Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fish Tales

It’s so hot out there, I’ve decided to sit in the air conditioning and play on my laptop.  The Mad Dogs (Nelson) and Englishmen (Captian B and the kids) have gone hiking, leaving me in peace and quiet.

Since we last caught up, Steadfast has had the usual adventures with Cruisers’ Regatta in George Town harbor.  Captain B and I did the Poker Run, our first time, and learned more about the bar scene of Grand Exuma Island than we ever have wanted to know.  It was a ton of fun, racing around in our dinghies, getting a card from each of 5 locations and then "playing" our best hand at the end.  Of course there was a lot of eating and drinking involved...  We were required to dress for the occasion, reflecting the Margarita Ville theme.

Steadfast rode safely at anchor off Sand Dollar Beach for two weeks, thru several strong blows.  We assisted two boats near us reposition after they dragged, encroaching on our swing area.  Captain B is meticulous in setting the anchor, checking and rechecking that it has truly “dug in”.  The seven to one (and 15 to one for storm conditions) ratio of depth to length of anchor rode is religiously followed on this boat.  Not all boaters are as experienced or as knowledgeable as my handsome skipper.  As wind shifts and tides change, the boat swings the full radius of the length of the rode. 

-Excuse me, we have 125 feet of rode out.  I think you are setting up too close.

-Do you think so????  Well…we’ll watch it.

About sunset, I deploy every fender available on the side of our boat facing the offending sail boat, to give an obvious hint that collision is a foregone conclusion.  No reaction.

-Yes, Rosemary, I did specifically tell them about the forecast front coming late this evening, and yes, I did tell them we have 125 feet out.  They said they’d watch it. (You know, it’s the privilege of crew to sometimes question the Captain and not have it called nagging.)

We waken at 10:30pm as the boat is rocking to a new and bouncy rhythm.  Captain B goes outside to try and raise our now extremely-close neighbours.  He calls a gentle “hello” and flicks his flashlight on and off at their port holes.  The people who said they’d “watch it” are sound asleep, below decks.

-HEY YOU!  WAKE UP!  WAKE UP!! I scream.

-Okay, okay.  Without another word, the sail boat comes to life, pulls in their 50 to 70 feet of rode and moves off in the dark and stormy sea.  One can only hope they learned something……

It’s been a great fishing season so far.  Lots of fresh fish for suppers and lunches.  Fish fingers for cocktails too.  Yummy!

I declined the offer to accompany the gang on their hike, because I’d just spent the last hour on deck, sweltering, trading fish stories with Tucker, Jamal and Deno.  It was hot, but thrilling conversation.  There was reminiscence of unimaginably large schools of Grouper just off shore, close to Compass.  There were tales of diving and close calls with 15-20 foot sharks.

Tucker told us about the giant squid pulled in some months ago by local fishermen.  It had a big shark bite out of its side, dead and measured 20 feet long and 8 feet wide!  They had to bring it in, or people wouldn’t have believed their story.  Everyone took photographs. 

Jamal’s story topped them all:  six years ago, two men, went fishing out of Nassau.  The weather turned bad and they were reported missing, presumed drowned.  Five days later, Humphry’s fishing boat pulled in a 14 foot Tiger Shark off Green Cay.  As they were trying to disengage, the shark regurgitated a human head!  Imagine!!!  They had the presence of mind to shoot and kill the shark and take it in for authorities at the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, back in Nassau.  When they hung it up and sliced it open, a fully intact, human, male body fell out.  The man was identified as one of the missing fishermen.  Shiver me timbers! I'll be having nightmares from that one.

Well, the extremely hot and tired hikers are back.  The peaceful interlude has come to an end and so I will say adieu for today.  Play safe everyone, until next time....

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