Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Last week, in a show of support of anglers everywhere, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal hopped aboard charter boat Reel Life for a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.
Along for the trip were Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation ; Rob Kramer, president of the International Game Fish Association ; Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association ; Doug Olander, editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine; and, Ted Venker, editor of the Coastal Conservation Association’s Tide magazine.
Governor Jindal, who insisted that the group call him Bobby, went on the trip to emphasize the importance of boating and fishing as not only a strong family tradition, but as a significant part of Louisiana’s economy. In fact, Governor Jindal embarked on the outing with a request by his son to bring home fish for dinner, so the pressure was on!
Luckily, Governor Jindal managed to catch the first fish of the day, a mangrove snapper (called a “mango” by locals).
In addition to the mango, the group caught more than 19 different types of fish, including a number of cobia, red snapper, gray snapper, silk snapper, bull redfish, yellowmouth grouper, scamp grouper, king mackerel, blackfin tuna, almaco jacks and amberjacks – proving that the fish are really biting now that most of Louisiana’s state waters are reopened for recreational fishing following the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The impressive catch also proves that a group of recreational fishing leaders are also decent fishermen!
After a day of calm seas and steady fishing, Reel Life returned to shore, sending Governor Jindal home with an ice chest full of fish destined for the family dinner table.
Click here to view Sport Fishing Editor-in-Chief Doug Olander’s photo gallery from the day. http://www.outdoorlife.com/photos/gallery/fishing/2010/08/anglers-prove-fishing-gulf-isnt-dead
Click here to view Doug’s blog entry:
Click here to read the official press release about the fishing outing:
Governor Jindal with his catch, along with Center for Coastal Conservation’s Jeff Angers. Not to be outdone, International Game Fish Association’s Rob Kramer casts for the next big one. Photo credit: Doug Olander/Sport Fishing
Monday, August 09, 2010
Do you feel bad about leaving your dog at home, while you're out having fun on the water all summer? Afterall, dogs need weekends too!
Check out this wikiHow podcast for helpful tips on how to prepare your dog for a day on the boat: http://oneminutehowto.com/Shows/Shows.asp?How_to_Go_Boating_With_Pets
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Check out this wonderful story by Jenny Block of the Huffington Post! This story depicts her amazing boating adventure as part of our Discover Boating flotilla in the BVI.
Her lifelong commitment to boating is a great example of how being on the water brings families together and why people are so passionate about the boating lifestyle!
"Come Sail Away: A Week Boating in the British Virgin Islands Brought Me Home Again"
Meet the Croftens! This family sold all of their possessions and set sail on their 43ft. boat for 7 years. Check out their inspiring story on how boating brought their family together!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Day 7: Sail to Peter Island and Wickhams Cay, Tortola (Sunsail Base)
Upon waking up just off Norman Island, we enjoyed a brief breakfast aboard our boats and set sail for our last adventure on the water! Before doing so, we made a brief pit stop at an area called The Indians, just off Pelican Island. The Indians consist of four jagged tooth-like pinnacles of rock protruding from the sea that have created a series of canyons and grottoes, featuring both hard and soft corals – a great spot for a morning snorkeling excursion.
After exploring the area for a bit, we headed out to sea for a two hour sail through the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Peter Island, docking at Peter Island Resort. Peter Island is a private island located about 5 miles south-west from Tortola. Once docked at Peter Island, the group boarded a powerboat to get in a little speed before wrapping up our trip. The folks at King Charters met us at Peter Island Resort Marina and we jumped aboard for an afternoon of learning to drive, steer and operate a powerboat. Along the way, we had the opportunity to see a slew of islands including, Cooper, Salt, Dead Chest and Ginger. After a speedy day on the water, we rejoined our flotilla and set off for our final sail to the Sunsail base in Wickhams Cay, Tortola.
To wrap up our 7 day adventure, the entire group enjoyed a casual dinner at the Mariner’s Inn – recalling our greatest stories, fears, achievements and memories that we created throughout the past week. All and all it was an experience that none of us would forget and we truly came to the realization that, indeed, life is better on a boat!
Sailing in to Peter Island Resort
Our group enjoying the powerboat ride
One of our own learning to drive
Live action video....
The group for our last dinner together
Monday, July 19, 2010
Day 6: Sail to Soper’s Hole, Tortola and The Bight, Norman Island
After awaking in Cane Garden Bay our group set sail early for Soper’s Hole, a quaint marina with great shopping. Upon arriving at Soper’s Hole we moored and drove our inflatable boats to shore for an afternoon of exploring the local shops and restaurants. After a little retail therapy, we boarded our sailboats for a three hour sail to The Bight, just off of Norman Island. As we left the marina, we noticed the winds blowing at 18 knots and conditions were perfect for sail races! So, us crewmen on all four boats took position and we were off and running! While our captains steered, the rest of us manned our boat’s lines during tacking, jibing and heeling – it was very exciting, especially for those who had never been sailing.
Once we caught up with the flotilla at Norman Island, we grabbed a mooring ball and relaxed a bit before heading to shore for dinner at Pirates Bight. Known for fun dinners and wild party nights onboard the William Thornton (Willy T) ship, The Bight plays a large part in the history of Norman Island with tales of pirates and treasure caves. This island was the model for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - perhaps the most famous legend of all. While the island’s now uninhabited, farmers used to raise cattle there.
After dinner some headed to Willy T’s boat bar for cocktails, while the rest of us headed to bed for the evening in preparation for our last day on the water.
