Behind the Photo: Sailfish


Sailfish on the hunt. This was my favorite shot of the day.

I only just started scuba diving but before that, I’ve been swimming for quite a while and both have given me a new appreciation of what is in this grand world called the ocean.

I was invited to go swim with sailfish so we had to sail out about an hour and a half, nearly two hours, to the point where we could see them.


Ana and Mari on the prow of our boat.

It was early, about 5 am, when we boarded the boat and rode out. The captain told us that four women should sit on the prow so that the nose of the boat would be weighted. The waves were a tad rough and I opted to sit on the side so that I didn’t feel those spine-jarring landings. The Dramamine was taking effect and I felt pretty good. I had switched seats with Mari, who sat where I had been and put a life jacket under her to cushion her landings. I was just thinking I was about to get off the prow to stand with the captain when we flew over a very high wave.

This was not going to be good.

We landed with such spectacular force that Mari crashed right through the windshield. Glass flew towards the back, where the other passengers were. And surprisingly enough, the worst injury was only a tiny cut on Mari’s arm. Adal, who was sitting in the very back, had a cut across his arm, from a flying piece of glass.

And to think that not two minutes before, I had been thinking of standing right there, where the glass flew, made me thank those who were watching over me.

The boat stopped, glass was cleaned out and dumped into the sea. But the rolling of the boat was making me queasy.

The Pajarera.

The Pajarera. Frigate birds looking for sardines, an indication that sail fish were underneath.

A half hour later, we saw the “pajarera” in the distance. Meaning “aviary” in Spanish, the “pajarera” referred to the sight of frigate birds gliding in lazy circles in a tall cylinder formation, which could be seen a mile away. They were fishing for sardines and below those sardines, sailfish were pressuring them to rise to the surface so that they were easier to eat.

I got into the water. Another boat had by that time deposited their swimmers and most of them had underwater cameras and large and bulky boxes for their video equipment. We competed with them to see the sail fish and swam in mad dashes. I was getting sandwiched between a photographer and another swimmer, all the while, feeling all the more queasy.

Mari swam up and asked me if I was alright. “You look really pale.”

I lowered my face into the water so that I could vomit.

“Are you okay? Can you swim back? Do you need me to tow you back?” Mari asked. I had to take a couple of breaths and vomit again before I could swim back to the boat and feel considerably less miserable.

All things considered, it was an incredible day.


3 thoughts on “Behind the Photo: Sailfish

  1. You are such a rock star! Glad to read you did not have a Final Destination moment with the glass. I go bass fishing occasionally but all I have pictures of are small fish and empty beer bottles! Nice pics and good post my friend.

    • I felt as hung over as a rock star could have felt, Mike. I was soooooooooooooo ill that day. Throwing up little pockets of vomit for the fishies to eat. At least everything gets recycled…eeeewwie….

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