Out of commission. That’s what happens when you spear yourself in the hand. No need to worry with Sara on board to step in as the head spearfisherwoman. Our first trip out since the accident, we were in search of lunch. Within 10 minutes Sara had spotted it, a Strawberry Grouper. I watched from the surface while Sara dove down and made a perfect shot. Not bad for her first grouper.
Four days later we went out again. Sara with the pole spear and myself with the Hawaiian sling. Time to get back on the horse. After a number of tries, I had my first success, a Marget from the Grunt family of fish. Sara followed it up with a Nassau Grouper just to show me up. Dinner was served.
For our last fish in the Exumas, Sara and I decided to get some small pan fryers. Porgies of course. Again we got one fish each.
|Blood bath from the mahi mahi|
Onward to the Abacos!! We didn’t know what to expect. We anticipated seeing less fish and less big fish due to the population on the islands and proximity to Florida. We couldn’t have been more wrong!! Our first snorkeling session was at the northwest end of Great Guana Cay. It was a protected land and sea park so no fishing. The reef was amazing and so was the abundance of fish. Huge schools of iridescent tiny fish filled the seas and groupers could be seen poking their heads out from under the coral heads. Three days later we made our first entry into the water with spears in hand. The location, No Name Cay, the reefs, just as vibrant. Sara and I snorkeled for two hours, chased out of the water only by the time of day. Our loot, two Spanish Hogfish, and a Schoolmaster Snapper.
Ty arrived and we headed to the west end of Manjack Cay. We arrived under the threat of tropical storm (Debbie). She keep us off of the outer reefs but not out of the water. Upon arrival we jumped in the dinghy to find some dinner. Not much fish, and not much reef but we were able to find a Strawberry Grouper. Grouper Fingers!!
Again, a direct shot and another fish in the boat. We drifted off shore and Sara caught my attention pointing to a monster fish. My first though was a shark! No it was a fish, a Cero. The Cero is a fish that is constantly on the move, fast, agile, and not often speared. This one I was able to get within range expecting my 6-foot spear to swim away with the fish. The fish I did spear, but swim away, he did not. He made it about twenty feet before I was able to grab the spear and haul him back to the boat. Our day of fishing was done.
Our next stop was Moraine Cay. A wonderland for snorkelers and spearfisherman alike. The coral heads rose from 15 feet up to the surface with channels, caves, and tunnels throughout. To say the least, we spent days exploring and still just scratched the surface. The fish were everywhere but they were also a little shifty. Our first trip out we came home empty handed. The next trip out was more rewarding. I spotted a grouper and headed down. As I approached, the fish spooked so I poked my head in a cave nearby and spotted a nice Schoolmaster.
The shot, right behind the gills and the fish took off with the spear. The fight was on. He drug the spear deep under a rock ledge were I could just reach the end of the spear. The fish was stuck, real stuck. I tugged and rotated and tugged and finally as I was just nearing the end of my breath, I got him out. Sara and I jumped in the dinghy and ditched the giant Barracuda that had is eye on our prize.
Again in the afternoon we headed out and Sara took her turn with the Hawaiian sling. On her first attempt ever she swam down twenty feet to approach a good-sized porgy. She got there and waited, waited for the fish to turn allowing for the perfect shot and the perfect shot it was. On Sara’s first attempt with a Hawaiian sling she had speared a fish. Not many people can say that about their wife. But I can.
It was time for us to get our favorite type of fish. The Nassau Grouper. Sara and I went out to find it. Sara spotted the fish and I went down to get it. A nice Nassau Grouper!!
In Foxtown after dropping off Tyler we met a couple in the bar with a suggestion for our next stop. Carter Cay, the land of Black Grouper and Mutton Snapper. We arrived, anchored and hopped in the dinghy for a drift dive down the cut. We drifted down and got a Yellowfin Grouper. That evening I followed it up with a hogfish.