Flying Fish Return
About a month ago I had written that Karen and I spotted the first flying fish of this year while out for a little moonlight cruise aboard Moby. Since then, we have seen only a few of the flyers until a group of high-fliers booked Catallac for an evening celebration.
Reed Woodyard supervises a group of folks that spend their working time doing a high wire act in Descanso Canyon; the Zip Line Guides and support personnel. Reed called and booked Catallac for his work group for recognition of their efforts.
Catallac is a great platform for group events. We have done a handful of weddings, quite a few celebration of life cruises and a number of corporate outings so far this year. Most of these have been delivered in daylight or late afternoon time frames.
Reed wanted to book a 3 hour charter from 6-9pm for his group. “It would be great if we could get up to Two Harbors during the cruise.” Reed said. I replied, “We will give that direction a look-see if this wind dies down by then.”
Wind has been prevalent in our charters this year, so we are a bit reticent about running a group of celebrants into the slop if we can find calm waters elsewhere around the island.
Later Reed mentioned that one of his group members lives at Two Harbors, so it would be great if we could get her on board for a portion of the cruise. Charter time came and the ocean smiled upon us as we cruised up from Avalon toward Two Harbors.
“Perfect”, I thought as we passed Long Point, “We might be able to see if the flying fish have arrived in any great numbers yet.”
The flying fish like clean, clear water (the better to see their enemies and generate a flight response) and kelp. The kelp is their spawning ground. The female swims through the kelp and lays her eggs for the males to then swim through and fertilize.
Our kelp forests have been decimated over the last three years, so we have had some slim migrations of the flying fish into our waters. Slowly, we are seeing the forests reestablish themselves and with them we expect to see a return of the flying fish in greater numbers.
The evening was stunningly beautiful as the sun set over the West End of the island and twilight set in. We brought on our single passenger at Two Harbors for a quick cruise around Eagle Reef, then dropped her off and headed back toward Avalon.
The area from Blue Cavern to Empire is often out of reach for our 7:30 – 9pm Flying Fish Tours (starting this week), but it is an area where we frequently find flyers in abundance.
As soon as we turned on our lights I began spotting them. Since this was more of a party cruise than a flying fish tour, the group was a bit lackadaisical about searching and was not aware of the number of flyers around the boat.
I called out on the mic that we were in a pretty good sized school of flyers, but the music and festive mood swallowed my announcement. ‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘at least I know where the flyers are.’
A moment later I noted a group of flyers off to our port bow that had taken flight and were heading toward the boat. Before I could fire off a warning announcement over the P.A. system one of the guests, Lorenzo Hernandez, on the starboard bow jumped straight up like a cat on a hot time roof.
I knew immediately what had happened, but Lorenzo was unsure and confused for a moment by a strange life form that was flopping and dancing around his feet. It did not take long for him to recognize the critter as a flying fish. He raised the fish from the deck by its wing-like fins and now had everybody’s attention.
Lorenzo was pretty quick about getting the fish back into the water, so the pic did not come out that great. But it does show an exuberant moment aboard another Catallac Celebration Cruise that had turned into our first flying fish trip of the season.
“YES, the flyers have arrived!”
By Capt. John King
Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – firstname.lastname@example.org – 888-613-7770