[private] People and local Guanaja authorities inaugurated their first ever international fishing tournament on October 21. Thursday will be inscription day with the actual fishing taking place beginning on Friday the 22.
Praying for good weather they are anxiously checking out the weather situation on the computers and TV screens. For the last month or so, the Northwest Caribbean has been in turmoil with tropical depressions and storms and even Hurricanes so the chances that the weather will clear did not look so good.
No one can control the weather but in an effort to start things off on the right foot, the organizers contacted the people at IGFA (International Game Fish Association) and after satisfying the requirement of bill fish catch and release of that prestigious organization this tournament is now listed as a world championship qualifying event.
The inscription to the tournament went ok, with 21 boats registered and the tournament got under way on Friday morning. The one day fishing tournament produced a winner in the largest fish and heaviest Wahoo- all in the same fish. The lucky winner was Mr. Danny McNab from Roatan who walked away with $1,300. The second place winner was Mr. Sidney Haylock from Guanaja, whose prize was a $300 dollar Marlin Kit. The third place prize was a Marlin Tagging Kit and that went to Mr. Bob McNab also from Roatan.
On Saturday morning the tournament had to be cancelled as Tropical Storm Richard with 70 mph wind barreled down on the island in latitudes that would have placed it between the island and the mainland when it was scheduled to past the island early on Sunday morning. The cancellation of the tournament was by suggestion and mutual consent of the registered participants. The organizers conscious the fact that the participants did not get their money’s worth and in complete agreement with the registered fishermen that the balance due be applied to a percentage of the dues for the next schedule tournament.
It appears to me that October is a bad month for deep sea fishing events because it is when the cold fronts start coming of the gulf coast heading for our latitudes. The organizers are now consulting the people at IGFA to select another date for the event next year that would not coincide with any other qualifying event scheduled in the Caribbean.
Guanaja Island, while well protected, has one very vulnerable point: winds from the Southwest are very damaging because the sea rises to great heights in the harbor as there is no protection for the Bonacca town when the wind and sea come from that direction.
With a northerly drift of about one tenth of a degree every three to four hours we were sure that we would get the full impact of the storm. We had only one salvation: for the storm to pass us on the north side of the island, this was important because the heavy winds of the storm was hanging to the NW and NE quadrants and extending out around 90 miles while to the south the winds extended out only a few miles from the center.
With only about 60 or 70 miles to go we accepted the fact that is was headed straight for the island, we boarded up the south and west side of some of the buildings a got ready for the blow. While watching the computer screen I mentioned that if only it would pull a little further to the Northwest we would be spared a lot of wind.
As we waited for another update the talk went on about the last storm that had passed us on the south side and we were all surprised when the update came in saying that the storm had changed its course and was now heading WNW, with some quick calculations we determined that it would be close but on the present course it would pass us on the north side of the island. We got some wind from the Northwest then the West and then from the Southwest, but there was very little damage as the wind came in gushes at about 45 to 55 mph.