Jose Gonzalez Sr., a born San Pedrano and a Jack of all Trades
Jose Gonzalez Sr. is a born San Pedrano and after his childhood, he started his life as a fisherman. He began as a skin diver when San Pedranos were learning to use the hook stick for lobsters and the Hawaiian sling to catch fish of all sizes and learning by trial and error. Their produce was sold in Belize City to an American buyer and exporter. We can call this era the beginning of the fishing industry. By 1964 Celi McCorkle brought tourism to San Pedro and Jose became one of the very first tour guides for the hotel. His job included welcoming tourists at the airstrip and carrying their luggage, according to Celi by wheel barrrow. He prepared a day's adventure, catching sardines for bait, flat fishing, reef fishing, drop line fishing, trolling, all kinds of fishing. Jose and his team of other guides were the pioneers of tour guiding in San Pedro and indeed in the country of Belize. Jose knows all the good fishing sites around the island, the flora and the fauna and is a great hunter of game meat like deer, peccary, armadillo, raccoons, and salt water crocodiles. Jose is a self taught fisherman and tourist guide and hunter, so if you need advice in that area, you can Ask The Expert.
Back in the days of the small fishing village there were no professional or skilled tradesmen on the Island. Well, you can bet that Jose found ways to teach himself several of these trades. He provided services in electricity to the residents as well as in carpentry. He self taught himself plumbing and refrigeration. Wanted a piece of furniture, Jose the Expert could do it for you. I tell you that back in 1977 when I was preparing for the birth of my son, Jose taught me how to build a crib and we did great job. Wait a minute! Jose the shipwright could even build a mahogany skiff for an Island fisherman. In all of these fields Jose can give you advice like an expert .
What a versatile man, a Jack of all Trades. You might probably be wondering, Is there anything else Jose can do?" Surprise, he can fight a fire since back in the 1970's he was a member of the very first fire fighting team under the command of Captain Norman Eiley Jose was also a member of the San Pedro Lions Club for many years providing service to the less fortunate. He can sew a canopy and install it on short notice. In fact, he can install the engine with steering system, lights, bilge pump and other accessories. He can locate a fishing spot in the middle of the sea without the use of axxx, whatever.
And here is my special. I started this story telling you that Jose commenced his adult life as a fisherman. But he is a unique fisherman having done something very few others have done. He went through the turmoils of a hurricane for one whole night in the middle of the sea. Actually he spent it in his fishing boat on one of the cayes down south. But that is another story that will require a book, which I am ready to write. For now I will leave you by telling you that if you need advice on any of the above, just ask Jose The Expert. San Pedro is so very proud of having this gentleman that has left so many strong Roots In San Pedro.
Photographs and text courtesy Angel Nunez
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