Every day can be a fishing day…

Hello again my dear reader,

the saying goes:

Every day can be a fishing day but not every day is a catching day

Quite true. Jitka and I went fishing yesterday evening and caught nothing. Well, Jitka caught one little red squirrelfish but it was way too small to take home.

It was low tide yesterday and that was probably the reason why the fish were not biting. One thing we did see though which was quite scary and disgusting was moray eels. At Spring Benny Bay, we spotted 2-3 green morays and a white (yellow) one too. They were out to munch on the little small fry that was swimming in the shallows. I can’t say that I was too pleased to see them. It would be OK if they were at least edible but it turns out they are really quite disgusting. Ah wel…

We will be going fishing this w/e, I’m sure. So, please check back for more news. Ah, I haven’t written anything about the vegetable garden for a while. We have been eating cucumbers from it for a month or so and have now also started eating tomatoes. We’re also able to harvest jalapeƱo peppers and are looking forward to melon and watermelon.

Check back soon!

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Another fishing rod

Hello again my dear reader,

I’ve just come back from the tackle shop in Hamilton having purchased a second fishing rod! It’s going to be Jitka’s present. She has been struggling to fish without a rod and has been steadily losing interest recently. But, now that we have found something we enjoy doing together, I’m not about to let it go to waste. So, I bought her a rod so she can get excited again. I hope to go to Spring Benny Bay tonight and enjoy some quiet fishing time to relax our minds that have been a little tired and stressed recently. The weather hasn’t been nice for fishing either (maybe that’s why we’ve been feeling down…) but tonight promises to be the best evening for quite a while. So, this opportunity will not be wasted.

More news and results from our fishing to come soon.

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Scooter repairs

Hello again my dear reader,

the weather is still rubbish (rainy and windy) so I have taken the time to fix some things that have needed fixing for a while. I took the scooter in to the shop for repair. It needs to support the headlight properly (the steering wheel plastics are loose) and to wrap some tape around the clutch cable pipe and to reconnect the speedometer which was disconnected when I had the tyre changed. How much this is going to cost? Well, I hope not a lot but this is Bermuda, nothing here is cheap…

UPDATE: the scooter is back, the repairs cost $90. They put some tape around the cable, reconnected the speedometer cable and glued the headlight for $90, blimey. Plus, I don’t think the headlight is very stable, looks like I’ll have to duct tape it after all.

Please check back for more news.

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Stormy weather interrupts fishing

Hello again my dear reader,

during the past weekend, the weather was as close as you can get to the “perfect storm” for fishing: little wind (the fishes are not hungry when it’s windy), not massive sunshine (the fishes don’t seem to sunbathe), almost a full moon (the fishes are romantic, the love a full moon) and decent temperature (I don’t know about the fishes but I like the warm). Unfortunately, I wasn’t very successful in catching many. I went fishing on Saturday morning but it was already low tide and I only caught a decent-size bream. Then, I went again with Jitka in the evening but we didn’t catch anything worth mention, just a reasonable size squirrelfish.

Then, the wind turned. For the last 2-3 days it’s been stormy weather, the temperature has dropped and it has rained, a lot. On the plus side, I don’t have to water the garden and we don’t have to worry about running out of water. On the minus side, I’m not so keen on fishing in the rain so it takes away my only affordable form of entertainment. It will probably be another couple of days at least until we’re out on the water again so patience is in order for now.

Please check again soon for more updates.

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Our new Bermudian hobbies

Hello again my dear reader,

this post is probably the most illustrative of what our life is like in Bermuda. One of the things I have often wondered is what kind of activity I could find that I could share with my wife. With me being a computer geek and her being a Cosmo reader and more recently a fitness fanatic, it’s not often that we have a lot in common, outside of our love for each other, naturally.

