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What a brother in law!!!! - a days marlin fishing for my birthday!! ...... but then we starting thinking more and it was a great opportunity to escape for another little adventure. The big game fishing outfit were based in Watamu in Southern Kenya - over 120 miles up the coast from our little slice of paradise at Pembe Abwe on the Tanzanian coast. Gary had just got himself a fiberglass boat and was keen to test it so we decided to fish our way there and back ... from there it was just a case of having a quick look at google earth to see the myriad of islands, reefs and sand bars in our path! We had a chart for the first 20 miles or so but after that it was just going to be that google earth print out that we were going to try and use to navigate our way - no where near as much detail on it in Africa as there is in Milton Keynes - so it was going to be pretty challenging to pick our way through - particularly if it got rough and visibility was reduced.
We flew down from Arusha to Pembe Abwe in Gary's plane and were greeted by choppy seas and a strong wind out of the north .. it looked like we could be in for an epic as we would have it on the nose all the way to Watamu;-( ... but preparations continued and we launched the boat and made the bacon and egg sarnies ready for a pre dawn start.. The gods smiled and we set off at 5am on a flat calm sea and raced north to take advantage of it. Dawn found us just short of Tanga and we began fishing in and out of the islands and had sight of a few sail fish but only landed a few barracuda and a very bright red grouper! I REALLY doesn't get much better than this - clear blue skies, vivid blue crystal clear waters, scattered coral reefs and bright yellow sand islands ... cold beer and tight lines!!! The finally wind got up as we neared our destination and the last few hours we were butting into steep seas so it was a relief to pull into the sheltered waters of Watamu - a refreshing dip in their pool and a sumptuous meal before an early night.
The big game fishing day dawned bright and clear as we headed out just after dawn, catching a few bonito and rainbow runners as we cleared the islands to use as bait. We were now into a different type of fishing - a big professional boat with a crew and captain to match! We made for a sea mount way out in the middle of the Pemba Channel and the lures went out. The crew were amazing and would jump about with excitement and have us strapped into the fighting chair long before the lure was taken ...their practiced eyes had spotted the sleek dark shape of the marlin stalking the lures. One amazing strike stripped several hundred meters of line from the reel in less than 5 seconds - the guys were convinced that it was the biggest black marlin they had seen all season! how ever it was more than a match for the line and snapped it only 10 seconds later - long faces all around and plenty of comments about the way the rod had been handled! Gary was next up with a great wahoo that took him about 15 minutes to get to the boat - then straight afterwards another marlin was on .. a blue this time .. 40 minutes later the fish was about 15 feet from the boat when it did an amazing leap clear of the water and threw the hook out. Fantastic sport!!. The marlin fishing at Watamu is all tag and release and they take their conservation very seriously. Finally with the light fading we turned back for Watamu, few beers and another great meal then a rest before another early start for the long fish home. Calm seas and a following wind gave us another great run ..and we were treated to a spectacular display of leaping and splashing by a few marlin en route ..taunting us! - well in the words of Arnie -"we'll be back!!"