Fishing in the Dominican Republic

I recently got the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic. There’s no way I would pass up fishing on the west end near the Haitian Border.

Two fishing boats, with a ballyhoo on hook, La Isabella, Dominican Republic.

Fishing boats at rest in La Isabella, Dominican Republic


Leaving the chaotic city of Santiago, heading for Luperon, it was obvious the area was not visited by the average tourist. The only traffic jams we encountered there were caused by a herd of cattle being driven down the road. It waslike stepping back in time, with donkeys being used to carry water as well as anything else the Dominicans could lash to their backs.
Artist Mike Williams with two mahi

Dinner


Some of the wealthier families had tin roofs, but the vast majority of the homes were thatched. We flew in right after 12 straight days of rain, so the water clarity was somewhat affected. The fishing and diving were not picture-perfect, but awesome nonetheless. We still had plenty of Mahi and Wahoo to eat every night. We went to one restaurant, and had a great chicken meal. You know the meat is fresh when you see chicken feet and feathers in the trash.
This restaurant serves chicken

Fresh chicken served here


The many people we met could not have been nicer or more welcoming. One thing stood out to me, it was obvious they had next to nothing, yet everyone was smiling, and more than happy to invite us in for a meal, asking for nothing in return.

I left this trip hoping for an off the beaten path experience, I’m happy to say I think I found it.

10th Annual Islamorada Holiday Festival

Illustrated Christmas Ornament by Mike Williams

Illustrated Christmas Ornament by Mike Williams

Usually, the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce features only artists from the Florida Keys in their annual Holiday Festival charity auction. That’s why I was honored when they asked me to create a Christmas ornament for the 10th annual Holiday Festival on Dec 5, 2014, knowing that the only other outside artists last year were Guy Harvey and Wyland. It was going for a good cause, hopefully it raised a lot of money for my friends in the Keys.

How Oscar’s surf shack ended up in the Mike Williams Collection

It was just starting to pour down rain as we were running down a dirt street in Dominical, Costa Rica. I stopped in front of a shack hidden in a forest of palms and banana trees. This would make the perfect piece for a future drawing I told myself. I had to get a photo of it. The next morning as my wife was horseback riding in the mountains, I drove back to get some photos.

Oscar's surf shack in real life

Oscar’s surf shack in real life

As I was taking shots a tico popped his head out, telling me to come in and take some photos of his collection of boards he lined up inside.

He was proud to tell me he built the structure himself, using reclaimed wood and anything else he could find to nail together. I told him I was an artist from Florida, and would be creating a drawing of his surf shack.

Rent a surfboard and hit the waves in Dominical, Costa Rica.

We exchanged emails, then he posed for a quick pic, and was off to catch a good break with his friend, Kevin. I thought it would only be fitting for the title to be Oscar’s Surf Shack.

If you go looking to rent a surfboard in Playa Dominical…

Jamaica Getaway

After a busy season it was nice to have a break from the road in May. Just a few weeks off and I was ready to travel somewhere, not quite sure where. I asked my wife Teresa would you like to spend a week in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Of course she said yes. If you have never been to Jamaica and would like to go the all inclusive resorts makes it an easy way to travel. Even so, most visitors at the resorts never leave the poolside; you have to getaway and see the real Jamaica. I have found the best way is to hire a good guide that you feel safe with. I hired Alrick Allen with “Your Jamaica Tour Guide”; he was well worth the money. He was very informative about his native island and never made us feel rushed, which was important since I was taking a lot of pictures for ideas. Read more

Coastal Cruise

When my good friend Oscar Rivero (Riverojewlery.com) asked to accompany him along with another friend of ours Dave, for a sail around Florida, I could not pass it up. He had purchased a home in Port St. Lucie, and had to sail his 26′ Catamaran from the Gulfport Marina to Hutchinson Island where it would be docked. The plan was to sail from Gulfport to Key West, follow the Gulfstream fishing for Sailfish and Mahi Mahi on the way. We set sail from Gulfport 10:30 p.m. only to make it to Edgmont Key by 12:30, and throw anchor for the night. We were off to a bad start; we had an East wind with 4 to 5 feet waves. Read more