If time is money and you have more time, Do you need more money?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Of Spears, Spikes and Confusion - Part 1

One of our favorite adventures during a Bahamiam Rapsody is to take a rubber band, a long shaft and kill or at least try to kill our own dinner.  What often happens is the fish stay 10 feet away and ask us why we are pretending to be able to live underwater.  On those days when we encounter a lackadazical sleepy grouper or snapper we eat well.  Then there are those days we have mashed potatoes and canned beef.

Spearfishing is great excersize

Knowing our prey is always formost in the adventure.  That nasty word Cigatera has no real way of testing it cost effectivly in the real world.  Do you play the "monkey see, mokey do game?"  After all the locals eat Parrot Fish.  So can we eat Parrot Fish?  Or do you trust the ants?  Perhaps the on board "taste test" kitty.  Then the media has the mercury thing all trumped up also.  How many fish can you eat until you have heavy metal poisoning?  Of course lobster are not kosher and neither are conch or perhaps conch are?  See, there is someone somewhere telling you not to everything.  Things like GMO corn, Anibiotic chicken, it lived in too small a cage, it was miss treated etc.  Salminela in lettuce, cucumbers and lopes, Hepetitis from the frozen pomagranets, Cyclospora from raspberries, eColi in the milk and beef,  Where do you draw the line?  You can't live on genetically mutated bread alone.  Or can you?  We currently only have one steadfast rule... No barracuda over 3 feet.  And don't watch too much TV.

Then there are the rules of the game that you must play by.  The ever changing rules that even change during mid game (year).  I have to put them into my Google calender just to keep up since Florida's closed seaons mostly coincide with cruising seasons.  It is much easier just to send you off on a link than try to expain the rules skewed by our interpretations and agrevations.

The Bahamas rules are confusing in their own right but only address a couple of species.  The Government site from the Bahamas seems to be updated very slowly.  The internet is a buzz with changes long before you can find concrete evidence from official sources.  Ask for and keep the documents you get when you clear in.  Make sure you get the endorsement for Hawaiian slings! even if you don't plan on doing so.  You never know who you may cross paths with and will talk you into a day of hunting.  Or perhaps watching lobster walk under your boat is more than you can handle.  "Beware of rumoured new rules on conch"


Tides are very important while snorkeling!  They can make the difference between an exceptional day and a rescue attemp by fellow boaters or other organizations.  We have dove an incoming tide in Highborne Cay.  Tides really rip between the islands!  You do not want a long swim back to shore or an anchored dinghy.  (You better leave enough scope on your dinghy rode or you will be fetching it too.)

Where to go?  A hand held GPS makes a wonderful day.  This can be a simple as a $99 hand held Garmin eTrex to a full fledged Nav station mounted in a RIB.  We like multiuse items so we will be using our iphone with a Lifeproof case and the Garmin Blue Charts.  The Bahamas requires 200 yards from the islands so check this on your Explorer Charts  along with depth and bottom structure (those little crosses).  Check for locations with both protection and current.  Check the depth and know your limits.  If it is 40 feet to the bottom and you can only dive 20 there will be lots of agrevation by the end of your dive or worse.  Don't forget to stop in the middle of the Banks on some of those large coral heads that everyone else passes by.  
PS: Don't trust those Lowrance charts they will put you in the middle of an island one night!

Grilled Lobster from this afternoons adventure

Now that you can find what your fish is, if you can keep it, will it make you sick, will you be taken to see and how to find the reef.   In our next post you will find the hardware we prefer and some of the wisdom we found during our time aboard.  In part three we will suggest some uses for those freshly caught little buggers.


keywords: Spearfishing spear fishing fish free dive snorkel pole spear hawaiian sling bahamas florida keys marathon key west bahia honda bimini exumas morgans morgan's bluff allens cay normans norman's staniel blue hole thunderball cave grotto grouper snapper s/v gemini dreams.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

House Of The Rising Son and Boys To Men

Many things have come and gone and while we are no where close to a house in New Orleans sometimes boys can't wait to be men.  The Fisher King grows ever so rapidly into his future that it is hard to keep up.  Listening to him plead his case in such a logical way to achieve his goals is warming.  His entrepreneurial skills are excellent and he doesn't understand why lawyers and governments will not let him make his adventures because he is too young.  After all, Carnegie started work at 13, Buffet started work at 13, Walton did newspapers too, Trump bottles, and Jobs was an intern at 13.  His current "mind-full" project is to combine a large lizard and a bird to create a winged dragon that he can sell.  But of course laboratories and other things are hard to come by on a 27 foot boat.  Where does this bring us today?  To the point that my little man is growing up, The Fisher King is speeding past the beginning of his Wikipedia history.  One day when we look his name up it will show possibly "Selling seashells by the sea shore" as his occupation at 11.  But for now the struggles with which a young boy can make money is foremost in his mind.

