ECUADOR – October 2004 – Alan Mann
Once again, Vic Accrocco and I (Alan Mann) ventured back to Ecuador in search of the premier big game fish of the Pacific Ocean – the Pacific Blue Marlin and Black Marlin. Vic was after his first Blue and I was after my first Black. We again booked the “China Linda” from Erik Holst and Pesca Tours and once again everything was in place for our adventure. This was Vic’s fourth trip to Ecuador and my seventh trip there. We had been successful on every previous trip and this one was to prove equally successful, even though neither of us was to achieve our Marlin goal. We arrived, as usual, very late Friday night (actually very early on Saturday morning) and were met by Erik Holst who is always our very gracious and friendly host. That is Erik on his new Harley Davidson motorcycle, below.
We flew from the Washington DC area through Miami Florida and then to Guayaquil Ecuador where we were met by our driver and taken on the two-hour ride to Salinas on the Pacific Ocean coast. We started Saturday, after catching up on our sleep, having breakfast as Erik’s guests at the beautiful Salinas Yacht Club (below,) watching the activities at the club and marina and looking at the beach, condos and shops of Salinas. With the salt air came a hearty appetite that was met with a wonderful breakfast. The rest of the day was spent lazily walking the beach road and visiting the local super market to stock up on supplies for the week, including such necessities as cookies, bottled water, snacks, other drinks, etc.
Day 1 – Sunday morning found us awaking VERY early for the longer cruise to Cope Bank in search of Wahoo and anything else that might be looking for a meal. Cope Bank is actually several underwater mountain peaks that rise from a depth of some 4,000 feet to only 35 feet. This creates a natural feeding ground for small fish, larger fish, still larger fish and big game fish. We were not disappointed – good sized Wahoo were hungry and ate everything we offered them. The pictures below show our Wahoo and Vic’s first Peruvian Amberjack on the side of the China Linda. The second picture is Vic laying on the sidewalk outside the Pesca Tours offices with most of the day’s catch – he loves to have his picture taken!
On the left below is the Mate with Vic’s 48-pound Peruvian Amberjack and on the right is Vic standing proudly back in Salinas beside his trophy.
Days 2 through 4 – The remainder of the trip had us catching Striped Marlin and a variety of smaller fish. Among them, were Dorado (also known as Mahi-Mahi on your seafood dinner menu or Dolphin fish), and a very interesting fish called an Ajuja – that looks a lot like a Barracuda.
As usual, we ate very well on the boat each day – with the morning’s catch usually gracing our table in the salon, along with rice or french-fried potatoes, Andes onions, and sliced tomatoes. One of my favorite shipboard lunches is poached Wahoo – it hits the spot out on the Pacific after a morning of good fishing! When we first arrive on the boat, having been rowed out to it on the Pesca Tours dinghy, we are greeted with hot coffee and a breakfast of eggs and ham, plus toast and jam. Mid-morning every day, we have either tuna salad sandwiches or hot dogs to keep us going until lunch. Every night, when we really are not very hungry, there is always a good restaurant to tempt us with another great seafood meal. We then walk down the beach road for a drink or two and to make our monetary contributions to the local casino.
After four days of fishing, Day 5 is a trip North with a driver and guide up the coast for some shopping and another fabulous meal in Ballenita at the Farallon Dillon – again hosted by Captain Alberto Dillon and his lovely and gracious Wife Yolanda. They operate a hotel/restaurant/bar and also have an amazing museum of nautical material that includes salvaged items from the shipwrecked La Capitana. This ship was the largest Spanish galleon ever built in South America. She sank in 1654 off the coast of Ecuador and took millions of Pieces Of Eight to the bottom. Much of her cargo was salvaged between 1654 and 1655 and again in 1997, when she was discovered by a Virginia-based treasure-hunting team. That team was able to bring to the surface many thousands of coins and other items from the wreck. Recently, I have been able to purchase three of the coins that were recovered from La Capitana.
After a hearty meal and museum visiting, plus enjoying the fabulous view of the Pacific coastline, we next ventured South of Salinas to Punta Carnero, where there is a beautiful hotel overlooking the rocky coastline. Still further South, we visited the town of Anconcito, where much of Ecuador’s commercial fishing fleet is based and which is quite near the site of discovering the La Capitana shipwreck.
After the full Thursday of shopping and sightseeing, we were again guests of Erik Holst at the Yacht Club for dinner. This is not the norm for charter guests. My Brother Don and Erik’s Father Knude were long-time friends and Don made some 20 trips to Ecuador to fish on Knude’s fleet of charter boats. Because of their friendship and my continuing trips, and since both Don and Knude are gone now, the friendship has been passed down to another generation – Alan and Erik. I am proud to say that he is a very good friend.
On the final full day (Friday), we are driven back to Guayaquil for more shopping and eating and a good night’s sleep before heading back home to the Washington area on Saturday. Another great fishing trip!!!