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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.


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