Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Key West, Florida


Memorial Day Weekend 2009 - Initially I wanted to fly home for the four day weekend, (the squadron had Friday off), but tickets were upwards of six hundred dollars. Then I wanted to visit CJ in New Orleans but there was a special in Key West for the weekend. So instead, Lisa, her friend from work, and her friend's boyfriend, and I decided to drive nine hours to the edge of the United States. We left at 2 AM Friday morning and arrived in the Keys around noon. The place looked like something straight out of a travel brochure. Here's a view of the beach to the left:


And the view to the right:


About a mile down the road is the southernmost point of the United States - marked by a bullet shaped thing.


The rest of Friday we were too tired to do much. Saturday we rented scooters and navigated the island.


This is an old Navy ship that will soon be sunk and made into an artificial reef.


Random goats on an old fort surrounded by dozens of "No Trespassing - Contaminated Area" signs. Stupid goats. Can you find all five?


Hah! Of course not! There are only four. Here is a bomb that was hidden in a palm tree. Coconuts kill 1500 people a year.


Scenic picture taken from a bar next to the ocean -


Saturday we rented a motorboat from the Marina (with military discount of course), and drove around on the ocean until everyone felt sick and couldn't wait to get off.


Where's Lisa? She stayed behind so she could get a cool picture of us leaving. Just kidding. The picture isn't cool. I didn't get to fish as much as I wanted, but the little fishing I did produced a bunch of weird aquarium-type fish. I have no idea what any of these are.




By far the craziest part of the trip was going eight miles off the coast to the middle of the ocean and docking to a buoy that marked a coral reef. We then proceeded to dive into the ocean and snorkel around with a ton of fish you would see in aquariums. At one point a six foot fish (Tarpon) swam by me. A little after we arrived, a bunch of boats showed up and started doing the same thing we were doing, except they were tours people had to pay for. Suckers.



The End

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rigel, Update II


Now the dog is six months old. He has a lot more teeth and weighs about forty pounds. Heavy teeth.





Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Corpus Christi Offshore Fish


Catching little fish off the pier was fun, but after catching stupid catfish after catfish things got a little old. I forget when exactly, but we (myself and the guy who ate the catfish, Matt Yan), decided to book an offshore fishing trip out of Port Aransas one weekend. The cost was eighty dollars for eight hours. I had only been deep sea fishing once long time ago when I was twelve or so. This one was out of Dana Point, California and I only caught two fish that time, one was a Blue Mackerel and the other was a Barracuda. So, based on previous experience, I wasn't expecting much this time.

The boat left pretty early and sputtered out to sea for about an hour before anchoring. The Captain yelled to drop our lines and for the next several minutes everyone just stood there waiting. Then the rod almost flew out of my hands. After several minutes of reeling I began to see something light gray swimming around in the water. It turned out to be an Atlantic Sharpnose shark...full of babies. Disgusting.


Gutting this was awful. Shark blood smells horrible for anyone who doesn't know. But to even make it bleed, you have to saw your way through its incredibly thick, sandpaper skin. So after accomplishing this, we decided to see what was in its stomach. There were a bunch of crabs, some shrimp, and a hook. What an unhealthy eater. Then we stumbled upon a sack that turned out to be this:


We were allowed one shark each and after realizing what a pain gutting the first one was, we threw the second one in the boat canal by Matt's house for some lucky person to find the next morning. Anyway, back to the fishing trip. The next crazy fish is called a Kingfish. I didn't catch one, but Matt did. It has so many sharp teeth it will make you cry.

He looks pretty sad now:


Next fish caught is known as a Bonito. I didn't see anyone catch one of these except Matt. The Captain then proceeded to say "Hmph, Bonito" and took it away, never to be seen again.

The last type of fish we caught was Red Snapper.


Yum. Oh yeah, those guy's shorts were completely clean before we left the dock. Eight hours later we pulled back into port and unloaded all the fish we caught.

The reddish ones are all snapper. The gray ones are all shark. The dark silver/black ones are Kingfish.


