Captain CH’s log continues. For the full experience, read The Lionfish Incident.
Chris had adapted easily and well to boat life, showing the benefits of a maritime background and seafaring experiences. It was also nice for me to have a capable, experienced hand on deck. He learned the ropes quickly, so I was trying to get him to where he can handle all issues of sailing and navigation by himself. Then, I wouldn’t have to do anything.
We sailed off the anchor, and enjoyed a nice beam reach to Angelfish Point, where ‘Mr. Fisherman’ decided to get his lure wet again. In less than 5 seconds, it was “Fish On”! But wait, that’s not all. He got another, bigger fish to bite the first big fish, and he was trying to reel ‘em both in. Well, a randomly cruising shark had other plans and left Chris the head of what used to be an 8 pound mutton snapper. This is when I took the rod away from him…
That afternoon we did some hiking on trails, opened fresh coconut off the tree with a machete and gathered firewood for an evening cookout on the beach. Then, off to explore some creeks and dive some boiling holes (underwater sinkholes with caves which connect to the ocean miles away). All the sea creatures – fish, crab, lobster, turtle, and sharks – love these holes. When we found one, Chris went in first and was confronted eye to eye (mano a pez) by a nice-sized, aggressive cubera snapper. Both survived the encounter.
Instead of more fish, we’d got a notion about lobster over a wood fire. Poking around Crawfish Creek, which is usually loaded, we only came up with one semi-legal bug, so we splashed into the secret spot and, in tandem, speared two healthy ones. Nice night for a beach party.
At this point in time, we had Mahi, Mutton Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper, and Lionfish on ice. You could not count the bugs, because they went right from the water to the grill. Oh, wait, we couldn’t eat all the lobster, so some did make it to the icebox, which bumped our onboard menu to a selection of five choices of seafood.
Chris did eventually get to consume the lionfish that had stung him! I imagine, revenge never tasted so sweet! Chris was the chef and served half of it up as sushi (with wasabe and soy), the other half sautéed. They really are a delicacy, and over dinner we brainstormed marketing concepts and slogans to introduce the lionfish as the next commercially available seafood.
Another nice sail down to Green Turtle Cay. We stretched our legs around the settlement of New Plymouth and up the hill to Batelco (phone station) to arrange for Chris to hop a plane back to the US. It had been big fun, but he had got plans back on Montauk, Long Island, his hometown in New York. His recovery from the swelling and loss of mobility inflicted by the lionfish was gradual – maybe 4 to 5 days -, but now it was just another fish story. He was good to go the next morning, so we sailed over to the ferry dock.
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