But, In Bermuda, this all changed. We have discovered (or perhaps entered the right age group) that we jointly enjoy both gardening (only for growing food, no flower arranging just yet) and fishing. For me, the more surprising of the two is fishing. I used to fish as a kid with my dad (quite possibly my fondest memory of growing up) and have always liked it. But, fishing is inherently dirty, there is all the killing of worms, squid blood, stabbing of fish, hooks and bait, chum etc. I never thought that my Cosmo-reading princess would be into fishing! So, it was a rather pleasant surprise.

On the other hand, I don’t think Jitka anticipated that I would enjoy gardening. I’ve often said while we lived in Britain that my favourite low-maintenance material for a garden is concrete. But, when you’re growing organic food, well, it’s a whole different story. Food you grow in your own garden with your very own effort and weeks of anticipation has a certain edge over any food you can buy from the shop, at least in my humble view.

So, I think it’s high time I share some photos with you so here is a picasa album that you can enjoy. Some photos will also follow directly below. Enjoy.

We start with a look at the vegetable patch and how it’s grown over the last few weeks. Compare this with the older photo here.

One of my favourite fruits, watermelon, growing nicely in our garden.

yum yumAnd finally, one more fishing photo after the ones I included recently. This one is of a snapper and a little bream. I didn’t catch the snapper, it was my fishing buddy Matteo who did. I have since then caught a much bigger fish than the bream though…

both were eaten, delicious!


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More fishing news

Hello again my dear reader,

we have been going fishing quite a bit recently. Our favourite spots so far have been Cavello Bay and Watford Bridge. But, they tend to be busy with other people and we seem to have been lucky only once to catch really big fish and the rest of the time it’s been small things that have to be thrown back or used for bait. Also, while both are pretty nice locations, we have always wanted to find a nice quiet fishing spot maybe on the rocks and ideally on the South shore. I’ve read about two places that were supposed to be good: West Whale Bay and Sprint Benny Bay. We tried fishing at West Whale Bay once or twice but, without having a rod so you can cast far into the sea, it didn’t seem to make much sense there. Last night, Jitka didn’t want to come fishing but my fishing buddy M was in the mood. When the non-fishing part of the day was over (work, an hour of tennis, then home for dinner) we arranged to meet up and try Spring Benny Bay.

Sure enough, when we got there, it was pretty dark. But, we had lamps and it has to be said, the place looked beautiful. Just on the South shore, no wind, peaceful night, full of stars and the mesmerising sound of the rhythmic back-and-forth of the waves on the rocks. We set up and started fishing. It took a while before anything happened. We took a few little ones out, unhooked them and sent them back in. One interesting (and annoying) thing that happened is that the fish seemed to always eat the hook. So, to send them back we had to cut the line and send them back hoping that they will survive. Pulling the hook out was no option without also killing the fish. On the plus side, maybe this means that they were hungry (or greedy, of course) which would be a good sign for the future.

Anyway, at some point the fun began. We had big bites and loads of them and started pulling out fish, one after another. M took out two large fish but I wasn’t catching anything. I was beginning to think this would be another occasion like the first time we caught fish and that I would just sit there holing the fishing rod and looking at my fishing buddy catch fish while I caught nothing. This was soon proved wrong. First, I had a massive bite, the fish took the bait and hook and was pulling like crazy! It was exciting and a little scary, to be honest. But, I wasn’t able to pull it out, the fish got unhooked and I lost it. Soon after, another big bite, a fish with a lot of muscle. I didn’t know what to expect but when I got the fish out, it looked big, proper big, maybe a kilo in weight. It was a brin and we took a photo which I’ll attach to this story.

In the end, we kept only two fish, the big one and a smaller (but only slightly) one. We had to escape before midnight because we were getting eaten by bugs. It was terrible, mosquitoes, ants and all sort of critters seems attracted to the LED fishing lamp that we had. Next time, insect repellent and Citronella candle, I think. I should take Jitka too, she will enjoy fishing by candle light.

Anyway, below is a compilation of photos from our recent fishing ventures.

