It’s that time of year again where the festivities have happened, we’ve all spent (too much?) time with friends and family and we begin to reflect on the past 12 months, whilst simultaneously looking forward to the coming 12.
One thing we’re looking to do at Predatar - particularly here on the blog - is provide more of an insight into the lives of the people who work here, and who we work with. Data storage and protection is what our lives revolve around, but there’s so much else going on that we want to share it!
And with that said, we want to introduce you to Dave White, who has a particularly interesting past time…A Big Fish Adventure
As an engineer and consultant with Predatar reseller Silverstring, I spend all my working time concerned with the protection of customer data and avoiding risk. It’s a hugely varied role and one I’m delighted to be involved in.
Working inside with technology for 40+ hours per week, however, I like to enjoy the great outdoors in my spare time - and over the years, I’ve become quite a competent international extreme angler and tropical disease vector, endangering my own life (honest!) in search of adventure and big fish.
Last November, I spent nine days deep in the Amazon jungle on my second trip fishing the upper Essequibo River in Guyana. Guyana, a country with an area a little smaller than the UK, but with a population of less than 800,000, it is predominantly thick jungle with some of the greatest biodiversity on earth, giving way to savannah in the interior toward the Brazil border.
Our first fishing camp was just below King William falls, the highest navigable point on the mighty Essequibo River. And just getting there was an adventure in itself.
We had a day assigned to make the 130 mile river journey from Kurupukari village (where our Macushi Indian guides came from) to the camp, but the boat I was in was heavily laden and the water was very low, so captain Mark, guest Andrei and myself made slow progress.
As night fell over the dangerous rock-strewn river, we were still three sets of waterfalls and three hours short of the camp, and soaking wet from a biblical tropical rainstorm. Without camping equipment or proper food, we faced a frightening night on a small beach with caimans (local alligators) lurking around and various sets of eyes reflecting the torch light back from the jungle behind.
We made the best of it and got some damp sticks going into a campfire on which we roasted a small peacock bass for dinner with a packet of strange biscuits.
In the boat we had several crates of warm Coca-Cola and six litres of lovely Demerara rum, all of which helped to fend off the night terrors!
After a 5am start with the rising sun, Andrei and I were rescued by guide Raymond in a fast, empty boat coming down from camp and whisked up to safety while Mark plodded on alone. The adventure was not finished yet, however, as we had three waterfalls to negotiate upstream to camp, all of which were tackled by blasting the boat flat-out into the centre and jumping up, landing with a massive crash the other side.
As we launched up the second water, we crashed down into a scene of utter devastation. There were suitcases, cool boxes and pop bottles floating everywhere, and the prow of a boat could be seen protruding from the water, while sodden passengers and crew perched on rocks. Captain Elvis in the supply boat had had an accident on the third fall and the supply boat with beer, potatoes, tools and other equipment had overturned and sunk.
We lost several crates of beer and towels, bedsheets, and cooking pots, but the staff were miraculously able to raise the boat and dry out the engine by the afternoon using only a screwdriver and a file. Poor Elvis then had to go on a three day odyssey down to Kurupukari to get replacement supplies.
Not everybody is as interested in angling as I am, so I’ll not go into too much detail on the fishing over the next eight days, but suffice to say it was fantastic. The highlight for me was the capture of this enormous jau (zungaro zungaro) catfish estimated at between 115 and 120lbs (the IGFA all tackle world record for jau is 109lb).
The upper Essequibo offers all of your favourite Amazon species to fish for and Andrei from Belarus was top rod with 16 different species caught – as well as a turtle and small caiman.
Our guides were superb boat captains, driving the aluminium boats with 30-40HP outboards at breakneck speed through extremely dangerous rocks, rapids and waterfalls.
I asked my man Steven how they do this and they have basically memorised the whole river like a London cab driver doing ‘The Knowledge’. Driving boats like this requires intense concentration and nerves of steel and Steven said he often has a splitting headache at the end of a day’s boating and wakes up in the night thinking about it, too.
Unsurprisingly, a boat captain is quite a well-paid job and my $140 tip for Steven at the end of the week seemed pretty cheap considering my life was in his hands and he only hit one object hard (we thought he’d broken his leg), which was a submerged floating log that he couldn’t have known about.
Although the upper Essequibo can be a frightening place, it is also an unspoilt earthly paradise with incredible wildlife, landscapes and some of the best sport fishing on planet earth. I count myself extremely fortunate to have spent time there in the company of the lovely local Macushi people and would recommend Guyana to anyone who loves nature and adventure (and doesn’t mind scary insects, crocodiles, jaguars and the like).
Of course, as with any break, it was great to come back to normality, and upon reflection, I was surprised at how many similarities there were between my career and past time. Always thinking of them as being completely separate, the basic principles are there - our boat captain, for example, delivered an unbeatable service that truly satisfied, reduced stress levels and made things considerably more enjoyable than they would have been without them.
Now if I could just access the fish as quickly as customers can their Cloud-stored data, it would be an unbeatable experience!