Article contributed by K. Fischer.
The tiny, two-seater aircraft abruptly landed on the broken surface of the Long Island runway. As I jumped out to collect my pack, that familiar rush of anticipation and excitement that accompanies most solo travelers, surged through my veins… fuel for the adventurers’ soul.
I had embarked on this Bahamian trip on a whim. My usual destinations include the north western mountainous regions, but thanks to Salt Water magazine, I had the urge to tackle a bonefish on the fly. Needless to say, I got much more than I bargained for.
While on the island, I befriended one of the local fishermen, Robert. He had mentioned going out after lobster for a couple who was staying at the island’s only resort. I expressed interest in joining him.
“You dive?” He asked.
“Yeah, I’ve dove before.” I replied.
As he threw me a spare BDC tank, he quickly demonstrated how to use his spear fishing sling, and off we went. After flying past the flats, Robert dropped the anchor over a giant reef 50 feet below us. I assembled my tank, and took the first plunge into the turquoise Caribbean water. Spear in hand, I slowly made my way to the bottom of the ocean, pausing only to decompress.
I quickly remembered how much I enjoyed being a part of the underwater world. The lemon sharks precariously patrolled the reefs as a giant barracuda loomed overhead. Robert motioned me over to a cave in the reef, and pointed into the darkness. I swam down and peered into the shadows. I could just make out the long antennas of a lobster lurking in a protective crevice. Looking back at Robert, he gave me the go ahead. I slid the wooden tube up the base of the spear, pointed the tip at where I assumed the body of the lobster would be, and let the spear shoot off into the cave. It’s crazy how something so small can be so exhilarating. I swam into the cave to retrieve my spear, and was ecstatic to learn a giant lobster was on the other end. I beamed at Robert as he gave me two thumbs up.
We continued to dive and shoot lobster and a few grouper, before returning to the surface for some evening reef fishing. I learned that the local fisherman target a variety of different species, and disperse the days catch amongst the people in town to eat. The display of consideration and concern for their community was just one example of many acts of meritorious service I witnessed during my stay.
At the end of the day, I helped Robert clean our catch, and he gave me one of the lobster I shot to eat, and pointed me in the direction of a deserted beach where I could cook it. I climbed on top of the jagged rocks lining the rugged eastern coast of the tiny island, and pulled out my jet boil to begin boiling water. The giant tail didn’t quite fit, so I had to improvise a little by flipping it every so often. After a few minutes, the tail turned a brilliant shade of red. Realizing that I didn’t pack eating utensils, I was forced to use two rocks to break the shell in such a primitive manner, it resulted in a fit of laughter.
There I was, sitting cross legged overlooking the Caribbean, eating a 2lb lobster with my fingers as the waves crashed into the rocks, emitting a refreshing, salty mist that kissed my face. It was far from the typical “lobster dinner”, but this was my paradise. No shoes, candles, silk napkins or diving certification class necessary.