There’s a new nautical tourism attraction on St. Thomas. It’s the perfect place to have your picture taken, especially if you’re an avid angler.
In August, a replica of the 1073lb blue marlin caught by Annette ‘Maudi’ Dallimore on July 6 1982 was mounted on a specially-built frame at the head of ‘A’ dock at the American Yacht Harbor Marina (AYH) in Red Hook.
“It took two weeks to design and build the frame,” says marina manager, Joseph Walling, “and eight guys to stand the marlin up on top.”
The project started when Florida-based photographer, Richard Gibson, who has traveled to the territory for over two decades to shoot the fantastic blue marlin bite, had the idea to commemorate this still-standing Women’s IGFA ‘All-tackle’ world-record blue marlin catch.
“Richard told us the story about Maudi and asked if we would build her fish,” says Bill Dobbelaer, general manager of Gray Taxidermy in Pompano Beach, Florida. “We gladly accepted the challenge. We spent four months building the fish using top quality materials like Imron paint to give it an ‘alive’ look, as well as longevity, in the St. Thomas sun.”
Dallimore flew from Australia for the ‘fish raising’ as did her former husband, Joe Lopez, who jetted down from Florida. Lopez was at the helm of the 43ft Merritt Prowess when Dallimore caught her magnificent marlin.
“It’s just incredible to be here,” said Dallimore, as she stood with friends for a Kodak moment under the mounted marlin on the eve of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament.
The best fish story of the evening was about how Dallimore refused to have her massive marlin weighed until she could get back to the dock after a trip to the St. Thomas Hospital. It seems somewhere between the North Drop and the dock a 12/0 hook got imbedded in her foot.
Â “I still have the scar on my heel to remember the day!” Dallimore says.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.