A man growing old becomes a child again. -Sophocles
For a brief time this morning I felt 13 years old again. Let me explain why. I was up at 6am, quickly dressed, got my fishing gear organised, jumped on a bicycle and peddled down a dirt track towards the place I had decided to fish. The smell of the early morning air, cooled by rain in the night, the green vegetation on both sides of the dirt track, the chirping of early rising birds, the sun beginning to colour the horizon. Holding two fishing rods in one hand as I balanced the old bicycle reminded me of the thrill and difficulties of riding with no hands as a kid. For an instant I felt 13 again.
Many times as a young boy I had bicycled in the early morning to spend a few hours fishing. And today I had that same feeling of eager anticipation and youthful exuberance. I even forgot about the arthritis in my knee.
But I was not back in Northern California where I grew up and definitely not 13 years old. I am half-way around the world (and half a century on the other side of 13) on the very small, lush tropical island of Dhonakulhi in the Maldives at the Island Hideaway Resort in the Indian Ocean.
And I was riding a very old guest bicycle, not the Schwinn StingRay of my youth, from the bungalow my family and I are renting to the northern part of the island (only 1.4 kilometres in length) to spend a few morning hours fishing for bonefish and Giant Trevally on the saltwater flats surrounding the little island.
We have come for a brief family holiday to escape the grey skies of London (definitely past time to see some sun), but it just so happens that the Maldives have very healthy populations of bonefish, jacks and Giant Trevally. This is not really a fishing holiday. It’s a family holiday with fishing as a bonus. My normal fishing excursions are a hundred times more rustic than this. This is definitely upscale tropical island luxury. But the possibility of fishing is, to me, icing on the cake.
And it’s not just a kick-back and do nothing holiday. Although we have caught up on some well needed sleep. My daughter, aged 12, is taking a SCUBA diving course and has just yesterday become certified as an Open Water Diver. Big thrill for her, and us. And I am learning about fishing the Maldives. There are no guides or flats boats here so it’s definitely “on your own” and figure it out as you go. Mostly interesting and fun, sometimes frustrating as I know there are more fish further out on the flats that I can’t get to. But, stay tuned, am negotiating with a local fisherman with a dingy to get out there.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. -Henry Ford
Tight Lines . . .
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