It was a breezy Pensacola moonlit Florida morning. We all pilled into Uncle Tom’s SUV and drove to the docks where our chartered fishing boat, crew, and Captain waited for us. We loaded up and were puttering down the bay’s narrow docking canals towards open waters. Eventually we’d be sixty kilometers from shore fishing and enjoying our family time. This trip would be the last time I’d see my Uncle. A strong Vietnam Veteran and proud Boy Scout Troop sponsor and leader. He loved his wood working and adored his life and son. A great artist, writer, and scholar. He cared for his family with all his heart and kept immaculate family records, fighting to maintain the memories we all love of our families.
We encountered rough seas, I remember bouncing from the bench that was my bunk, three feet into the air, smashing my head into the overhead. Sleeping in the bow wasn’t working for me, so I moved aft to the benches, and found slightly better sleeping arrangements. My cousin woke me to a beautiful sunrise and calmer seas. We ate a quick breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches and dipped our lines into the ocean. Bites quickly came as our Captain was a long time pro at finding great fishing spots. The crew hands were excellent hope, helping my Uncle pull in the first catch.
Too add to the wonder of the day, my Uncle had a hard time after the war and his injuries followed him eventually into a wheel chair, but even that barrier didn’t stop him from living life to the fullest. Watching him pull the first catch of the day onto the boat and his smile, was one of the best sights I have witnessed in my adult life. We fished well into the day and night, coming back a little early due to reasons out of our control. We had a large catch. The crew degutted the fish on the pier and we packed it away in our coolers. We ate a little dangerous tuna sushi straight from the fish, and lived. Then pilled back into the SUV and drove back to his house.
The trip was successful, we each landed around 50lbs of fish meat each. The greatest thing was watching a swarm of sharks chum around a sword fish on top of the water. We tried our best another time to catch a sword fish which was trailing our boat, and if we had we would of caught the trilogy for the fishing event in the area.
It truly is one of my favorite memories of the mid 20-teens.