As the rising sun flooded the volcanic hillsides, we piled our gear on the dock to await our ferry. In a few short hours, we'd be wet-wading, in the moment, for the next 8 days.
For the previous two weeks we shared the waters with a group of friends. But now they had departed back to their homes across the pond, leaving us in the caribbean with the fish all to ourselves.
The plan was to hit the prime location hard for the remaining time before family arrived for a vacation at the end of our fishing trip. The night before we departed, we caught an early movie and then tied some key flies while talking strategy as we packed our bags for a little boat ride to an off-the-grid island surrounded by miles of flats and a large barrier reef.
There would be no mothership this time, no apartment to shelter us from the elements when mother nature decided to turn on the faucet, and no escape. The ferries to this place are infrequent, and we weren't about to fork over a buck fifty a night to stay in the one guesthouse on the island. We stocked a hefty first aid kit, as well, because there would be no evacuation until the ferries showed up. We had everything from Band-Aids to tourniquets.
The three of us planned to sleep on the beach for the 7 nights we counted on prospecting the island's flats and reefs. We would have a tent with a rainfly, a hammock and a tempermental 4x4 with two pontoons strapped to the bare roof. The trip was personally catered by Chef Boyardee.
We were fully aware of what awaited us on this leg of our adventure. Bonefish. Big ones. As well as sore feet, poor nights' sleep, unhealthy meals, millions of mosquitoes, pervasive sand, trench foot and maybe, just maybe, a shot at a permit. There is always, of course, the expectation of the unexpected.
This was going to be the capstone to our 5th annual taste of the dream. This was going to be awesome.