Author’s Guide to Dorado Duet: Big Boats, Big Gators and the Dorado in Duet
I made a sea change in this installment of the Will Service series — or should I say an ocean change. Writing in first person allowed me to get into Will’s head. He is a different kind of guy and the switch to the book narrated through his eyes, I hope, gives a better portrayal of him. The setting also makes a major move from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean.
I draw from my personal experience for most of my books and several trips came together giving me the idea for Dorado Duet and Will was the guy to make it happen.
The Baja Ha Ha is a rally that takes cruisers from San Diego to Cabo. It’s an easy run and a party of sorts. The return trip, the Baja Bash, is quite the opposite. In fact, many sailors abandoned their dreams in the southern latitudes rather than fight the winds for the return trip. Those boats with loans are often abandoned, those owned outright are sold for pennies on the dollar. Will is good with both his hands and boats. He’s the perfect guy for long haul boat repos.
Two trips gave me the background and premise for the book. One was a five-day kayak excursion in Desolation Sound in British Columbia. Jamie, our guide, led kayak trips during the summer. In the off-season, he would take his savings, fly to south, and buy one of these abandoned boats. He would then sail it back to the States and sell it. This was the perfect job for Will, though lacking resources, he was forced to work as a repo man before he could afford to buy a boat.
The other trip was a self-guided road trip to the western coast of Mexico. We followed the coast from a small town north of Puerto Vallarta called Lo De Marcos to our southern stop in La Manzanilla. Many of the locations from the book come from this trip. We camped less than a mile from the Crocodile Lagoon featured toward the end of the book.
Several Scenes from the book feature launching small boats from the beach. This is how it’s done:
The title, Dorado Duet, is in line with, Bonefish Blues and Tuna Tango. The dolphin fish has several names, depending on geographic area: dolphin in Florida, mahi mahi in Hawaii, and dorado in Mexico. I’ve caught my share over the years, mostly in the Keys, but my most memorable was hooked from a kayak. On a weeklong excursion around the Loreto area, on the Baja Peninsula, I trolled a lure most of the way. One day, separated from the others in my group and hooked what I would guess was a fifteen-pound Dorado. The fight lasted considerably longer than from a power boat and I remember being towed for a ways before bringing the fish to the boat. Unfortunately, I was alone and unprepared. Dolphin are infamous for fighting as hard once they are boarded as they do in the water. Before I could even figure a way to bring the fish aboard without being torn to shreds, it bumped the leader and was off the hook.