Cute fish, impossible to catch

Biggest Brin I've caught

The biggest brin I have caught so far

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A busy weekend of fun

Hello again my dear reader,

this weekend was one of barbecuing, snorkelling and even playing board games. Our visitors from Boston brought with them an insatiable appetite to see and experience as much of Bermuda as possible. And, Bermuda being the fabulous place that it is, there is quite a bit to see and enjoy. So, we tried fishing on Friday evening, snorkelling on Saturday daytime, bbq on Saturday evening and board games on Saturday night. Sunday required some rest in the morning, then we went for lunch and finished the day off with Mexican food. All in all, a smashing time!

Fishing on Friday evening was quite fun, despite not catching anything worth keeping. We went to our usual spot, Cavello Bay. But, with the wind slightly up, it looked like it was going to be a bad catching day. I used the new fishing rod for the first time and caught 4-5 little fishes (we call them Spiros fish since I seem to be catching many of them) but had to put them back, they were way too small. Nathan and Cindy tried fishing for the first time ever. They both caught some fish, I think Nathan had a slightly more productive day but it seems that they both enjoyed it. Jitka didn’t have a very productive catching day but she was using new line and hooks so there is some adjustment she may have to make to get into a groove again.

Saturday morning, we packed our things, took the beach chairs and headed for Church Bay, the premier snorkelling location on the South coast, luckily only 4 km from the house. There is a Vietnamese dude there who rents out fins and snorkelling gear so my guests could hire their stuff, I used the mask and fins from my diving gear. The reef is really only 50m from the coast and the sea is not even that deep there. So, we saw loads of fish. We saw many parrotfish, many brins and chubs, whole schools of little yellow fish feeding on the corals and a huge variety of other species. I think I saw a few snappers also but I couldn’t see any angelfish or anything else really exciting and exotic. Nathan got the best of snorkelling because he came in first. Later on, when we went back with Cindy, the wind had picked up a little and it was more difficult to see. We still got to see a few fish but we never found ourselves surrounded like it was with Nathan once of twice in the middle of the rocks with fish swirling around everywhere. Still, it was fun and we did manage to see a giant parrotfish on the way out, maybe half a meter long and I think of the princess variety.

After returning from snorkelling, we headed to town because Nathan really wanted to visit “the market” to buy a board game. While I appreciated the sentiment that he wanted to buy us a game as a present, I was a little apprehensive going into town since there is really no “market” in Hamilton and it was unlikely to find any stores open at around 17:00 on Saturday. Still, we made it into town, headed for the Phoenix Centre with a brief stop in Chatham House for cigars and went upstairs in the Phoenix to the kids section. It turns out that despite my earlier apprehension, the Phoenix has a huge selection of board games for Bermuda. We found both Apples to Apples and Taboo, 2 of the 3 games that Nathan was looking for. Just to illustrate the pricing in Bermuda, the game of Taboo can be bought from amazon for less than $30 and Apples to Apples will set you back $20 in the same store. In Bermuda, the same games cost $67.50 and $50 respectively. That means that the markup for games in Bermuda is between 60% and 125%. This is not atypical of pricing in Bermuda in general. So, paying only 5.75% income tax is quickly eclipsed by the ridiculous markup. This markup is due to the lack of competition which is mandated via protectionist market policy but that is a story for another blog post.

We had another two guests over on Saturday night for the bbq so there were 6 of us in total (7, if you count Athena) and we had a great night. The food came out great, we made way too much of it as usual and it will be my lunch today and maybe even tomorrow if we end up eating out tonight. Then, we got back inside and played both games. It was a fun night, one that I wish to repeat many times over the summer with other sets of friends. We ended up staying up until 4 AM chatting, catching up, arguing and generally engaging in a form of intellectual jousting that I miss in Bermuda. I used to have a group of friends where such discussion was easy to come by and I miss just spending an evening gaming and chatting.

