“The mind is like a parachute, it must be open for it to work.”
Guanaja, Honduras, specifically Jones Cay, is many things. Peaceful, relaxing and one hell of a hard place to fish. The wind and a multitude of cunning fish make fly fishing no walk in the park. Although I have yet to catch a fish, this experience has been almost more than I can ask for. The scenery, people and the experience altogether have made this a trip that will be remembered for a lifetime.
Today was slightly different from our normal routine, we woke up around 6 o’ clock to eat breakfast in order to hit the water early to troll for some larger deep sea fish. With great excitement we wolfed down our breakfast burritos and headed for the boats. Have you ever wondered who might win in a fight versus a 15 foot fishing boat and the wrath of Mother Nature’s ocean swells? Well I sure was curious and we found out real fast after about trolling for 10 minutes. Not only was it nearly impossible to steer but also getting constantly bashed by waves and drenched to the bone by salt water made it a little harder to focus on the fishing.
After quickly exiting the deeper water we headed to the docks where we waited for incoming fishermen to chum the water so we could attempt to catch some hungry Tarpon. Soon after our arrival my little brother and I along with our guides Noah and Pablo, spotted some monster Tarpon. Having little experience with fly fishing and a bit of an inflated ego, I thought a simple cast or two would have me hooked on a trophy size Tarpon fish. I will tell you now that I had no such luck and my ego was quickly deflated by the cunning and agile nature of the Tarpon. After multiple attempts to catch these elusive fish it was about time for lunch and we left to meet the rest of the group for a hike to a scenic waterfall.
Here is where my day got the most interesting. The main trail to the waterfall was fairly simple, a few twists and turns through the Honduran jungle but nothing too complicated. However, Charlie Boyd (The Chuck Dog) and I were separated from the main group and our guide had to fall behind to check back on the boat. We received specific directions from Noah to follow the river all the way to the waterfall. As most parents who have teenagers can tell you, our teenage brains retain very little information except for useless song lyrics and hilarious quotes from random movies. Directions are no exception to this rule and thus The Chuck Dog and I found ourselves at a fork in the road. One path led further down the river and the other was a vertical climb on boulders straight up the mountain. I will give you one guess on which path we decided to take… As it may surprise you, we failed to see the giant red arrow nailed to a tree directly behind our heads which pointed us directly toward our destination. Feeling very confident in our gut decision to scale the mountain as if we were sherpas on the face of Mount Everest, we began our ascent. Little did we know that this path would ultimately end not with a shimmering oasis of refreshing Honduran spring water, but rather a dead end into the face of a cliff. But wait!! Thanks to having been equipped with such knowledge and logical reasoning I was able to quickly decipher the enigma that was this nature trail and we immediately turned around and headed towards the waterfall!…is what my parents would want to hear and what I wish I could tell you now. However, The Chuck Dog and I merrily hiked for about 450 yards up this mountain before realizing we had made a mistake.
After reaching the highest point we could climb and realizing our idiotic mistake we found a blessing in disguise; an incredible view of God’s green nature. On our long hike down I had a long time to think and I took my situation and tried to look at the big picture. I had arrived in Honduras wanting to catch a fish on a fly rod and while I wasn’t fishing do some community service on the side. As time progressed however, I learned that this trip isn’t about catching a fish or even fishing at all. It made me realize just how blessed I am to even have been given the chance to come to this unique island. Thus far I have not caught a fish or even hooked one but honestly if I did not catch one the entire trip I would be completely satisfied because its been one of the greatest and most humbling experiences of my life and I have only been here for three days. These next four days I have so much to look forward to because I have an open mind to learn and experience life instead of being set on one specific goal.
Getting lost today was one of the greatest things that could have happened to me because the lessons I took away from it all was more than any teacher or parent could have taught me. An experience that can only be had in becoming lost and finding yourself through the grace and beauty of nature put here by our omniscient Father in Heaven. As I have grown to learn over the course of time and drastically over my time here is that the real treasures on earth lie not in tangible or material objects such as catching a fish but rather in the soul fulfilling experiences that happen at moments when you least expect them. I have come to learn that people are never in the wrong place at the wrong time, in fact people are always exactly where they are supposed to be at all times. In life it will seem as if you turned the wrong way down a certain path in your life but it will not be wrong at all because the journey to and from that “wrong” path is where life lessons are learned. After you finish reading this I encourage you not to go back to your daily routine you have created for yourself but instead go out, live life and GET LOST.