The Start of an Ideal Day
It could not have started better. The morning began with a delicious breakfast at the beach restaurant of Hotel Mawimbi, where fresh fruits, crispy toast and huevos Mexicanos were served. This was accompanied by fruit juice made from ripe mangoes and real Italian espresso. Then we first went to the beach, because for our plan to go fishing in the early afternoon and then visit the cenote of Yalahau, we had to be well rested, of course. The weather was ideal, pleasantly warm temperatures, sunshine with a few small clouds in between and hardly any wind. Perfect conditions for a boat trip.
Departure from the Harbor
At about 1 pm we were finally ready to go. A friendly local named “Kiaz” had invited us on his day off for a private fishing trip and so we met him together with his wife at the port of Holbox. To be invited by Mexicans is a great honor and as a small thank you we took care of the drinks and some snacks. After a short waiting time for Mexican standards, our boat captain with the name “Misrain” came together with his family, his wife and the small twin children, and prepared the boat for departure. It didn’t take long and a short time later we were on our way.
If you Want to Fish, you Need Bait
We were not familiar with the day’s schedule in detail, since it was not an official tour we had booked, so we were happy to let our Mexican friends surprise us. The first trip took us around Isla Holbox to Punta Cocos. There the water is quite shallow and therefore ideal to catch small fish that will later be used as bait for the big ones. No sooner had we gotten used to the gentle rocking in the boat than we stopped and our two Mexicans jumped into the knee-deep water and stretched a fine net between them with which they moved away from the boat.
In the meantime, we played with the children and gossiped with the women, as far as our “Spanglish”, a mixture of Spanish and English, allowed. It took quite a while for the two men to return, but only Misrain had a handful of small fish with him, which was far too little. So, no fishing today after all? But Mexicans are jokers and after some fooling around and giggling, a plastic bag suddenly slipped out of Kiaz’s swimming shorts, filled to the brim with small bait fish. They are really funny, the Mexicans.
The Fisherman’s Luck on the Hook
If you have ever been fishing or angling, you can certainly understand how it went. Every proud fisherman knows his secret spots, where there are the best chances to catch the biggest prey. And so, we headed for the first place, the big bay between Isla Holbox and Chiquilá. Our captain Misrain accurately weighed the wind direction, current and the position of the sun and unerringly steered towards a point on the wide sea, which for us laymen was no different from any other. Now we were off.
Fortunately, the hooks were equipped for us with a small fish as bait, because we would not have brought it over the heart. Then we put them in the water and waited with a loose line and a sure instinct for one to bite. And wait, and wait. Fortunately, there was enough beer at the boat. After what felt like an hour, which was probably more like ten minutes, the place was found to be “not suitable today” and we drove a little further towards the coast. Then the procedure started all over again.
Again, some time passed before a fish strayed to our boat and probably accidentally swallowed the bait on my sweetheart. She pulled the line and voila!: A fish appeared! But what to do when in front of an animal-loving person a slippery creature is wriggling excitedly, just snatched from its habitat, has a fishing hook in its mouth and would like nothing more than to get back? Our friend Kiaz immediately knew what to do.
With a deft hand and not without being able to stifle his grin, he grabbed the fishing line, removed the hook and stowed the first fish caught, whose name we unfortunately no longer remember. This was the end of the great fishing luck, because apart from a lot of waiting and getting to know other potential fishing grounds, only Andrea, Kiaz’s wife, managed to pull a similarly large specimen out of the sea. The gentlemen all came up empty. This would probably not be enough for the planned big ceviche dinner in Yalahau.
Rescue at the Cenote of Yalahau
Nevertheless, in the late afternoon we made our way to the cenote of Yalahau. There we first went over a somewhat shaky wooden walkway into the Mexican jungle of Yucatán, where after a few minutes a clearing opened up and a small restaurant with a large covered terrace appeared in the middle of the wilderness. At least there was a makeshift, but already eagerly awaited toilet there and after the urgent relief we walked to the cenote.
Fortunately, there were hardly any other visitors and so we could refresh ourselves in the cool and crystal-clear fresh water of the cenote, the so-called Hoyo Negro, the “Black Hole”. Back from the water we were told that the ceviche was ready. To our greatest surprise, it was not only a huge portion, but there were also a few grilled fish, which our hospitable captain had organized from the local restaurant. The day, which was haunted by bad luck, was saved and everyone was full from the substantial meal.
Everybody knows the feeling to start the journey home in the evening after an extensive and successful day of excursions, slightly tired, but satisfied and completely relaxed. This was also the case for us, as we had been on the road all day. The children slept peacefully and Capitán Misrain literally floated with the boat in the calm water near the coast along the mangroves back to the port of Holbox. The trip flew by, as did this beautiful afternoon that we will always remember.
P.S.: Many thanks to our Mexican friends Kiaz, Andrea, Misrain, Idayra and their cute twins for letting us join your trip!