Sunday was another good day. We had lunch at Mickey’s Bistro on Elbow beach (pretty uneventful, the food was OK but pricey) which is a fabulous location. Having lunch outside in the sun, overlooking the water, that’s the kind of thing you want from Bermuda when you arrive here as an expat. I guess it’s more of a new thing for people who don’t come from Greece, I have had these opportunities a lot in my time in Greece. But, still, it was a pleasant experience. We then went to town (which was both empty and dead, it was a Sunday) and took the ferry to Dockyard. Dockyard was also a ghost town despite the large cruise ship that was docked there. We walked around, my guests spent some time looking for trinkets for friends and family back home and we took the ferry back to Hamilton, where the bikes were. Overall, we spent an hour in Dockyard and it was about the right length of time given how little buzz was going on there. We rode home, Cindy made some fabulous Mexican food, we watched a couple of episodes of a Modern Family and went to bed. It had been a long and tiring weekend but overall and really good one.

Please check back soon for more exciting stories. Nathan brought me an underwater camera so I think there will photos of fish and corals coming up soon too!


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Friends visiting

Hello again my dear reader,

a couple of friends of ours have just landed in Bermuda. They will stay with us for 5 days. It’s quite exciting to see people from the rest of the world, off-island sort of speak. But, I’m not sure how happy they are going to be once they get to immigration and customs. I already got a phone call (from a very polite man, incidentally) asking to confirm the visitors’ details because I had forgotten to give them my exact home address. The plan was that they would come to Hamilton by bus and then I’d direct them how to get home. So, I had totally forgotten to provide them with a full address. I wonder, what would happen if I was in a meeting or my phone was off? Would they have been sent home just because they didn’t know the exact address of where they are going to stay?

Anyway, it appears that the issues were resolved and they’re on their way to the house, Jitka and Athena are waiting for them. I’m quite looking forward to cooking on the bbq tonight and eating al-fresco, shooting the breeze and catching up, I haven’t seen for a while and we have loads to talk about!

There may be a short delay in adding entries to the blog, real life takes priority over the virtual life.

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Shopping before Bermuda day

Hello again my dear reader,

tomorrow is Bermuda Day, the annual May 24th holiday. On this day each year, there is a race and a parade in Bermuda. Since it’s a holiday and this is Bermuda, not London or a location in North America, we knew that there would literally be nothing open tomorrow. So, we thought we should take advantage of the late evening to go and do a little shopping for tomorrow, perhaps some bbq food. It appears that we were far from the only people there. We went to the Marketplace in Heron Bay and it was like the shops in Europe the week before Christmas! But, take a larger than usual number of customers, add to this the same number if not fewer check-out counters and finish it off with the usual level of Bermudian efficiency and what do you get? Well, you get long delays. We bought 5-6 items which we knew where to locate and it took almost an hour to get out of the place.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to all these shops (Marketplace, Somers, Miles, Arnold’s etc) if a real supermarket came to town. And I don’t even mean a Walmart, something like a Tesco would be enough. With some professional customer service, good opening hours and a decent selection of products for a decent price? They would close all these shops. Of course, this will never happen because such a supermarket would have to get through Parliament to operate in Bermuda and they would never let that happen. So, we carry on with substandard service and super-inflated prices not because we like it but because it’s the only way…

Ah well, at least it’s sunny, most of the time.

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Jitka, the Master Fisherwoman

Hello again my dear reader,

we spent almost the whole weekend just gone fishing. Our spot of choice was Cavello Bay, a ferry port with clear water and plenty of fish.

The fishing started on Saturday morning at 9:30. I met a mate and colleague (M) at the Henry VIII pub on the South Road. The plan was to fish off the South coast at West Whale Bay, which is reported to be good for fishing. But, when we got there, it appeared that there was enough wind to spoil an otherwise idyllic fishing setting. So, we set off towards Somerset for a location facing North towards the Sound so that it would be protected from the wind. I had been to Cavello Bay once before and it was clear that people go fishing there since there were even bins for discarding old fishing line.

