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CHILLAX...Bonding Time With My Hip Daughter

The Barefoot Man goes further than the Far Side – to Little Cayman for a weekend fishing trip with his daughter.

By H. G. Nowak (Barefoot Man)
 
It was one of those spur of the moment ideas –
“Honey, you mind if I go to Little Cayman... need to fish for a few days”. 
NO RESPONSE… from my spouse. 
 
“Just spoke with my friend Walter and he says the wahoo are striking anything that you throw in the sea”. No answer, my wife was not impressed, this is a bad sign.

“Hey dad… can I go”?  Did I hear “dad”?
My daughter Brooke has always loved fishing, but she’s now a teenager. Teenage girls don’t go fishing, especially with their parents ... What if her friends find out?

Brooke’s request was suspicious. Why would she want to hang out with a few beer-guzzling, unshaved fishermen rather than spend the weekend with her laptop, Ipod and “weird” friends? I knew however that giving her the OK would assure my fishing trip was a done-deal.
 
“Yes you two go ahead” approves my wife “you need a little bonding time together.”
“No I need fishing time... We can bond when she grows up to be a rich model and takes care of me in my golden years.”
Brooke flickers her Bambi eyes... "I’ll be ready in a flash dad… gotta pack my mascara.”  
“Brooke you are going to have to wear a proper bathing suit – that bikini won’t do.” 
“Oh chilllax dad” she responds.
“I mean it, another bathing suit please”!!!
 
Little Cayman lies approximately ninety miles across the sea, due northeast. It’s an easy, cheap thirty-five minute ride aboard a Cayman Express Twin Otter. Last count, around one hundred and twenty five sun-drenched folks lived on island full time... that’s not including the winter birds and of course the scuba divers who come from all corners of the world to dive Little Cayman’s famous Bloody Bay Wall. Perry McLaughlin, realtor, store owner and all around entrepreneur, will rent you a small jeep for exploring... please keep in mind that iguanas always have the right away on Little Cayman. We checked into the Little Cayman Beach Resort, being lucky to get a room. This forty-room cozy hotel is a favorite with divers and Grand Cayman residents looking for a weekend escape. Offering spacious, comfortable air-conditioned rooms, pool, great food and an outdoor bar where there’s always an interesting exchange of dialogue with sunburned divers while someone sings karaoke off key in the background.  

Walter sat high on the tuna-tower of “Donna Lorraine”, a 37-foot Hatteras and the ultimate fishing vessel. “Come on aboard, we’re ready to fish”. Walter hails from Mississippi and has been a resident of Little Cayman for the nearly forty-five years… he keeps very busy doing - nothing (except fishing).
“Let’s go Brooke… it’s bonding time with dad”
“Ya dad I’m stoked, oh joy.”
“Stoked, oh joy!!  – Brooke please don’t embarrass me in front of my friends, re-adjust your vocabulary and discontinue the eye rolling behind those designer shades.” 
Boobies (giant sea birds) were hovering near the clouds, which usually means that there’s fish in the area… “Get ready” I shout to Brooke... “The outriggers are gonna start humming anytime."
“Cool Dad, you get the first one – I’m gonna sit up here and tan a bit”.
“Cool” another one of those irritating teenage jargons.
 
One hour later and NOTHING... no bent rods or humming reels. Walter’s first mate “pretended” to be scanning the horizon for more birds – or possibly Brooke's scanty swimming attire. I told her not to wear that thing. Oh how quickly time passes... My little baby daughter, now 16 years old... slender, tanned, mascara and... Zzzzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnggggggggg  – the action begins! The fifty-pound monofilament line stretches tight as the E string on my guitar. As I scramble for the rod… another line pops off the outrigger… a huge silver fish attempts a shot at freedom with a leap for the sky. The birds go crazy, I strap myself in the fishing chair and call for my daughter…
“Brooke… Brooke… come here… It’s a monster.“
“Awesome dad… You get him… “  
“Awesome, awesome... can’t you speak proper English and we’re supposed to be bonding”. 
 
The twenty-minute battle rewarded us with a 42 lbs wahoo and one meatless  tuna. A barracuda had moved in on the black-fin and left us only the head. Walter and I celebrated with a few cans of brew. 
“Brooke, come here and see my fish”.   
She didn’t hear me, her Ipod was streaming “Beyonce” through her earphones, she seemed quite content alone and tanning on the bow of the Donna Lorraine.   
 
It was a glorious day, the mighty sea flat as a milk pond, no traffic or concrete to spoil the panorama, only the sound of squawking birds and the whirling hum of a fishing reel. What more could a father ask for – a fishing pole in one hand, beer in the other and bonding time with Walter. Two wahoo and four tuna later we decided to call it a day. Fresh sushi for dinner.
While Walter and I cleaned fish along the shore, Brooke decided to kayak over to Owens Island, a small uninhabited spot of sand and palm trees encircled by water so clear it almost seems dream-like, the ideal south sea island transplanted to the Caymans. This tiny Eden is my favorite island in the Caymans, no people, no buildings, no roads. If you’re into light tackle game fishing, the shallows around Owens Island are bonefish heaven.   
 
The following day we snorkel off the shore by Pirates Point Resort. Gladys Howard is the owner and head chef, she’s famous island wide (throughout the Caribbean) for her yummy cuisine and protector of Little Cayman's reefs, birds, lizards and flora. The beach decor in Pirates Point lounge is a sight to see. Coconuts, seashells, driftwood, flip-flops – anything that the sea discards along the shore has been transformed into unique abyssal art.  
 
Cycling is a popular form of transportation on Little Cayman and Brooke was on her way when Gladys offered the use of a bike.   
“Brooke, my dear daughter, are you leaving me again – I thought this was bonding time”?
“You bond with Gladys dad... I’m going sightseeing”. Her maneuver seemed suspicious to me – then again she has my recluse spirit. Anyone who has a bit of hermit in their soul can’t help falling in love with Little Cayman. Here you can enjoy nature, tranquility and powdery human-free beaches, it is the true jewel of the Caribbean. Leave your lap-tops and cell phone at home, pack lightly and just chill-out. Ooops did I say “Chill-out ?”

Several Caybrews later and an update on the latest island gossip... the phone.
“For me? Who knows I’m here?” 
“Hey dad ”.  
“Brooke... where are you calling from”?
“My cell-phone ”. 
“You brought your cell-phone?”
“Chill-out dad… I just wanted to let you know this has been one wicked fishing trip… you rock dad … …I love you!”
Just as a lump formed in my throat, my daughter had one last request…
“Hey dad can I bike to Point of Sand with Scott”?
“Who’s Scott ?”
“Oh it’s this guy I just met at……."
“NO, absolutely not!!"
“Please dad…. He’s not a slacker and he thinks you’re a totally cool guy.”
Her novel tactics and teenage lingo started to wear me down.
“Well Dad... can I…  please?”
I had the last word….“Whatever.”
 

Posted by: Barefoot Man Monday Feb 11, 2008 16:23
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