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Live Free or Die

Early rising, fishing, nausea all part of vacation

I came, I saw, I hurled. That’s pretty much how I can wrap up what happened on Sunday, when I decided to get my butt out of bed almost as soon as I got in and head to the Channel Islands for some deep sea fishing.

I’m not an athletic guy, so when I heard I could engage in some kind of sport activity that didn’t expect me to run or get tackled or anything, I was intrigued. Also, I hadn’t been fishing since I was a kid, and I wanted to finally catch a fish.

At 5:15 in the morning, six friends and I departed Los Angeles and drove out to Ventura County. I was exhausted and slept in the back of the car. When we got to the marina, the sun was just peeking over the horizon. Very cool.

We got on the boat and started chugging out of the harbor. The waves were huge and I was drenched with water on more than one occasion, but it was fun.

Then nausea set in. Whereas before my friends and I were joking around and having a good time, bets were now being taken on who’d fertilize the ocean first. The motion of the ocean got the better of me, and I hit the back of the boat faster than an athlete gets busted for a scandal.

Normally, it’s sick when someone pukes. But when everyone is doing it, it’s a bonding experience of sorts. You’re rooting on friends as they lean over the bow and taking tally on who’s lost their lunch the most. Brotherhood city.

I actually caught the first two fish. I don’t know how, since the ship’s captain and his buddies were fishing with us also, but I pulled up two mackerel at once. That’s when the debate started. I didn’t want to kill the fish; I’d taught them a lesson about going for free squid, but everyone else was telling me to drop them in the burlap bag I’d been provided with.

“You don’t want to keep the fish?” I was asked by several people.

“I don’t want to be responsible for the death of some animal I could care less about,” I said. “You only get one shot on earth and I’m not playing God with Flipper.”

“You eat meat, right?” I answered yes. “How can you eat that and not these fish?”

“Well,” I said, “I’m not the one chopping a flank off Betsy and barbecuing it on the spot. I’m not looking at the big eyes on the fish that’s still breathing and gutting it. I eat meat when I don’t have to look at the animal die.”

Everyone was tired of fishing around 2 p.m., and even though we chartered the boat ourselves, because the captain was still fishing, we didn’t go back. When the engine died and we thought we’d be trapped on the high seas for a couple more hours, suicide was contemplated.

The day was fun because of the friends, despite the nausea and disorientation I felt all day. And we grilled up some tasty bonito that night.