Today on the blog he receives the honor bestowed upon him even before his birth.  The Fisher King has out grown his nom de plume and forth coming will be known as he has to his friends and family as Ayrton.

Dad did you really post that picture?!!! Really?
I'm too old for this!

We are only a few days away from starting our 3rd year of Boatschool.  And we have survived the ordeal.  I actually don't think he would have it any other way now.  He has learned to be self teaching, self learning.  From this point he will be able to resolve anything he needs to know in the future.  

His logical, biased delivery of facts and his adorable ability to make me smile has won him a battle in the 3 year war over pets on board.  He has researched, on his own, the life, needs, habitat, food, costs, and more than I have cared to listen to about Birds and lizards for months.  Trying to get me to give in.  Every time I have said maybe or possibly it has resulted in an escalation of the attempt.  Like a maybe or possibly to a parakeet would end up as a Conure, no a Parrot, no a Macaw, no a Cockatoo, no a Red Hawk (yes he even looked into falconry and it's 2 year apprentice ship), no an Owl, no Osprey, no a... what do you mean I can't get a bird you said...I could.  Then there was the Anole, Gecko, and 20 others between the start and the Chinese Water Dragon at the end.  

So a couple nights ago I asked "Ayr?"  He responded with, "Yes" and I just couldn't go any further.  After a few minutes and a deep breath or ten and a long sigh.  I continued with "Ayr, do you want a cat?"  Needless to say his world went crashing into oblivion.  Random words and partial sentences like But... Why... You said... I Thought... came from his bewildered face.  After just a few minutes the freight train that is now CAT was starting to chug along within his brain.  (I''m sorry but as I type this all I can think about at this moment is "I'm going to get a cat!  I think I can! I think I can!" must have been running behind those eyes)  Then in his best bewildered calm gown up voice he said.  But I thought you would never let me get a cat and you would through it overboard or use it for shark bait or tell me it fell off the boat or...  I stopped him and said, "Ayr,  I would much rather have a cat crawl across my head at 2am than an iguana with 3 inch claws."  "It would be better for him also."   So here we are 90% sure we will soon have a cat on board.  We are just ironing out the details like short hair and "It must leave when you leave".  His first thought was a Siamese and he has even been pushing Craigslistings in my face.  


I can't believe you posted that pic!

The things we do for our children!

Friday, July 19, 2013

25 or 6 to 4 Prohibition

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Flashing lights against the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
25 or 6 to 4

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wondering how much I can take
Should I try to do some more
25 or 6 to 4

Feeling like I ought to sleep
Spinning room is sinking deep
Searching for something to say
Waiting for the break of day
25 or 6 to 4
25 or 6 to 4

So what is with a Yes song?  Well until you realize it is just "3:35 AM (or 3:34 AM)" and he is waiting on the break of day it is all confusing.   

Leading us to the current Bahamas Regulations.  
Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to pay
Flashing lights against the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
250 or 150 or more?
30, 34 or 35?
6 craws, 10 conch no more?

Current posting on http://www.myoutislands.com/bahamas-fishing/regulations.cfm 

Fishing Regulations for The Bahamas

  • Each vessel shall use not more than six (6) rods or reels unless the operator is in possession of a permit authorizing the use of more rods or reels;
  • Vessels with a valid fishing permit are allowed 20 pounds of scale fish, 10 conch, and six crawfish (in season) per person, at any time.
  • All other migratory fish shall be returned to the sea alive unless it is to be used immediately.
  • No grouper or rockfish weighing less than three pounds may be taken.
  • No spearfishing within 200 yards of any island in the Bahamas.
  • It is illegal to use any type of underwater air supply for spear fishing or collecting of any marine life. This includes scuba gear as well as air compressors.
  • Spearfishing is restricted to free divers only and only with the use of a Hawaiian sling.
  • It is illegal to take coral, tropical fish or sea fans.
  • It is illegal for a non-Bahamian to use any type of fishing net, except a cast net.
  • It is illegal for a non-Bahamian to use fish traps or to sell marine products of any type.
  • Nothing may be taken from Bahamas National Underwater Parks.
  • A person shall fish by the traditional method of angling with a hook or lure attached to a line held in the hand or attached to a pole, rod or reel;
  • A person, unless otherwise authorized by the respective permit, shall not use a spear, a fish trap, or a net other than a landing net;
  • Any migratory fishery resource that is caught shall not in total consist of more than six (6) Kingfish, Dolphin, Tuna or Wahoo per vessel and any resource not intended to be used shall not be injured unnecessarily but be returned to the sea alive;
  • No vessel shall have on board any conch, turtle or more than twenty pounds of any demersal fishery resources (groupers, snappers, etc.) per vessel at any time and excluding not more than six crawfish per vessel.
  • No vessel shall have on board any fish unless its head and tail is intact.
  • The general public is advised that the Queen Conch (conch) is considered to be an endangered species throughout much of its range within the wider Caribbean area, including The Bahamas. The Government, in an effort to ensure the continued sustainability of local conch stocks, has decided to prohibit the harvesting of the species by foreign boaters.
  • For more information, contact:

