26 Jan 2007 – Ship Channel Cay

First Lobster Speared!
A successful hunt
Even in the Bahamas there are chilly days on the sea...

Leaving Nassau we’re a little uncertain about going today due to weather.  We’ve been here too long and we need to get moving again. We check in with Chris Parker our weather guru to whom we pay an annual fee to be able to custom forecasts every day over our SSB radio. We tell Chris our plan and he says "well if you enjoy a good BRISK sail, then today's a good day". Brisk is a Chris code word for "it could be rough" since he knows we have small kids on board. .  The seas are going to be up (5-7 foot wind chop) and there’s a cold front approaching in a couple days.  Michael on Maddy convinces us that we should go, "It’s the Bahamas and the wind never goes away… you’ll wait a week and end up facing the same dilemma with the next approaching front." We go.

The seas are up but with the angle and the wave period they just don’t seem too unfriendly.  The wind is steady at about 20 knots and we’re making over 7 knots.  Even though the sun is out it’s a little chilly with this wind.  All in all it’s a great sail and we’re glad we left.

The next morning Michael and I head off for my first attempt at hunting lobster and fish with a pole spear.  In the Bahamas you can only spearfish with a pole spear (a 5 foot pole with a surgical tubing sling attached to the back end; you wrap the tubing across your palm & thumb then slide your hand toward the tip of the spear stretching the tubing and “loading” the spear).  And foreigners can only hunt with snorkels, not SCUBA. It takes a while to learn where to look for the lobsters.  And it takes a lot more lung capacity that I still need to build up. 

After Michael gets his first lobster he spots a second one and shows me where it is.  “It’s yours if you want to take it,” he tells me.  I grab a breath and dive down; it’s big!  I go back up, get one more breath, load the spear, dive, line up my shot and let it fly.  Got him!  Now the tricky part… getting him out of the hole while he’s trying to swim away with an incredibly powerful tail.  I can’t hold on so I drop the spear and go to the surface for air.  Michael meets me at the surface and says I did the right thing.  Don’t force him out.  Get a breath, go back down and work him out.  Easier said than done!  In my excitement I manage to get him out but he comes off the spear.  Michael is right there and gets another spear in him before he can swim back into the hole.  So my first kill is a little more of a team kill… but still quite thrilling!  And it definitely gives me a taste for the hunt.

As we dinghy back to the boats we spot Megan, the boys and Debbie on a beach with the other dinghy.  We zip over and I proudly hold up our kill.  Megan no longer questions my decision to buy a $50 spear.  This one lobster will feed all 6 of us that night!  From this point forward, I won’t need to sneak away to go diving… I will be sent out to hunt for food for the family and not return empty-handed!

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