This photo I took of Dave looks as if he was walking along the sea floor shopping at the fish market.
David appeared from his neighboring Leopard catamaran in his dinghy and
invited me to join him snorkeling / spear-fishing. I said if he would wait as I finished eating my sliced pork loin and cole slaw lunch, I would join him. As I ate, he shared more about himself, and as we dinghied off towards some coral heads about a mile away, he added some techniques on how to catch certain kinds of fish and lobster with a spear.
For close to two hours, I accompanied Dave fishing the shallows at Nurse Cay Cut, a couple hundred yards between Buena Vista and Nurse Cays. I mentioned I had never speared fish before, but he said he would show me. Once he explained some of the basics and handed me a trident spear with an elastic sling, I slid into the water, now fully armed in the offhand chance I might encounter something not-too-quick, reachable, catchable, impale-able and edible.
Watching Dave dive was fascinating as he frequently dove 8-15 feet in the clear water onto a coral head, often holding his breathe for over a minute. He would poke his mask and spear head into
every ledge and explore eery hiding place hole.
As I soon discovered he had the help of a weight belt which could aid in his diving without using unnecessary energy to sink to the bottom. His rubber gloves, wet suit armed with the comfort / confidence-level peeking and poking under ledges and into bottom holes and hideaways made him a formidable hunter. It wasn't long before he impaled a lobster, hog fish, and a grouper.
A couple of minutes into the water, Dave had speared a lobster.
He also killed an invasive and venomous Lion Fish which for the last several years has been proliferating the Caribbean and decimating fish populations because it has no predators. Before our dive I had read and heard numerous conversations from other snorkelers about their unique beauty and their almost Medusa-like deadliness to fish and humans. Any contact with this creature can cause deadly consequences. I also was all out war against them and year round open season for fishermen and divers to eliminate this passive, yet pernicious presence. Though it was such a small contribution to eradicating this pest, it seemed like a responsibility all fishermen needed to embrace. It was impressive that Dave took the time and effort to do so.
My two times on consecutive days watching and photographing Dave dive on coral heads, rather than refining my own spearfishing skills, was rewarded in numerous ways. I had an opportunity to catch my own shots - snap shots of a skilled diver, shopping for fish and lobster. Also, Dave was so generous he gave us his catch - a lobster, grouper and hog fish. We ate well for the next two days.
A lionfish isn't ferocious, just venomous.
Top 5 Myths About Lionfish: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/07/19/top-5-myths-about-lionfish/
FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the lionfish invasion in the Western Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. With the invasion being a relatively new phenomenon (at least to most people), there’s bound to be some misinformation flying around. Here are the top five misconception about lionfish and the facts behind them. Knowing the truth behind lionfish puts us one step closer to figuring out a solution to the problem!
Lynne and the lobster
The catch of the day - large Hog fish
Leslie was a diver as well....she found conch and baby beach shells