Some learned to drive the inflatable boats
Others were naturals…
Soper’s Hole Marina
Our boat heeling during sailing races
Sunset on Willy T’s
The group on Norman Island
Friday, July 16, 2010
Day 5: Sail to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke and Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
After a brief breakfast onboard our boats while docked at the Bitter End Yacht Club, we hit the water for a long four hour sail to Jost Van Dyke. Once arriving at White Bay on Jost Van Dyke, we picked up a mooring ball and quickly jumped in the crystal blue waters to cool down and do a little bit of snorkeling. We then boarded our inflatable boats for a quick ride onshore, where we were greeted by the entrance of the well-known Soggy Dollar Bar. Once our dollars dried off, we took a walk down White Bay, which is filled with beach bars, hammocks and beautiful white sandy beaches – a boater’s paradise!
A fun fact about White Bay - in the early 1990's, it was almost always deserted with the exception of a handful of residents, a few “in the know” bareboat sailors, and a small group of visitors from Tortola. However, since the road was built, making it possible for taxis to bring people directly to the beach, it has been "discovered."
After taking in the amazing scenery on Jost, we set sail to Cane Garden Bay where we met up with the rest of our flotilla group and moored for the night. This stunning bay gets its name from the sugar cane, which is still grown to make the island rum. A few of us went ashore for dinner and enjoyed an amazing lobster feast at Myett’s, followed by dancing and a live island band at nearby Quito’s Gazebo. We were lucky enough to arrive on Tuesday, a night when Quito, himself, plays solo on his acoustic guitar. It was such a unique experience to take advantage of both the local fresh seafood, accompanied by the local island music. It’s now off to bed, in preparation for Day 6!
Our flotilla en route to Jost Van Dyke
The beautiful White Bay!
Infamous Soggy Dollar Bar
Cane Garden Bay
Amazing Lobster Dinner..
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Day 4: Sail to The Dogs, Gorda Sound and Bitter End Yacht Club, North Sound
It’s Day 4 and we’re loving life on the Caribbean - we couldn’t have imagined this kind of paradise! Today we had a leisurely two hour sail to The Dogs - a cluster of six islands lying halfway between Tortola and Virgin Gorda. The Dogs are wildlife sanctuaries for marine life, fringed with coral and known for superior snorkeling. We took advantage of this relaxing hot spot and tied all four of our boats together to snorkel, sun bathe and just enjoy the boating lifestyle and each other’s company. We also received a special treat from our captains! Remember the wahoo that we caught while deep sea fishing? Our captains cleaned, marinated and grilled the fish we caught the day before and served it for lunch – talk about fresh seafood!
After lunch, our group sailed to the North Sound for an evening at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Once docked, we freshened up and headed out on a sunset powerboat cruise, hosted by the Bitter End Yacht Club. During the cruise we were able to catch a glimpse of Mosquito and Necker Islands, which are privately owned by well-known entrepreneur Richard Branson.
After our cruise, we enjoyed a cocktail hour and dinner at Bitter End’s Clubhouse Steak and Seafood Grille. It was too delicious for words! Secret Tip: Their infamous key lime pie is a can’t-miss!!! After a few after-hour cocktails and dancing at The Crawl Pub, our group called it a night at last.
One of our boats, Dancia, headed towards The Dogs
All four boats tied up for the afternoon at The Dogs
Arriving at Bitter End Yacht Club
Sunset powerboat cruise
The group enjoying cocktail hour at Bitter End Yacht Club
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Day 3: Sail to Spanish Town Marina, Virgin Gorda
What a full day in Virgin Gorda! We briefly broke away early from our flotilla this morning for a quick one hour sail over to Spanish Town Marinas in Virgin Gorda. Upon arriving, half of the group popped some Dramamine and prepared themselves for a 3 hour deep sea fishing expedition on ‘Big Ting’! While they were out making their next big catch, the rest of us took a taxi over to a hilltop entrance of The Baths for a brief hike. The Baths and Caves are home to a unique rock formation with a myriad of secret pools and caves to hike, swim and snorkel. What an amazing place – a must-see for anyone visiting the British Virgin Islands!
After a few hours, my group returned to find our better half posing with three large fish, ranging from 20 to 40 pounds, called ‘wahoo’!! Naturally we were jealous, so we were ready to give it a shot as well. After a long two hour wait, we finally got two bites and reeled in one decently sized barracuda (which we later threw back) and a 27 pound wahoo for ourselves!
After a long day on both water and land, our entire flotilla took a shuttle to dinner at the Rock Café, an Italian/Caribbean fusion restaurant, then headed back to the marina for a much needed restful night’s sleep.
A picturesque view of The Baths
Another great shot of The Baths
I guess the fish were biting earlier in the morning…
The sunset in Spanish Town Marina
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Day 2: Sail to Guana Island and Marina Cay
This morning kicked off with a briefing from our flotilla lead crew, discussing our itinerary and giving us some pre-cautionary tips to keep in mind before hitting the water.
We then boarded and set sail for our first destination in the British Virgin Islands. After sailing for approximately 2 hours, we arrived at an area just off of Guana Island called Monkey Point, a well-known snorkeling hot spot. We picked up a mooring ball and spent a few hours swimming and exploring the magnificent coral and marine life.
From there, the group set sail to Marina Cay, a private island of just four acres. An interesting fun fact about Marina Cay is that it was inhabited in 1936 when an author Robb White built a house on the Cay and wrote the book, 'Two on the Isle', about his experiences. After mooring just off shore, we boarded our inflatable boats and visited the island for a rum punch party, followed by a sunset dinner at Pusser’s. The perfect ending to a great first day on the water!
Here is a brief video of one of our media guests learning to hoist the main sail on our first day!
Penguino setting sail towards Guana Island
Snorkling at Monkey Point
Our flotilla moored at Marina Cay
Sunset from our dinner table at Pusser’s - so beautiful!!