Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We were snug and sound at our anchorage in Alicetown in the Biminis.  The hiccup in the Trade winds that had allowed us to cross the Gulf stream was predicted to last for another day and a half.  This was not quite enough time to make the passage across the Grand Bahama Bank to New Providence Island and the port at Nassau.  After our thrashing the previous night, no one felt like chancing it.  We settled in for a week long wait until the weather would shift in our favor again.  

Days were filled with the slow tread of island life.  We slept in, explored the area, snorkeled, made our first exploratory forays into spear fishing, slept some more.  Life was good.  Still fully stocked with provisions from Florida, we ate well.  It was a fat time, an idle existence.  It didn't take long before we were bored numb and stir crazy.  

Nate provided most of the excitement during this time.  A much more enthusiastic spear fisher than the rest of us, he claims the first kill of the trip, a five inch fish that Becca named "Patrick".  After an inexpert filleting, there wasn't enough left to be worth the effort of eating.  So, Patrick's remains went into a plastic bag in the cockpit for use as bait and there they sat, all day, every day, under the baking tropical sun, until the whole boat smelled like death.  Nate stubbornly refused to throw out the bag, so the rest of us began spending our days onshore, avoiding the boat as much as possible.

This was only the latest in an already impressive list of fishing misadventures that began when we rigged up a trolling line for the final few miles of our crossing to the Biminis.  The line promptly got caught in the whirling fan blades of our wind generator.  This in turn pulled the fishing pole into the fan.  The sound was quite impressive and brought everyone immediately on deck.  Amazingly, the pole survived with only a cracked eyelet.  The line broke but was so tangled in the generator we were even able to recover the fishing lure.  

Our anchorage in the Biminis had a strong tidal current tearing through.  Good fishing.  The lure we'd saved was promptly lost fishing from our anchorage when Nate snagged in on the bottom our first evening there.  Unable to reel it in, we cut the line, tied a buoy to it and let it go, figuring if it was still there in the morning we could dive down and free it.  No one felt much like diving down in the dark, even if they could follow the line.  We'd been warned by our local bartender that because of the deeper water in the recently dredged channel, big Bull and Reef sharks now frequented the harbor to feed at dark.  He may have been joking, but we saw some shadows in the water that gave us pause.  The buoy wasn't there in the morning.

A few days later, the handle from the reel fell into the ocean while Nate was casting.  No more rod and reel fishing.  Time to take the hunt to the fish with the little, three pronged fishing spear I'd picked up years ago in Baja California.  Mark, Nate, and I took turns, swimming around holding it and feeling cool, stabbing at every moving thing we saw, killing lots of rocks.  It was with surprise and skepticism that we watched Nate return triumphant to the boat with Patrick.  I'd have thought the points of the spear were too blunted by then to kill anything.

It was with somewhat less surprise that Mark and I returned to the boat one day to see Becca visibly shaken and Nate with large scrapes on his back.  Out spear fishing, he'd lost track of where he was and wandered into the main boating channel while hunting "a really big one".  Then, he'd lost the fish when he was run over by one of the pontoons of the water taxi.  Becca had been the only witness and seemed more upset than Nate.  Mark and I congratulated him on still being alive and then reprimanded him for losing the fish.  Once again we'd have to make other plans for dinner.

As the week drew to a close, we looked forward more and more to our departure.  We had many more islands to visit and it was time to get on with it.

1 comment:

  1. Pete's more of a catch than a fisherman. Just throwning that out there.