After gutting all the fish and cutting them into small pieces, we decided to make a few different things. Some of the snapper we ate raw, which tasted exactly like the sushi. The snapper also turned into fish tacos. We fried some of the Kingfish in a deep fryer and made fish nuggets. The shark became Shark-kabobs grilled with Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, etc and was definitely the best tasting of the three. Too bad we threw the other one away. The end.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Corpus Christi Inshore Fish


In the nine months I spent in Oklahoma, I had only fished once. It was at some dam north of Enid with fish jumping out of the water every few seconds. Not even a bite. Stupid fish. So moving to Corpus Christi, which was rumored to have excellent fishing, I doubted I would catch anything. After moving in and getting settled I decided to walk to the local pier - Bob Hall Pier, which was about a mile away. I decided to try fishing at sunset...because fish are supposed to be more hungry at dawn and dusk or something. First few casts I didn't get any bites, but then my line started moving around and I pulled up my first fish in a really long time.


A catfish! Hooray. This is known as a Hardhead Catfish because it has a giant bone in its head, just like a lot of people. It was pretty small and pathetic looking and kept making a weird noise. I didn't know fish could make noise, but apparently they do - especially when you squeeze them. I ended up letting it go and resumed fishing. A little while later the line started moving again but this time with a lot more force.


Two fish! The top one is a Croaker (because it makes a croaking noise - even when I don't squeeze it), and the bottom one is a useless Piggy Perch. The orange sticker is from the apple I ate. I ended up keeping the Croaker and cutting it up to use as bait, but threw the perch back because it makes awful bait. At this point it was getting late, but I was still excited with my luck. A few more casts and I had another fish on the line.


This catfish looked like a mutant version of the first one I caught. It was covered in white slime and had really long iridescent-colored fins. Some local standing around warned me not to step on it because it had hidden spines that would "make you want to die" if it pierced your skin. This catfish is known as a Gafftopsail Catfish and apparently tastes decent. I ended up taking this one home with the intent to fry it and eat it, but in the process of gutting it, I found out it has a really weird bone structure that makes it a huge pain to take apart. I ended up throwing it in the trash.

Several days of fishing at dusk yielded about the same type of fish so I decided to try fishing during the day. First cast off the pier around one in the afternoon and I landed this thing.


At the time I had no clue what it was, but later found out it is known as a Ladyfish. This one is wearing lipstick. I cut it up and tried it as bait and within a few minutes, I had a three foot Hammerhead shark on my line. When I tried to lift it up onto the pier, the shark's teeth severed my line and it swam away, laughing at me. Another day of fishing in the early afternoon yielded one of these - a Spanish Mackerel.


I found out a good way of cooking this is to place the fillets in bacon grease, which I did. Good stuff. The rest of my time in Corpus I tried to catch another one of these to eat raw. (Apparently in Japanese, a Spanish Mackerel is known as Aji, which translates to tasty according to some food site). No luck. A weird fish I caught off the pier that looked like it belonged in an aquarium is known as a Spadefish.


It tasted like chicken. I also caught a baby Jack Crevalle, which makes excellent shark bait but tastes awful. I ended up giving it to some shark fishers.


Closer to my house, I caught this while fishing at the inlets. Another aquarium-looking fish that I got to taste. It's known as a Gray Triggerfish and tasted like lobster. Seriously. The only problem with these is that they're so hard to gut and fillet and don't have much meat on them...kind of like a skinny, bony human. Anyway, here it is:


I'm getting tired of writing so here are the rest...with captions! You're probably only looking at the pictures anyway.


This is a Mangrove Snapper. It hates me.


A sheepshead. Look how fat I look. Its the wind. Sureeeee.


Sand Trout. He wasn't happy.


Atlantic Stingray. Pretty disgusting.




Here we have the elusive Redfish. Corpus Christi is the Redfish capitol of the world, and I only managed to catch one. This one was too small but I ate it anyway. Right there.


Back on the pier that was destroyed by a Hurricane. These were three or four pound Gafftopsail Catfish that I didn't bother eating...but this guy did.


What kind of fish is this?! This bastard kept stealing our bait then flying away with it and laughing at us. He snagged his foot on one of our hooks and started screaming as we reeled him in from the sky. Who's laughing now?! He tasted like chicken. Just kidding, we let it go.