plus ten small grouper to keep alive to toss back in the sea by our homemade reef under our dock. We keep the fish as we feed everybody who needs a fish and does not have money to buy!!!!! Good thing anyway, as the black cloud of bad weather is fast coming. We put up the top and the ship hits the fan as we are heading home. Wind, rain, all hell breaks loose. We anchor up as we all huddle together. Abel tells us a classic story I thought I would share with you about 1960 Hurricane Hattie, with his permission. In 1960, on one November day, a special lucky day, thanks to God, he and other local boys are out diving near Turneffe/Half Moon area and are starting to go to go to Belize to sell their catch. They are out, I think six days, living on this sail boat, diving, spearing fish, catching lobster. They work all day sleep on deck, no shower, and cook from a small stove. Anyway, they are very close to Belize City. The water is dead still. The Captain, an older man maybe 35 years older man, wow real old, says let’s make one more stop as we will not make Belize City by nightfall. When they dove down and looked, all of the conchs were burying themselves in the sand, a telltale sign of a developing storm and doom. The boys never put two and two together. No fish around, so they go to an L-shaped channel of high trees, mangroves to tie as nightfall approaches. They talk about a shower, a good hot meal and girlfriends. Little do they know that Hurricane Hattie is heading for Belize City with a vengeance. The wind picks up and they tie more lines. The wind’s blowing 50 then 60 then all the devil comes howling out of the sky. They now know this is the real deal with 80 plus winds. No radio, it has not worked the whole trip. It would do no good anyway as the lines break loose. The small sail boat breaks loose, goes down the dead end channel which winds up saving their life. They wind up tucked high a clump of high trees. The only other boat is one man a mile up, his boat is shattered like a tooth pick. All they hear is his cry for help and by the grace of God the water blows this poor soul to their boat. He grabs hold of the side and they see him and pull him in and save his life, Adio Mio. The storm howls all night, rain wind. The Devil is out causing trouble. Night passes quickly and in the morning they are safe. Thanks to God. Belize City is a wreck. This is a great story he shared with us. I did my best to remember and share with you. A perfect way to end a “Living the Dream” day trip with Abel Guerrero.
The next trip was with friends from Monkey Bites, John and Tracy, and my friend Christina, owner of Sausage Factory. We went with Dilzion in his 30-foot reef hunter (see picture). This was again a sleep-in Sunday. All here work hard to make a living. We called for 9am out the door but we left at ten because of real fronts moving in and out. Fishing was not good as wind and rain showers were moving around, but the music was playing. His boat is rigged for serious fishing as well as fun. He is one classy guide. He is pouring champagne, and we are eating fruit he cut up. Sunning ourselves when it does come out, having a good old time, relaxing was on the day plan. The fish bite good, or they do not… who cares. We do catch fish but care more about sun. Again we do a Captain Jeff Rainbow stop at Caye Caulker, same as above, you know the drill, and have great fun. Captain Dilzion is the off-shore, or rocky point guy for big fish as his boat can do it all. We used the big boat because it is sooooooo cool, big thick cushions, stereo, fridge, and of course Dilzion, a sweet, loving man. All fishing was booked with my buddy Steve Demaio, fishingsanpedro.com, 011 -501 226 2835 . He books 7 local guides. He is their broker and takes MasterCard, a big plus. You no go, you no pay!!!!!!! All in all a fun time. While not a lot of fishing we did have quality time with friends and that’s priceless, and a great story about life thrown in as a bonus.
My restaurant report for January
Went to my favorites, Rojo Lounge for dinner, Casa Picasso for dinner, Mangoes for lunch, Cho San Chinese, Victoria House for dinner etc...
Revisted El Divino, still a class all around restaurant I take for granted. But you should not. This place is spot on for super breakfast, great lunch, and fabulous dinners. The food varies with what’s fresh and in-season but always, I mean always top notch. Tim the owner is always around keeping all on their toes to give exceptional service and nice size portions. Smiling faces and a great place for folks south. As a resort it is Captain Jeff's place for his US friends down from the states to stay when they visit him as it has two pools, outstanding amenities and makes one’s vacation seamless, all at very very reasonable prices, with a great continental breakfast thrown in. But far from continental as it includes eggs and so much more, and if you do not use your voucher or you sleep in, you can use it for lunch... a well thought out gift. We had a great 5 course seafood dinner, just wonderful, plus killer martinis from the martini end of the story!!! Well not really. Got drunk, fell down, got drunk again. I never drink, well not to excess, but the devil was out tonight. Tim the owner and angel of drunk people walked us home personally, all eight of us, quite a task. Never do remember to pay… we paid him the next day. Class guy, class operation. Try it, one of the best here.
