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Day In The Life Of A Billfish

By Daniel Auberson  (Translation by Martin)

SailfishIt’s eight in the morning. I’m fast asleep in the middle of the pacific, 50km from the shore of Manuel Antonio, and 100m below the surface. I wake up refreshed after a night’s hunting, where I ate what must have been 20kg of small fish. I can hear the noise of a motor far away; nothing strange about that, there are always these things like big trees buzzing about overhead.

Hey, here it comes again, for a second time, a third time, and now I’m wide awake and ready to go up to check out what’s going on and why this motor is going above my head, now for the fourth time.

I go up to 20m below the surface. Strange, there’s a goldfish following the motor. I’ve not seen this type of fish before. It’s not going very fast, I’m going to follow. He’s swimming along; I’m going to catch up to him. I go up to 3m below the surface, keeping sight of the goldfish. I’m going to catch him for my breakfast. Ah, but here comes another fish to join the goldfish. That’s more like it, its a little tuna and, Allez-oop! With a bit of effort I twist my body round and gobble him up.

But what’s this? There’s a bit of metal stuck in my teeth and I can feel myself being pulled by this white shape 50m away.

Vamos! I dive down to 200m to give me time to think about what I’m going to do, but a cable is pulling me, and I can’t get rid of the hook.

Caught SailfishOk, let’s go back up to 3 meters. I’ll see if I can dislodge the hook by jumping out of the water. But nothing happens. I’m pulling and twisting all over the place but I’m being dragged in the by the fisherman. I’d better dive back down to the deep for 20 minutes to have a rest and a think.

But this line keeps on pulling me, I can’t get way from this boat. I’ve been battling and fighting for 45 minutes now, but nothing. Bit by bit I’m being pulled in towards the boat, meter by meter the space between us closes. I’ve lost the bat

tle. I’m near the boat now, where there’s a man, I think he’s called a fisherman, and his helper grabs my snout and starts pulling me out of the water. I’m so tired that I can hardly fight any more, and that’s it now, I’m out of the water. I can see a fat man sitting on a chair who seems very happy. All the people are shouting “bravo, nice take,” taking photos. What? Photos? What’s going on? They pull me onto the boat; there are two people holding me now. I’m dry, the sun is burning me, I think I’m going to die. The cameras click and clack to my left and my right. This is it, they’re going to cut me up into pieces.

The fisherman comes up to my mouth with some pincers and takes the piece of metal out of my mouth. What’s going on? He’s holding me tight and putting me back into the water. Is he washing and preparing his prey? The captain restarts the motor and I gulp in the newly oxygenated water, bringing me back to life. My eyes had been closed, half-dead, I’d had no hope and now I’m alive again!

The sailor puts me in and out of the wake of the boat, over and over, and then suddenly lets me go! I’m free, what an adventure, I can’t believe it and jump with joy around the boat, two, three meters out of the water.
I go back down deep into the ocean, sparing a thought for the man that invented catch and release.

Sailfish released


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