Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Last Long Goodbye

I moved to this country three years ago.  In three weeks, I'll be leaving it for good.  I've developed a special fondness for one of the islands here, an absolute gem.  It's an hour and half away by ferry but if you go alone you might as well be on the moon.  With bonefish.

Before we left, I knew that I needed to get there one last time by myself.  I needed to spend some time with it and the thoughts kicking around in my head.  I needed to string my hammock between the pines and listen to the wind whisper through the branches.  I needed to stand on the shore at midnight and stare into the bright night sky.  I needed to be knee deep in the clear waters as a silvery ghost or two headed my way.  I needed to feel the pulsing life of a fish fighting for its life, and in so doing, reboot my brain.  I needed, really, to say thanks to that place for being what it is.

So, I purchased a ticket for a long weekend in June and said the last words I was anticipating I would say to another person for three days when I kissed my girlfriend goodbye in the parking lot of work.
I had a backpack stuffed with food, water, a 6wt, a 10wt and my gear.  The tides looked good and the weather looked ideal.  I was very pleased with my prospects.

This island has been the sight of some incredible memories over the years.  My girlfriend took me there for my birthday in 2009, where together we landed my first bonefish ever.  In the summer of 2010, the three of us spent a few days there and stalked bonefish for the first time together.  Mark landed a permit,  (something I haven't been able to do in three years), broke a fly rod and soaked a DSLR camera while Adam casted for tarpon at night until he essentially collapsed from exhaustion.  We slept in the sand and the car.  The chaffing was unspeakable.

In the summer of 2011, we spent almost two weeks on the island.  Half sleeping on a sailboat and half in the sand.  We caught some incredible fish.  There are some images from that trip that will be forever burned into my memory.

Before, after and in between I made periodic solo trips with backpacking gear and a bicycle.  I guided a few friends to their first bonefish and saw some incredible sights on the water.
This island was the catalyst of every single emotion a fly fisherman could possibly feel.  It all happened there.

I spent the ferry ride running through a highlight reel of memories of my destination.  Soon, I'd be fishing there, alone with my thoughts for the last time.


Brian E said...

thank you for sharing all of those great memories!!

Unknown said...

Miss my Annie so much it hurts

Mark said...

Me too...