James organized a deep-sea fishing trip for us on Sunday, launching off the coast of New Hampshire and spending the whole day fishing for cod and haddock. Let me tell you what I imagined the experience would be like. I was thinking a fun day in the sunshine, enjoying the cool ocean breezes and the fresh sea air, reeling in big and small fish, catching my first real fish, eating turkey sandwiches for lunch, and then bringing home an ice chest or two filled with fresh fish to grill for dinner. Now let me tell you what actually happened. It all began well, with James's friend Tim setting us up with spots on one side of the boat, and we went to get a quick greasy and cheap breakfast at the diner around the corner. At 7am, the counter was lined with large round men eating their bacon and egg breakfasts, and I imagined that they were probably in those exact seats any morning of the week. We were thrilled at the cheapness of the breakfast, and we boarded the boat at 8am, excited about the action-packed day we were about to have. For the first hour of travel towards our fishing site, we chatted with each other and the people sitting next to us, who were more seasoned fishermen with stories of interesting and delicious fish that could be caught in the Atlantic. We were stoked.
9am - the 20-foot swells start to make our stomachs a little woozy, and one by one we start donating our breakfasts to all the fish in the sea. The horrible feeling never really goes away, and an active concentration of my eyes on the horizon is necessary to avoid constant puking. I wait for the boat to reach its destination, some shoals out in the middle of the ocean where the fish hang out, and I assume that when the boat stops, the crazy rocking will stop and I'll recover enough to do some fishing. Unfortunately, the waves are still coming, tossing our boat side to side, and the best I can do is hold a rod that James baits for me, and half-heartedly reel it in if I feel a tug. Sometimes just the act of looking at the rod makes me sick. To top it off, there aren't many fish biting, and the boat captain takes us to four different sites to look for more fish. What with the tides and the violent waves, none of our group catches any edible fish, just some dogfish sharks that have to be thrown back. The more seasoned fishermen catch a few haddock, but they also do their fair share of ralphing. As far as James, Tony, Connie, and I were concerned, we were in a marathon test of endurance to avoid death for 8 hours before we returned to the docks at 5pm. It was the longest day of my life. Every time I looked at my watch, it was like 12 minutes after my last glance. I was ready to swim back rather than stay on that boat.
I'll spare you the gory details, but I walked off that boat at 5pm with a body ravaged by that boat. My stomach hurt, my legs were sore from holding my body in place as I clung to the rail for the two-hour trip back, pretending I was a crazy sea captain in the crow's nest or whatever, my butt hurt from the 6 hours of sitting on that hard plastic seat, my back hurt from the slouching I did to avoid feeling sicker, and later I found out that my entire face was sunburnt, excluding what was covered by my sunglasses. So now my nose hurts when I crinkle it.
To top it off, none of our crew caught any edible fish. James's friend actually gave us some fish (pity fish, if you will) and we thankfully but ashamedly took it home to grill. Unfortunately, while cooking it, I saw a couple small brown worms wriggling in the fish meat, which Amit said was totally normal (really?). I figured if they disappeared after cooking, I could still eat the fish... but then while eating, I discovered two big worms right in my bowl! I was WAY too grossed out to eat any more, and I think I'm swearing off fish for like a month. Blaghghgh.
James and I are sticking to rivers and lakes from now on.