Department of Marine Resources
Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources
P.O. Box N-3028
Nassau, The Bahamas
Email: fisheries@bahamas.gov.bs

Posted on the http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/ site

Related Fee(s)
There are customs charges based on the size of the pleasure vessel.

  • Up to 35 ft in length - BS$150.00
  • Over 35 ft in length - BS$300.00

From the waterway guide  http://www.waterwayguide.com/newsupdate.php?area=9

12 July 2013

Bahamas entry fee increase?

Reported By: Mike Ahart, News Editor (WG Staff)

Bahamas Customs Management Regulations
UPDATE: The Bahamas Ministry of Finance has reversed the July 1 increase, and, once again, offers a credit of the differenct to boaters who paid the higher entry fee, according to a notice sent by the Marine Operators of the Bahamas:
Dear MOB Member:
We are pleased to share with you the Governments announcement of the reversal of increased fees for boaters as well as the issuance of credits for boaters who were inadvertently overcharged.
In a release today, and as published in the business section of the Nassau Guardian ( now viewable online),  Minister Michael Halketis shared the Governments’ position to reverse the entry fees for boaters visiting our shores; he furthered that credits will also be issued to boaters who paid the increased fees.
We are following up with the Ministry of Finance for specific details with how credits can be reimbursed. While we are still working on a formal announcement we wanted to apprise you the membership of this information.
I would especially like to thank the efforts of Peter Maury our MOB President, and Earl Miller  and his Team from the Ministry of Tourism for their vocal and behind the scenes  support in helping our charge for the government to revisit this decision.
While this is a step in the right direction, we are still advocating for the MOB to be involved in ongoing dialogue with the Government when decisions affecting our sector is made. 
As information presents itself, stay tuned for details.
Shamine Johnson, Manager, Marina Operators of The Bahamas (MOB) 
If you're planning to enter the Bahamas, I would still be prepared for any of the three fee schedules, despite this announcement. (So, if I had entered with my 34-foot boat and paid the new $250 rate (for boats 35' and under), I should go back to customs and pay $50 more ($300 for boats over 30').)
(7/1/2013) Bahamas entry fees for pleasure vessels have increased, effective July 1, according to the Customs Management (Amendment) Act, 2013 and Customs Management Regulations, 2013. The new law appears to have been enacted, but we have found no statements in the press or from the government to confirm this. The Marina Operators of the Bahamas responded to our inquiry, referring to the regulations as an "unofficial document" -- it is awaiting official notification from Bahamas Customs and Immigration: "We are encouraging our MOB Members and Partners to be aware of the change."
Fees would now be $250 for pleasure vessels 35 feet and under, and $400 for vessels over 35 feet. As before, these entry fees would cover three passengers -- each additional passenger above the age of six is subject to a tax of $20.
The previous fees, enacted last year, were officially $150 for 30 feet and under, and $300 for vessels over 30 feet, but many cruisers have reported being charged according to the older, long-standing cutoff point: $150 for boats 35 feet and under, and $300 for boats over 35 feet. 
Recently, it has been common for some ports to continue charging the old amounts, so be prepared to be charged according to any of these three fee schedules.
Here is an excerpt from the Customs Management Regulations, 2013: 
91. Fee for pleasure vessel.
(1) A temporary cruising permit shall, on approval of the inward report by the Customs authority, be issued on Form No. C39 upon payment of —
(a) a fee of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) for a pleasure vessel not exceeding thirty-five feet in length;
(b) a fee of four hundred dollars ($400.00) for a pleasure vessel exceeding thirty-five feet in length.
(2) The fees referred to in paragraph (1) shall cover the costs of — (a) a fishing permit under the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Ch. 244);
(b) a cruising permit under regulation 90(a);
(c) attendance fees payable in respect of attendance by a Customs officer pursuant to regulation 7; and
(d) overtime and travel expenses in respect of the attendance of an Immigration officer;
(3) Sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph (1) shall not apply for tender vessels and ancillary equipment being towed or on board a pleasure vessel.
(4) Where a pleasure vessel under sub-paragraphs (a) or (b) of paragraph (1) carries more than three passengers, every additional passenger of or above the age of six years who is not a resident passenger shall be subject to a tax of twenty ($20.00) dollars as specified under the Passenger Tax Act (Ch. 379).
(5) The fee paid in respect of a pleasure vessel under sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph (1) shall permit such vessel to enter The Bahamas twice within a ninety day period.
92. Number of firearms and ammunition allowed for a pleasure vessel.
A pleasure vessel entering The Bahamas shall be allowed to import the maximum of —
(a) three firearms inclusive of handguns, rifles, and shotguns, where such calibre of firearms shall not exceed three hundred and eight calibres.
(b) two hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition per firearm.
93. Cruising permit extension for pleasure vessel.
(1) A pleasure vessel shall depart from The Bahamas —
(a) within twelve months of the date of arrival; or
(b) within such further period, not beyond two years from the date of arrival, as may upon application to the Comptroller be approved by the Minister, subject to —
(i) the continuing condition that the vessel is not used during any extended period for commercial purposes or hire; and
(ii) the payment of a fee of one thousand dollars ($1000.00) for each extension period approved by the Minister.

