by Chelsea Buranich
This past July, I tagged along on my boyfriends’ family vacation to Clearwater Beach, Florida. My own family does not go on vacation often — the last time I remember us packing up our beach towels had to be 5 or more years ago, so when the opportunity arose, I couldn’t pass it down. We spent our days wading in the crystal clear gulf, exploring nearby towns, and relaxing poolside. However, my favorite part of the vacation was the last day. The family and I woke up at 6 AM, threw on our baseball caps, and boarded “100 Proof” — a fishing charter boat. We were going deep sea fishing.
Growing up on a farm with 2 brothers left me no stranger to fishing poles and baiting hooks, but never on the ocean. About 10 miles out, we started throwing out our lines. When it was my turn to go, I sat down in the chair, firmly grabbed the pole, and within seconds I felt a strong tug on the other end. I caught my first sea dwelling creature — a slick mackerel.
After an exhilarating 4 hours at sea, we headed back to shore. We all grabbed a seat in the sun, the older family members popped the tops off of cold beer, and the sound of hungry birds followed us back to the dock. When we approached the dock, the captain unloaded all of our fish to count. Collectively, the 6 of us caught more than 50 fish. The majority was mackerel, but my boyfriend’s sister caught a massive barracuda; my boyfriend and I each caught a bonito fish.
The picture below shows all of us with our catch. You can spot me easily, the height difference is clear, but the smile on my face expresses how truly happy I was that day. The sun was warm and the air was salty. I felt nothing but pure joy, and I will always remember that feeling when I reminisce.