First I'll start off by telling you that I like to have the basics planned out before I head out on vacation. BUT, DH and I 'roll with the punches' once there. So, before we left for Aruba I planned 3 activities....snorkeling with aruba bob, private island tour with Cerry, and a deep sea fishing trip with Melina.
Before I chose Melina, I read the reviews, researched the different charters, etc. It was a toss up between Melina and Caroline of fishingaruba.com. The reason I didn't choose Caroline was because they were not prompt on answering my emails (I'm talking up to a week to get a response, even when they told me it would be 2 days before I got a confirmation). I was worried that if they couldn't respond to my emails in a timely manner, they wouldn't be very professional in other aspects. Just my opinion.
Anyway, we arranged everything with Captain Peter of Melina, the day before our scheduled trip I called him to confirm our 'date'. He told me that his boat was broke down, but he had arranged for a friend of his to take us out on his boat. We agreed to that. Captain Peter picked us up at the hotel at the agreed upon time of 5:50 am for a 6 hour trip. He took us down to the dock, which is right on Palm Beach past the mall, introduced us to our crew Randy and I can't remember the other guys name and then left (I really thought he would be going with us, but no big deal) I think the name of the boat we went on was something like 'go get them'.
We step on the boat, and the guy tells us "one of you can sit in the chair (which was a plastic patio type chair) and one of you can sit on this cooler". Like I said, we tend to roll with the punches. I told DH to take the chair since he has a bad back and is much heavier than I am and I took the cooler. The guy, Randy was driving the boat, set up the fishing poles and the hand line. Both guys were very nice although they did not talk much, it was very difficult to make small talk with them. So, we went to the rough end of the island first, which was rough but luckily we are both very comfortable with rough seas. Personally, I think they took us there first to see if we would get sick! Anyway, we went way, way out past all the freighters that are out there. It was beautiful. We caught 2 wahoo's and a small barracuda. It was very hard for me because the first fish was caught on the hand line which is a fishing line with metal weights spaced out along the line. The guy called me over to tell me there was a fish on the line, so I got in the 'fighting' chair and started to pull in the line. The guy stayed right there with me, DH was taking video's and pics, when all of the sudden the line just started to take off in my hands! and it did hurt my hands. The guy grabbed the line and basically pulled it in for me, which was a good thing! It was a BIG wahoo, it had to be at least 100 pounds! Ok, so it was really only about 25 pounds, but it felt heavier. Then DH got a turn when something bit on the rod. He caught a small wahoo which was probably 2 pounds, ok, it was really close to 10 pounds. But my fish was MUCH bigger. Anyway, we had a hit on the hand line again, it was my turn again but I told DH to take it because I didn't think I could take the pain in my hands pulling it in. So, he did and this time it was a barracuda! Didn't catch anything the rest of the trip. But, it was a beautiful but expensive, boat trip. $425 for the 6 hours, which included a soda or water. When we arrived back at the dock, we tipped the guys for getting us back safe and sound, and told them they could keep the fish.
Then we are all standing around, I asked them if Captain Peter was coming back to get us and they didn't know anything about that! They got on the phone and called someone, I assume Peter, and then after running around for a few minutes, told us 'this man' will take you back to your hotel, and he did.
I did email Peter and told him about my disappointment about having only one chair, and that I had chose Melina for the comfort of the boat (from the pictures) he apologized, he thought that there was 2 chairs on the boat and he said there was a bathroom on the boat, but we weren't told where it was (I didn't see one either). Peter said he would make it up to us the next time we are in Aruba, that he hadn't been to the docks in two weeks because he has dengue. Which I then looked up to make sure it wasn't contagious since we were in the truck with him, and found it is not.
So the overall experience was good, not great. Disappointed in the boat itself. But, any day of fishing, being in the ocean, and coming back safely is a good day.