(2) A temporary cruising permit shall, on departure of a pleasure vessel from The Bahamas, be surrendered to the proper officer when application for clearance is made or dealt with in accordance with regulation 73.

Then if you go to the forums for cruisers you get any incarnation of the three schedules plus some.  So if you show up with $400 and don't harvest conch you may be covered.  But what if you are given paperwork with 10 conchs printed, the customs officer tells you 10 conchs and you are visited by the Defense Force with 1 conch on your vessel?  

On our last trip we saw what one "Conch Diver" could do in a day while we were at Allens Cay.  On a small skiff running to the harvest grounds and the "Big Boat" anchored at Allens Cay, Sam and Alice returned with a half day harvest of about 500 Conchs.  

With our next cruise still a few months away maybe it will all be free by then.  


Friday, July 5, 2013

A Tap Tap Tap Came The Rain Oh So Dreary Such A Weary Day But To Be Wondurous In The Dark Of Eve

We spent most of the afternoon staring at the sky.  Clicking on the iPhone to view the radar and trying to decide where we would watch some fireworks.  I love fireworks.  A little after 4 we headed off to Mad Beach to check out the festivities and meet the other half of the family.  We were first on the beach and watched the dark clouds roll in as we informed the other end of the phone "Dark clouds but no rain on the radar".  I sent a text a little later "Raindrops".  We had moved to a picnic table when suddenly there was silence.  The random mishap of non organized tunes piped in over the stage's system was stopped due to rain.  Nothing other than a "Test, test, test" and barking of change this and that ever gave us a hint at a live performance.

Promo'd as The Biggest Tiki Bar on the Sand was a standard event tent with grass beach mats skirting the fold up tables.  But at least they had Captain Morgan and real Margaritas (kind of) for $6.

As the Fisher King and I sat at the picnic table at Archibald Park waiting raindrops kept tapping our feet.  Evaluating the clouds and radar I called and asked if they had eaten yet.  With a yes the Fisher King and I went to Subway since we had not.  Better to be inside with food than in a rainstorm if it was about to hit.  As I paid for our sub I sent another text "It's raining".  This was followed by a simple response "Ass!"  Seems the girls got caught in the downpour that was developing and we not too happy with me.  With our choice to go to Subway we were mostly dry except for our shoes and where we sat on the picnic table.  But they were not,  the girls were mostly just short of soaked.

The Fisher King caught a ride (forced submission by his mother) so that he didn't cross the bay in a little dinghy during a lightening storm.  I took the dinghy across the bay, picked him up, received my lecture on lightning and puttered off toward s/v Gemini Dreams.  Still only wet on the flip flops and where we sat on the picnic table and now the dinghy seat.  The Fisher King tried once again to take some great lightning photos from a sailboat as I watched random fireworks along the beach.  We had given in and now waited to see if the fireworks were cancelled due to everyone else getting drenched in the rain.

Persistant is the Fisher King

Yes there is a pirate ship in this unsteady photo

As we sat on the cabin a few minutes before 9 (start of the fireworks) the bridge opened and the firework barge came through.  As the crane lowered The Fisher King asked if they were going to "Joust" with the other boats.  (long crane arm in front of barge looked like a lance)  It was finally at this point we realized the barge was not returning to the sea wall at the city building.  Instead they were trying to set up in the channel a couple hundred yard from our boat.  It took over 30 minutes before they decided on the final location and gave us an up close and personal show starting at 10pm.

Opening fireworks

 we would need to move the Fisher King to land and a tripod to get crisp pictures.

Okay we learned of the shortcomings of off the hip low light recording.

We wish the photos and videos were much crisper but at least there was a reason to post on the blog.