Ray's Fish Tale

At Marina Mazatlan everyone knows Ray. Anyone that has been around awhile has heard something about the "Fish Story". Here is where you will find the truth. I became entangled in this drama when I was asked, by Mike on Abraxas, to produce a picture of Ray holding a fish. I complied and after it was presented to Ray I learned the whole ugly truth about Ray and his fish.

The story follows but first the picture that was used to continue to taunt poor Ray. The picture was created from a series of pictures taken when Poncho, a local gringo that has lived in Mazatlan for 21 years, had a record catch. The following 3 photos were combined to create the fish picture.

The picture is presented magazine format with references to the story and a shot at Ray's Canadian citizenship thrown in by me for good measure.

It should be pointed out that Ray looks to be in a bad mood because he had just had the week from hell culminating in the theft of his truck with a great deal of valuables in the back. It is always best to kick someone when they are down.

Back to the fish story. In the spring of 1997 Ray was recovering from neck surgery so he was unable to sail his boat. He was wearing a neck brace. He and his wife Jeanette had planned to meet friends in La Paz so a couple of their friends volunteered to sail with Jeanette across the Sea and meet Ray who would fly. Ray insisted that Jeanette not fly the spinnaker. Well, insisting that your wife not do something is really saying I dare and challenge you to do it. The problem was that they had no wind for the whole crossing and powered the entire trip.

As they entered the La Paz channel the wind finally began to blow so they popped the chute (put up the spinnaker). Ray, in the mean time, was anxiously awaiting their arrival and he was frequently calling on his handheld radio for his boat, Soul Coaxing. With the chute up, they wanted Ray to see them so the responded and told him that he had to come and look. He was not in a position to look up the channel so he asked what was up. The story diverges at this point. On land it goes that the Soul Coaxing announced that they had caught a fish. On the boat they believe that Ray asked if they had a fish. Either way, what followed has become cruising legend.

Ray became very upset to learn that they had a fish on Soul Coaxing. In Mexico you must have a fishing license for every passenger and for the boat that is engaged in fishing. They are expensive. Ray did not have Soul Coaxing or Jeanette licensed. He asked what the fish was. On Soul Coaxing they thought Ray was the fish and he was going to be flopping on the hook when he saw the spinnaker flying. They responded that it was about 5'8" long and 140 lbs. Ray asked what it looked like. They responded that it was ugly, sort of prehistoric. By now Ray is ranting a raving about the fish and how he is going to get rid of it. He is especially concerned that it was announced on the radio. Soul Coaxing has to take down the spinnaker without Ray getting a good look but that is not important now.

As the boat comes to the dock a small crowd appeared to see the fish. They have heard the exchange on the radio and they want a look. Soon the La Paz cruisers are all talking about the strange fish. Everywhere Ray goes for the next week people are asking him about the fish. The mythical fish is haunting Ray everywhere he goes. By the time everyone realizes that it was a hoax they have taken to asking him about the fish just to bug him.

When you meet Ray as you pass through Marina Mazatlan don't forget to ask him about the fish.