Back again to Blue Water Grill, another place I have taken for granted. Again you should not. A five-star oasis across from Tropic Air in the Sun Breeze Hotel. This is not your hotel dining experience but gourmet fare with a Caribbean Asian kick. Wonderful appetizers, shrimp sticks with Asian black bean sauce, Asian dumplings, and fried calamari cooked just right with a wasabi sauce. Main course were grilled snook with a banana habanera, curry sauce, garlic mashed potato. We all love this dish so all six ordered it. It is that good. Also their filet mignon with a peppercorn sauce is to die for, and other dishes, the list goes on and on. Dessert was their molten chocolate flourless cake with homemade ice cream, no explanation needed here, cheese cake, and so much more. Kelly, the beautiful owner, checked on our table ten times, not because I was there. I watched her work the room she was making sure all was perfect to all her guests. My waiter and assistant waiter were smoking fast, moving and shaking. Water glasses filled, wine pouring, it was a thing of beauty, like a ballet. A candlelit evening of utopia. Thank you Blue Water.
The last report for dinner I have saved for last. Pasta La Vista, below under Cho San Chinese, across from Basketball Court. Owner Sherry has taken Pauley's Pizza and transformed it to a family style pasta Italian restaurant. Good for locals as well as tourists. This is not just another pasta place but a well thought out pasta/pizza bistro. Run, I repeat, do not walk to this place. All homemade pastas, lasagnas, the sauces are all originals from Sherry's love for true Italian cuisine. She grows her own herbs, makes the sauce with the best of meats, and uses only Sausage Factory sausage and fresh pork, real deal ingredients. We did a tasting menu, me, Steve Demaio my wing man, and another best friend on the island Collette, and Maya my neighbors and our new friend to the group who just arrived to San Pedro to work, miss July on the Belikin cover (a sweet dish in her own way, fun sharp young lady). We had dish after dish, garlic breads, stuffed breads, way too numerous to name each, with a great sauce; all just make the tongue tingle with the mix of flavors. It was a food extravaganza. The best was the end with the homemade desserts like tiramisu, coconut pie, cheese cake, had to take home. I was not going to do a food report on this lucky find and keep it to myself, but Sherry is one pretty hard working classy lady and deserves to see the place packed, and she promised me a VIP card and my own table so I shared the report with you. Go enjoy. Prices are good. Try the tasting menu, a good value. Nice clean tables not stuffy, not fancy shmancy, a great place to eat and have a good down to earth meal. And do take the kids they still have pizza …nice job Sherry thanks for bringing it to San Pedro.
The Hungry Monkey, next to sub shop was now open six days a week
next to Mickey’s and was cranking out huge subs, overstuffed with great bread, wonderful meats again from Sausage Factory, with all the trimmings. You want a great sandwich, try the place. You will be hooked. My friend’s own it, John and Tracy, a nice young couple with a vision. I had a thought of bringing them into San Pedro immortality, as my forte was sales and marketing. I had Smurff a local sign painter a great guy and very talented,indiviual build them a six foot cutout of their trademark, to put in front of there new store. the Hungry Monkey Sub Shop. It reads, Hungry Monkey Sub Shop, you can not beat our meat. Just like their cousin Vinny has in the Big Apple. It stands tall and says San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. I believe every tourist will take a picture with that huge cut out monkey. See photo to post soon. I think this will be fast a San Pedro photo stop. And not too bad for business. I gave them this as a gift with my love.
The last place I have to report is another neat place, Changes in Latitude, a premium bed and breakfast. My friends Renita and Cindy are resident owners. It has six outside accessed rooms, all just done so well with just the right colors. Well you must see them to know what I mean. All air conditioned. My friends like bed and breakfasts so I sent them here for a treat. They have pool and beach privileges at Belize Yacht Club and it is eighty feet to Tropical Touch Spa, and so close to town. But the breakfast they serve here is enough to make you want to stay here. Fresh tropical fruit, fresh squeezed juices, killer French toast with real Vermont syrup (locked in the safe at night), crisp bacon, homemade sweet buns, steaming hot Caye Coffee, and so much more. A gastronomical event to say the least. This would be a great place to stay for a romantic getaway, how is this, one night at Rojo Lounge then back here, candle, sand, champagne. Next night Victoria House, dinner, walk on the beach with a glass of wine holing hands, the moon shining the stars out then back here for a another glass of champagne!! I am getting lately to be an insatiable romantic and I like how it feels…
All in all another great TEN DAYS THAT WENT WAY TOO FAST WITH GOOD TIMES, GOOD FISHING, GOOD FRIENDS HERE AT MY SECOND HOME IN SAN PEDRO TOWN, LIVING THE DREAM
Friends and Capt. Eric of Eric and Cliff with a nice cuda
Capt Dilzon and his beautiful twin engine wide beam fishing Dream machine
Capt Dilzon again... front photo of reef hunter... pictures courtesy of fishingsanpedro.com