Saturday, September 26, 2015

Under the Sea….


Foraging for food was the highlight and the goal for most days in the Bahamas.  We got into a routine where every morning, we'd get up, eat breakfast, lather ourselves with sunblock, and pack the dinghy with all of our spearfishing gear, and head out and try to find a new reef to dive on in the surrounding areas by trying to read the water.  At this point, we had gotten very good at reading the water and distinguishing between sea grass, rocks, or coral.  Depending on what we were trying to spear, we'd try to scout out the best spots for what we wanted to hunt.  This was done basically by me just sticking my head in and checking out what was around.  If we were hunting lobster, we'd try to find smaller, low lying rocks with ledges where the lobsters would hide.  Sometimes, we'd get lucky and see the antennae from above and at which point, it was just a matter of diving and spearing them.  We found that we'd find lobster in water anywhere from 5ft to 30 ft, so long as there were rocks for them to hide in. We also discovered that finding one lobster also meant that there were definitely more around as they tend to cluster in groups. 

Our biggest lobsters of the trip….
An iphone for comparison

There was never a scarcity of fresh fish or lobster, and we prepared it in every way imaginable.  Raw, pan fried, lightly floured and deep fried, steamed, ceviched, grilled, made into salads, into paella, or poached in coconut milk. We tried every imaginable way to prepare the fish, and even with this in mind, at times I found myself completely sick of both lobster and fish and wanting a hotdog, chicken wings, or a burger.  Haha, first world problems.  We discovered that if you deep fried trigger fish, since the meat is very hearty and fibrous, that it tastes A LOT like fried chicken.  Now take it one step further, if you dip it in Heinz BBQ sauce, the flavor is much like a McDonald's chicken nugget.  A very welcome respite when you've been eating fish for literally 3 weeks straight.  

It became a game for us to try to forage every type of edible underwater creature there was. Anything from conch, to sea urchin, to sea snails, to fish, to crab, to lobster, we found the thrill of the hunt to be quite addictive.  At times, we were scared to go in the water, especially in the end after Ashley left, because we spotted sharks on nearly every dive.  With one less person on the lookout for them, it became a little nerve wrecking to get into the water as they would appear very suddenly and seemingly from out of nowhere.  On Ashley's last day in the Bahamas, we were on one of our usual dives, when suddenly I hear her shout "Shark!"   Protocol for us is that when one of us spots a shark, we just swim for the dinghy as quickly (and as calmly) as we can while trying to spot where the shark is.  Well, this was one of the days where I didn't spot the shark and just swam for the dinghy as quickly as I could.  Little did I know at the time that I was being chased by a 10 ft shark (which to this day is questionable as to what type it was), and didn't know until I was hoisting myself onto the dinghy and look down to see this thing about a foot from my fin.  Poor Frank was much too far from the dinghy at the time, and watched in horror as the shark chased me, thinking all the while what he was going to do if I needed to get a hospital that was a couple days sail away.  I don't know which is worse, seeing the shark chase you, or seeing it chase someone you love so dearly.  Needless to say, Ashley didn't go back in since she was the one who spotted it out of nowhere and was good and traumatized.  Frank and I both forced ourselves back into the water shortly after, because if we didn't, we'd be too scared to ever go back in and we had more then a month left in the Bahamas at that point.  In the end, despite all the shark and barracuda encounters, we made it out unscathed…though I can't say the same for the creatures you see below.  Yes, a lot of fish were harmed in the making of this blog post….

Typical day's haul (from Bottom Up)….Queen Triggerfish, Grunts,
Jackfish, Ocean Triggerfish, Red Hind
Bucket of 10lb+ lobsters
Bucket of Chicken
Whelps…delicious but pain in the ass to eat...
Frank caught the largest Channel Clinging Crab I've ever seen!
Lionfish
Sea Urchin aka Uni….favorite thing ever
23 Lobsters speared in 20 minutes and a more reasonably
sized Channel Clinging Crab to boot!
Ashley speared the largest fish of the trip….Mutton Snapper!
Big guy in 5 feet of water!

5 comments:

  1. Wow! Those are some nice looking fish.

    You sure eat good in the tropics. ;-)

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    1. What the Bahamas lacked in fresh produce it definitely made up for with plentiful fresh seafood thats for sure!

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  2. Looks like you had a great trip!

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    1. We sure did! Cant wait to go back again!

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  3. Good to see you guys back safe and sound. I was beginning to wonder if the Bermuda triangle got you or something! Looks like the good ship is taking care of you and you're taking care of her.

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