By Angel Nuñez
My next guest is a man who challenged the sea for as long as he lived and truly left a mark in the annals of San Pedro. He was born and raised near the sea and by choice he made the sea his living. As a young man, Alan Forman was a fisherman like most of the young men in San Pedro. Alan learned the art of hand line fishing, trolling, and casting the nets and even the seine. Being a neighbor to my dad, Alan was an avid companion on our short trips outside the reef to do sport fishing. This was particularly so during the month of May and June during the summer vacations. It was on these trips that I learned to bait a hook and troll for barracuda.
Alan Forman, Rafael Nuñez, John Phillips and little Angel Nuñez
There are two ways to catch a loggerhead turtle or green turtle and even the hawksbill turtle. The first way is to strike it with a harpoon as I saw Alan do many times. The next and more thrilling was is to dive for it. Alan waited on the bow of our boat as my dad followed the turtle. He waited for the turtle to surface for air and as it was going down, he dove head on and captured it and maneuvered it to the surface. Once close to the boat my father fastened a rope to the front fin and then tied the second one. Both men then pulled the turtle inside the boat.
This was only a small part of what a skillful fisherman and diver could do. Alan was skillful in catching tarpon, sailfish and marlin and could dive very deep and remained underwater for what seemed an eternity. He would often be trolling very late outside the reef so that the sun would set. If you wonder how he found the channel on the reef to get back home, don’t worry; he did so at night very easily.
One day Alan went trolling alone in his sailing boat. Fortunately for him, he hooked a large fish, supposedly a sailfish. Unfortunately however, the fishing line became entangled with another one with a large hook which became embedded into his left hand. Alan fought with the large fish for some time until he had to dive into the sea and be dragged out and about. The boat floated about aimlessly while Alan fought heroically for his life swimming with his right hand to avoid being dragged down. It was not until about half an hour later that other fishermen noticed his predicament and went to his rescue. Once on land a local guy cut the hook and pulled it off his hand. He was safe, but not with a lot of physical and emotional torment.
Alan Forman (Fourth on top row) along with Sanpedrano fishermen and members of the San Pedro Co-operative
In the early part of the 1960’s, Alan and some Islanders founded the Caribeña Fishing Cooperative. This Association was the backbone of San Pedro for some twenty five years. Later on Allan formed another association with seven other partners- The Coral Beach line of hotels. In this venture Alan continued to enjoy the challenges of the sea and managed one of the first dive shop operations in San Pedro with dive tours and scuba diving activities. He also operated his own boat as well as his hotel, restaurant, gift shop and bar over the sea, The Tackle box. In his spare time, Alan spearheaded the construction of the new San Pedro High School Building along with other Sanpedranos and devoted much time to the BTIA and Hotel Association as well as The Belize Tourism Board. Alan Forman was also very instrumental in Lions Club, as an emcee and Village Council affairs. Talk about spending one’s life well occupied and productively, that’s Alan Forman! However, his footprints remain engraved in the history of San Pedro as one kind man and a Fearless Man of the Sea. This is a story of fearless men of the sea, of God fearing men and sea fearing men.
Coral Beach Hotel
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today -Jose Luis Zapata Photography –Richie’s Stationery -Lala’s Store -Pampered Paws -San Pedro BTB Office -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush
Contact the Author at: [email protected]