I was born in Columbia, South Carolina as my father was building a telephone building there. We moved back to Pensacola, Florida when the project was completed. We lived in Pensacola until I was 5 and then we moved back to Memphis, Tennessee where my parents were originally from. I lived in Memphis until June 1971. Then we moved to Destin, Florida. Now Destin was an unincorporated fishing village at that time with about 800 inhabitants and the largest charter boat fleet on the Gulf of Mexico of about 50 vessels. I was down there every morning looking for work as deckhand until I got my first trip.
I fished as deckhand 3 seasons 1971, 1972 & 1973. In 1973, we caught 1 sailfish, 17 white marlin and a 345 pound blue marlin. In 1974, I started decking on crew boats in Louisiana & Texas. In June 1974, I got my first captain’s license. That was 45 years ago. I have always kept my captain’s license and I have improved it over the years.
I left Tidewater Marine in April 1975 to be an air traffic control specialist at Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center and later transferred to Memphis Center. I was fired in the PATCO strike by an executive order by President Reagan in August 1981. I went back to the crew boats as captain and I worked in Mexico from August 1982 until December 1985. Then I studied celestial navigation and I upgraded my captain’s license to 500 tons all oceans. Then I worked 4 years on large tugboats for Moran Towing based in New York City from Miami to Massachusetts. I fished the Bering Sea twice, once for snow crabs and once longlining cod.
I ran a 155 foot research vessel equipped with 2 ROV’s and a dynamic positioning system, DP1 from Congo to South Africa 156 days straight. I raised my license to 1600 ton during my time with Moran. I left Africa and Memphis and moved to Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico in July, 1993 to be captain of the Sea Queen, a 1981 60 foot private sport fisherman for Don Trino Molina.
We fished Cozumel & Cancun for 2 or 3 months every year for many years. We caught 30 to 50 sailfish and marlin every season. We also fished more than 150 trips to Alacranes National Park north of Progreso of 3 to 5 days each. Alacranes is located 66 to 78 miles north of Progreso. We have fought and lost at least 6 blue marlin offshore of Alacranes and caught several sailfish there.
Most of our focus was on bottom fishing for yellowtail snappers and catching large black groupers. I have many spots to fish out there. I also know where to troll for tuna and wahoos. Many times the same places are good for tuna and big black groupers with live bait on the bottom. I worked for Don Trino until he passed away at the age of 85 in May 2013. I continued with the family until April 2014. I still live in Progreso and I plan to retire here. I was captain and engineer for Mario Cervera on his new $10,000,000 dollar 100 foot RP Hatteras from June 2015 until February 2017. I have been running tugboats based in Louisiana since November 2017. So I am back and forth between Progreso and Louisiana.
My current captain’s license or MMC reads like this: Master not valid on vessels of 3000 gross tons (GT) or more. Officer in charge of navigational watch (OICNW), Able Seafarer – Deck, Rating forming part of a navigational watch (RFPNW), Proficiency in survival craft (PSC), Advanced Firefighting, Basic Training, Vessel Security Officer.
Master of Self-Propelled Vessels of less than 1,600 Gross Register Tons Upon Oceans, Master of Towing Vessels Upon Oceans and Western Rivers, Mate (OSV) of Self-Propelled Vessels of Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans, Radar Observer (Unlimited), Able Seaman-Unlimited, Lifeboatman, Wiper, Steward’s Department (FH) My MMC or captain’s license expires on September 6, 2024.
I am available for hire while here in Progreso for deliveries or as a technical expert in fishing Alacranes or off of Cancun or Cozumel.