First and foremost the trip in itself was an experience of a lifetime!! My wife Leyna and I have both grown up around the water in South Florida and why not take our honeymoon trip to an island that is surrounded by it. After much planning and research I found the Galeodan crew of Sean and Maria Elena. Not sure of what to expect upon our arrival we were greeted by two of the nicest people we have ever met.
The trip started out as planned and the tours and the fishing were top notch. Me being a professional boat captain and commercial fisherman part-time my standards are high to say the least. Having Edwin as a captain was great, they were not scared to run long distances and tried anything to catch fish. After countless TUNA, WAHOO, PARGO, GROUPER, and MARLIN we were pleased.
The land tours were great and a good way to relax and take it easy from the ocean. All of our guides were friendly and very informative.
Being a firefighter/ paramedic in Florida I am always interested in seeing fire departments from around the world and other areas. So I asked Maria Elena about the fire dept and where it was.
Well the trip went on and we stayed busy with all of the activities and one afternoon after fishing we get a knock on our door at the Casa Iguana, which by the way was awesome. Well this knock was Maria Elena and she says I have someone here that wants to meet you. Wondering who wants to meet me I was puzzled, as I walked down the beautiful spiral stair case at the Casa Iguana I looked over and see a fire engine parked out front with the crew waiting.
I was in shock that Maria Elena arranged this meeting and that the firefighters actually took time out of their day to come show me their equipment. After meeting the Chief and a firefighter I looked at their truck and they asked if wanted to go see their station and I could not say yes fast enough. So expecting to take a taxi or car, they said jump in and we will take you. So my wife, Maria Elena, and I jump in the fire engine and we get transported over to the station. At the station we met several volunteer firemen who were very nice and extremely proud of there station. The station was extremely nice and cozy with multiple bunks.
After seeing their gear, which was worn and weathered to say the least, I started to talk to them and after a little translating we came to the conclusion that these firefighters were in desperate need of new gear and equipment. After talking and shaking hands I gave them a shirt from my department and they gave me patches and shirts from theirs. This exchange is done all around the world between firefighters and it’s a pretty cool tradition.
So we all load up into the truck and are escorted back to our hotel room and in awe that someone would go above and beyond to do this for us.
As the trip went on the experience just got better and better. One afternoon, while walking around the docks, I see Sean working on his boat. I get a phone call on the cell phone that they provided and Sean says would you be interested in seeing a local commercial fishing boat and me being a commercial fisherman back home, I said absolutely!!!
After about five minutes we were picked up by Maria Elena’s brother-in-law in his Panga. We start talking about fishing and we go out to his vessel which is rough around the edges but it was a work boat and did its job well. As we went around and looked at his techniques and compared differences in how we do it, we had a blast. You can tell he had a lot of pride showing me his vessel and I was excited to see it.
The trip came to an end and we packed our things to head home. We were looking back on our trip now at home and back to reality and realizing how the little things on the trip made a difference. Yes, we saw the Boobies, Sea Lions, Frigates, Iguanas, Tortoises, scenery, and caught a lot of fish. But what made the trip were the little things that Sean and Maria Elena did to make it extra special.
Now at home, I am looking for gear and equipment for the fire fighters of San Cristobal I am happy to say that I am planning a trip back to the island with a fellow firefighter, to go train the men and woman of the San Cristobal Fire Department, so that they can be safe and have some good training to keep the island of San Cristobal safe and happy.
Sincerely, Chris Lemieux
This adventure has just begun...
At Galeodan, we will be doing whatever we can to support Chris’ endeavours to help the Bomberos of San Cristobal.
And we’ll be keeping you all posted on progress...