Incidente en el Pescado de la Bahía de Banderas

Hola, mis interwebs amigos.   I have a very sad tale to tell you.  I like to call it the Incidente en el Pescado de la Bahía de Banderas, or The Fish Affair of la Bahía de Banderas.  It also explains my insane love of snorkeling.
See, it all started with my love of fishing.   Why do I love fishing, you ask?  Well, you know the feeling you get when you hop in a spaceship and fly to a mysterious planet and, upon landing at said mysterious planet, you find these creatures who are sort of edible and not very sentient really, and you’re hungry, and you pull out your trusty lasso and lasso yourself one up?  And then you combine that feeling, with the feeling of being struck momentarily blind, as if someone slapped a bandana over your eyes, and you had to stick a pin in some picture in just the right spot, and you do, and you take the bandana off and see how awesome your sixth sense is?
Well that’s why I love fishing.  Because it feels like that.  It’s like your blindly delving the depths of a strange world and finding little living treasures.  And then you kill them.  Yay!
Now imagine, if you will, that you’ve spent your life delving these strange little worlds, and finding these treasures, but they’ve always been only so big.  There’s no real struggle, no life and death battle between you and the fish; pretty much if you hook it, it’s a goner.  At least, I thought, if it was a bigger fish there would be Glorious Battle, right?  Huh.  Silly me. 
I was determined to experience that struggle.  So I go to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and I charter a fishing boat.  My trusty fishing guide, Miguel, takes us out to the beautiful Bahía de Banderas, or Bay of Flags.  I see dolphins!!!  And a WHALE!  (No really, I did!)  But we are hunting fishable fish, my friends.  Oh yes, the kind you spend 20 minutes reeling in, and then you LAND that sucker, and you take a picture! 
I really, really hadn’t thought this out very well.
Of course first, we had to find the fish.  That proved to be no problem at all, though.  You just scan the horizon and look for birds flocking.  Drive your boat to that location.  Look in the water.  Fish.  Seriously, the water was BOILING.  With FISH.  It was like some crazy fishy orgy was happening right there at the surface of the water, hundreds and hundreds of huge, silvery bodies all flapping and churning and going just…well…fish orgy, just picture it, right?  We set out lines, and starting trolling around.
I start reeling in for all I’m worth!  Lean forward, reel back.  Lean forward, reel back.  It was a BIG fish.  I remember the first moment I caught a glimpse of it, it was like some beautiful silver treasure was flickering in the water, coming in closer and closer, sparkling in the sunlight, a silver glimmering jewel.  And I had it caught!  I thought about how I’d reel it up, and catch in a net, and hold it up proudly, its silvery skin sparkling no less than my smile.  It was beautiful, how this would end in my head.
Right.  Not so beautiful, actually.  Miguel, my trusty fisherman, snagged his bailing hook when I pulled the fish near the boat, and stabbed my poor defenseless fish IN THE SIDE.  He then commences to haul the poor thing up outta the water, a giant silver creature flailing with this giant hook stabbed into it, and hands it to me so we can take a picture.
Yeah, that's about right.  Funny, seems much smaller than I remember.

Yeah, that's about right. Funny, seems much smaller than I remember.

Um.  What? 
So I stand there, dumbfounded, smiling like an idiot.  Meanwhile, inside my head, I’m in shocked disbelief.  I ended up taking a very small portion of the fish, and giving the rest to Miguel, who assured me it would go to people who needed it.  And the filet that I kept?  Well, I took it to the hotel where I was staying, and they grilled it up for lunch the next day with a lovely pilaf and steamed vegetables.  And I couldn’t eat a single bite of it.  The thought of it made me ill.
Once again, like I’ve said so often before…I am a dumbass.  I mean, how did I think this would end?
Well then.  During this same trip, I discovered snorkeling.  Which pretty much puts the whole love of fishing dilemma to rest, because now I have the gear to delve those mysterious environs without requiring any pretenses of killing or eating things.  I mean really, I don’t like eating fish all that much anyway.  And I’ve never seen anyone go fishing for eagle rays, or puffers, or jellyfish, or any of the other hundreds of amazing things I saw. 
So farewell, fishing gear.  Goodbye, tackle and smelly salmon eggs and wiggly rubber worms and hooks which I have accidentally lodged in myself and others.  All I need now is my snorkel and mask, and I can explore those murky worlds and experience all their wonder face to face.  Now, I just hop in my spaceship and travel to those mysterious planets, and just enjoy the treasures that live there.

Crabs are Friends, Not Food.

I totally had an awesome picture for this post, but then my iPhone crashed and I lost it.  Fiddlesticks.

A couple weeks ago, I walked from my house to the Bipartisan Cafe.  It’s a cozy little coffeeshop over on SE Stark and 79th, with great pie, minimal discernible ‘tude, Norman Rockwells on the wall and an inauguration day countdown on the door.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about, is crabs.  Those shuffly side-scootin pinchy little carrion-eaters of the deep.  Perhaps the mice to PETA’s sea kittens?

Side note:  Speaking of sea kittens…Did you see the recent Colbert Report where he says if fish are sea kittens, that means he gets to start eating Land Fish.  Yummy land fish!  Mmmm….

Lots of people I know like crab, to varying degree.  Crab cakes, crab dip, king crab, baked alaska…oh wait.  Baked alaska isn’t crab, is it.  Sounds crabby though, doesn’t it?

I don’t like crab.  Not really a big crab fan.  I just don’t find insectoid beings particularly appetizing.  I’ve dissected large insects, and that’s what I think of when it comes to crabs.  And lobsters too, but I’ve never killed a lobster.

I have killed a crab.  And it was GRUESOME.

I mean seriously, what the heck is wrong with me?  I ended up with a life-changing moral crisis after deep sea fishing in Mexico, so I no longer can really bring myself to go fishing.  And I liked to go fishing.  But the crab incident, while not as impactful as the Bahia de Banderas affair, also sticks in my mind.

So as I said before, walking through a sunny SE neighborhood on my way to Bipartisan Cafe, I come across a notice of a Crab Feed at the Ascension Catholic Church.

I assume when most people see something like that, they think of buttery crab legs and nutcrackers and stuff.

I, however, am graced with an image of my first and last experience going crabbing, and killing a crab.

We brought in a pretty good haul, about 8-10 or so that day, and this was a week long trip up to Blaine, Washington with the ex’s family.  The killing happened thus:  Take crab from large container.  Place crab on sheet of plywood on ground, on its back.  Place piece of broom handle along crabs chest, parallel to legs.  Press down until it cracks.  Simple, right?  Yep simple.  Except for the screaming, and the flailing of legs, trying to grasp the broom handle.  Did I mention the screaming?  Did you know crabs scream?  Yeah.  Not so fun.

I guess it all boils down to this for me:  If I’m going to kill something with the intention of eating it, there needs to be two requirements met.  First, I have to NEED the food.  As in, there’s no store for miles, I have no food, and if I don’t kill this animal, I may starve.  SECOND, I have to be prepared to actually EAT what I kill.  As in, I will eat this creature, and I either like the taste, or don’t care (see requirement #1).

And with that, I’m off to go have a Mcmenamin’s burger.  Yummy.  Perhaps I’ll get the Land Fish special?