So, around 10:30, the fishing began at Cavello Bay. We immediately started pulling fish out. Most were too small to keep so we threw them back into the water. A little while later, the first keeper was caught. It was a Chub, I would guess around 700 grams. So, the omens were good, there were plenty of bites and plenty of action overall. As the time went on, the tide was pulling out and we started to suffer with much less biting and much more heat. I was covered in sunscreen but M was not. The net result is sore sunburnt feet and face. I’m too scared of the sun so I was protected, mostly. He wasn’t and suffered the consequences.

One noteworthy incident was the M’s chair found its way into the sea. We had both brought folding chairs to the pier where the fishing took place. We thought it would be nice to sit and chill in the chair but, realistically, you need to get up all the time to cast the line into the water and to cut the bait and sometimes repair the fishing line. So, we couldn’t really use them. At some point in the morning, the wind came and pushed his chair into the water. He tried to fish it out before the end of the day but had little success. It’s a shame, it was a nice chair and we didn’t mean for it to be in the water. Perhaps we will fish it out at low tide at some point during a future fishing trip.

The fishing continued until late in the afternoon. We tried many different experiments to convince the fish to come out to play. We used bread, sweetcorn, tried floaters and sinkers. The results were mixed. It appears that it’s sometimes good to have a floater and hang the bait down by a few centimetres or up to a meter and sometimes even more. Other times, nothing bites on the surface and it’s best to put a sinker on and head for depth. Casting into deeper water is sometimes beneficial also. The only clear sign was the tide. High tide, good. Low tide, no good. Tide coming in, good. Tide going out, not good. In effect, this must mean that fishing this time of year should be best in the early evening (tide coming in) and early morning. But, I can’t say that I’m 100% sure. By the time we decided to leave, I was feeling good. I had pulled out the majority of the fish, kept only two big ones for the barbecue. Then, just before we left, M threw one last cast into the water annoyed with having caught nothing all day. We started packing and a couple of moments later, the reel started unravelling at pace! He had caught something and whatever it was, it was large and in a hurry to get away. It took two people’s strength to bring it up, the fish must have been 1,500 grams! It was a snapper, a tasty fleshy fish, an absolutely stunning catch.

I have to admit having felt an element of jealousy. All day, I was way ahead in catching the bigger ones. The only fish worth keeping that entire day were caught by me. Then, at the last second and without any technique, M catches the big one. I was somewhat annoyed. But, M decided that we should share the spoils in a Sunday evening barbecue and therefore I felt a little better. It’s M that I bought the barbecue off and he hasn’t managed to replace it yet so it was the best of both worlds, we provided the fish and shared the barbecue.

That same evening, Jitka also wanted to try her hand at fishing. So, we rode back to Cavello Bay to try again. She managed to catch a couple of little things that we threw back in the water. I also caught some little fish and one bigger one that deserved keeping for the barbecue. I could see that Jitka really wanted to catch something big, to feel like the fishing is worth her time and worth being dirty and fishy. So, I offered to take her fishing again on Sunday morning. It should be better anyway, the fish apparently bite quite well in the morning and with less heat, it should be better. So, Sunday morning rolled round and we sleepily headed off to the same site. I pulled a fish out on the first case but again, slightly too small to keep. Then, all of a sudden, Jitka starts screaming that she has caught something. I leapt up, dropped my line and headed to help her. She couldn’t quite lift the fish so I had to take over. I pulled up to the pier and looked at it amazedly. It wasn’t as big as the snapper the day before but it was fairly close. It’s definitely the biggest Chub I’ve ever seen. It must have been just over a kilo, I imagine. Jitka was brimming with happiness and joy from having caught such a great catch. I was happy to see it too, it meant that our barbecue could feed a good number of people. Jitka caught another decent size fish that day. Compared to my terrible haul on Sunday, she is now the master fisherwoman!

In the end, the barbecue was a great occasion. We had 6 people over, ate al fresco on the balcony, the food was fabulous (although I burnt the meat skewers a little) and everyone seemed to have a good time. We ended late at night, I had the customary cigar and completed a weekend where living in Bermuda made sense. It was like another mini holiday.

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