The Old Man and the Sea (or veterinary adventures part III)

Ernest Hemingway was sitting on the terrace of the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club enjoying his Martini and he was looking over the endless Pacific Ocean in front of him.

It had been a good day – a rare occasion for an author who was struggling to constantly having to prove himself against an army of literature critics and fellow authors, who envid his success and probably even more so his colourful life …..

It had not only been a good, it had in fact been an excellent day…Cabo Blanco and the Peruvian coast had finally lived up to their reputation :

Following an early start from the fishing pier just down the road, when the water was still very calm and when there was hardly any wind, the skipper had found the right spot above an underwater canyon called the “Marlin Boulevard” and Hemingway had managed to hook a black marlin, that once landed weight in at 910 lbs (>400 kg) . Just short of a “grander” (a marlin >1000 lbs). It was probably smaller than the one he had caught a few years earlier, but that had been half eaten by sharks before the big fish could be hauled in. This was not an unusual occurence and he had tried everything including machine gunning the sharks, but with much more blood in the water that had made matters just worse and on one occasion he had even shot himself into the leg while trying to land a catch.

This one however was in one piece and unbeknown to him at the time, it would be the largest fish he ever caught…..

Yet it was still a far cry from the 1560 lbs monster that was hanging just behind Hemingway on the wall in the club house. A world record for a fish caught just with a line and a rod that remains unbroken.

It not only made it this rocky outcrop to a world famous location for sport fishers with deep pockets, it – for a couple of decades – became also an exclusive meeting place for Hollywood A-listers like John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart.

Hemingway had travelled here not only to pursue his passion for deep sea fishing, but also to observe some of the film work for the Hollywood adaption of “The Old Man and the Sea”, the novella that had finally earned him the Nobel Price for Literature and that had made him not only rich, but also somewhat immortal.

If it was good enough for Hemingway, than it will be good enough for me I thought and following a 36 hour journey with having to change planes three times, my feet were finally touching the warm waters of the Pacific ocean in Northern Peru.

The place I had chosen was a small sleepy seaside village not far from the border to Equador and the simple cabin I was staying at was build on the slope of a hill, allowing me a perfect view over the deserted beach and the ocean infront of me.

The land behind me was as desolate as it could get, featuring only rocks and sand where a few shrubbs were eking out a meager existance. The lack of rain was making any form of farming a hopeless undertaking and the very common sight of water trucks on the road was an indication how precious this commodity was in this part of the world.

All life, all activities here came from the Sea. During the day I could see pelicans flying in formation,caressing the crest of the waves, vultures and frigatebirds circling in the sky, cormoranes drying their feathers while sitting on the rocks and further out at sea the occasional humpback whale was passing by on its journey to Antarctica as it was the end of the breeding season.

There was the continuous sound of the breaking of the waves and at night there was the occasional roaring of a sea lion.

Not the worst place I would say to start another veterinary adventure ?!…..

Published by The Blue Vet

I am a veterinary surgeon with a German and Norwegian educational background. I have been the founder and for over 20 years I have been the senior veterinarian at the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, England. When starting this blog I was also the President of FECAVA, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. In the summer of 2019 I left my clinic to work as an international locum and clinical advisor. I am interested in all aspects of clinical companion animal medicine, in endurance sports and in traveling and meeting people with and without their pets and especially in sharing my knowledge with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the World.

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