I'd tried in the past to get my wife interested in fly fishing. It's not that I don't value my time away on my own, it's just that you want to share the things you love with the people you care about. We floated the Clark Fork around 15 years ago, before we were married. It was her first time fly fishing and, truth be told, she did a hell of a job. She landed a nice handful of trout, taking them on both dries and on nymphs, with the nicest being a fat 17" rainbow. As the sun started towards the horizon that day, I found myself thinking that she'd surely such a good first day would awaken her inner angler, and she'd walk away from that day an fishermen.
But, before we took out, she tossed an errant backcast that hooked the soft flesh of my temple on the way forward. Sure, she missed my eye by fractions of an inch, but the hook was barbless and after a bit of shouting to put a stop to her casting, it pulled right out. Plus, I should have known better than to have my glasses off while sitting in the back of a drift boat with anyone casting off the bow -- let alone a first time angler. It was essentially a non-event. At least to me. She found the episode to be a mortifying tragedy, and swore never to fish again.
Since that day, fly fishing has been what it was before it: my thing. And that's been fine. The time it affords us away from each other is good for both of us, and bushwacking through the Pennsylvania woods in the heat and humidity of Summer isn't a draw for everyone anyway. As I've gotten older, however, fly fishing travel has become more and more a part of my life and I find myself spending big chunks of our limited travel budget heading off on my lonesome. This has often seemed, for lack of a better term, unfair.
I'd toyed with the idea of dragging her along on one of my trips, but never found a way to justify doing so. Yes, fly fishing takes you to beautiful places, but -- whether at an Alaskan fishing camp or a modest lodge on a sleepy tropical island -- there's really nothing to do but fish or sit around with booze-soaked anglers talking about fish. Despite being beautiful, most often such destinations are either unattractive or impractical for non-anglers.
When plans started coming together for a mid-winter trip to Belize's Turneffe Atoll, however, a spark lit. The Turneffe Atoll is a veritable paradise. Its premier destination, Turneffe Flats, is primarily known as a fishing lodge but also has a world-renowned scuba diving program, an eco-adventure program and is a full service resort -- beaches, infinity pool, sun deck, full service dining, the whole nine yards -- all while remaining casual and still feeling like a fishing lodge. We looked over the brochures together, browsed the web site, read reviews. A few days later, she was signed up for a week on the Turneffe Flats rest and relaxation program: late mornings, reading books by the pool, laying on the beach, a day or two of snorkeling and maybe -- just maybe -- she'd tag along on the boat one day to see what all the fuss was about.