Most anyone that knows me, is well aware that the last activity I would ever willingly choose to do is fishing.
However, in my journey of firsts, I was compelled and encouraged to try my hand at the art of throw net fishing while in Hawaii at the Travaasa Hana Resort. Formerly known as the highly acclaimed Hotel Hana Maui, this property is perhaps Maui’s most exclusive and private of resorts.
While one of the features of the hotel is its very healthy list of complimentary resort amusements, my traveling companion and I decided to opt for something neither of us has ever done before. He and I could have selected any one of a series or curious activities, like a coastal horseback riding, historical walking tour, archery, Ukulele or hula lessons, or a Holoholo bike tour…all of which sounded intriguing, but in some form or fashion, one of us already had an encounter with the aforementioned.
To our delight, we were the only guests signed up for the 10am fishing excursion, until two last minute nellies busted in during our on-the-ground tutorial at the fashionably late time of 10:30. Although the two of us were nearly done with our schooling, our very gracious guide and “kumu” (teacher), Andrew politely welcomed them into our training grounds and repeated all the core skills and set up. I’m not very patient and these two late-comers were not quick studies. I grew tired, waiting.
Anyway, once the “nellies” seemingly had the hang of it, we headed for the ocean.
While I was with a group of men, they insisted on “ladies first.” I actually think this was more about letting someone else be the guinea pig as opposed to any gentlemanly, polite gesture.
So, away I went. I gathered my net, twisted, throttled, tossed it over my left shoulder, and finally, getting it set in an awkward 10 degrees of instruction sort of way. Andrew and I headed out to the corals and he pointed in the direction for which I should cast my fishing net. The ten pound “blanket” hung around my body entangling me in a web of mystery and it felt all of a sudden very intimidating. Being in the water and trying to hoist this mesh from my hands, arms, legs and hip was going to prove challenging.
I counted to myself: one, two, three. My focus was on Andrew’s target and I was determined to succeed, with the entire beach of fishermen watching, my kumu attentive and my companions curious if a girl could manage this Hawaiian tradition of male virility.
I cast my net, it fell gracefully atop the space in the coral and I cheered internally…at least I was successful in the casting process.
Andrew and I quickly went to retrieve the net, to evaluate my “catch.” While not impressive, I did indeed wrangle in two Butterfly Fish, which are known in Hawaii as monogamous mates. Interesting…I think I caught a couple that was ready to tie the knot.
Anyway, as per Hawaiian tradition and culture, you must throw back your first catch of the day, so after the photo op., Andrew released my love “birds” back into the ocean. I took this as a sign.
So, next up were the three men in our “school.” Each one displayed their prowess with the net, trying to get their steps in line and cast as deep as possible. Each one, subsequently, failed at catching anything other than ocean debris and leaves.
I tried hard to be a good sport, and at the end of the day, I think I got the nod that girls aren’t all bad.