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Mikkelsen/Excel 17 day report... Sort of

G'day all,

We returned May 4th after 17 days with Ralph and his gang of wonderful fishermen, fisherwomen and general group of fun loving crazies some of whom have been long ranging longer than most on these boards have been alive.

I am not really going to write much about the fishing as the story can be found on the Excel web site under reports but I will fill in the things that struck me the most about this amazing charter.

During the loading process I knew I was going to love this group as right off the bat everyone was introducing themselves to those they did not know. The laughing began almost immediately and did not stop until we got off the boat at the end of the trip. For those of you who have never had the pleasure to experience one of the longest running charters still operating the extent of work performed by Ralph, Mark and others is astounding. Mark has to put in hundreds of hours just preparing for give aways such as framed, 8 X 10 photos, for all of the previous years passengers. Mark shoots at least 3000 to 4000 pictures during the trip still using film.... Now that is dedication. He also has CD's of the previous years trip for all who return and most everyone returns unless there is an illness or engagement that cannot be missed. EVERYONE loves this charter. The crew especially are included in all of the events where prizes exceed all other giveaways I have ever seen or heard of on any charter.

If ever there was a charter group all others should aspire to this would be the one. NO CLIQUES nor even a hint of one. Everyone is welcome at any table during meals or breaks. Everyone is part of each activity and none are shown favoritism during these events. Everyone is abused equally (More on that in the Bingo portion of the report)

The first of many giveaway portions of the trip began on the first or second day and probably took about 2 or 3 hours. The quality of Mark's photos could be compared to any professional photographer.

During the 4 day ride to the Hurricane we had our first of two NFL style Bingo games. Penalties are awarded for everything from illegal use of hands (Unseemly hand gestures to individuals especially to officials), off sides (to close to the refs), Holding (Your money too tightly), Intentional grounding (calling out BINGO when you dont have it) and goes into things such as just nodding your head in the wrong manner or for not realizing 2 + 2 equal 9 (You have to experience it to understand). This is a Bingo game not for the feint of heart and is once again lead by the energy master Mark, Ralph, George and Deloris. Drinking, although not perhaps encouraged is certainly not discourage and to say we had a rousing game would be an understatement.

At some point on the ride down we all participated in a wedding. Yes really. Well sort of because Curt (World record Yellowfin tuna holder) and his beautiful bride of well over 20 years, Doloris, were celebrating their anniversary by renewing their vows. This brings up the issue of how do you know your a *******?? Possibly when the bride and groom are wearing fishing boots, the guests are wearing sandals, shorts, fake tuxedos made from paper and drinking before and during the ceremony. The priest is wearing a fake neck piece has just been using the CB (Think Lumpy)and the smell of Diesel is in the air just to enhance the ambiance. Oh yeah, the bride and groom exit the ceremony under an overhang of 20 fishermen holding Super Seeker's, Cal Star's and other Rods over the heads of the joyous wedding couple and their wedding contingency. I will say Curt was wearing a real tuxedo with his fishing boots. Red Neck may not be a strong enough term but we all were part of the wedding ceremony. Of course cake, champagne and other items were enjoyed immediately following. It was impossible not to enjoy the festivities.

To be continued:

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