Brad, Dan and Scott's Sailing Adventure

"There she is boys! The SS More Powerful than Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the Incredable Hulk combined." This space will be used to post updates of our odyssey.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Dan and Brad's Spear Fishing Adventures

Staniel Cay, Bahamas - January.

Scott, the Schlauch family, and I piled into the golf cart with all our gear and drove to the ocean side of the Cay. Dan and I planned on finding that night's dinner somewhere among the reef. I was the first one geared up and into the water. I was met with my first siting of a predator class shark. I have seen nurse and sand sharks before, but these species pose no danger and are so docile that they may be petted. I was now looking at a five foot reef shark; certainly not a man-eater, but it did give me some pause as I was planning on spear fishing in this area. I told the Schlauchs about the shark and they seemed more interested than intimidated. Soon Mike, Bob, Dan and I were all out cruising the reef. The habitat looked excellent and its distance from the town meant that it would be relatively unexploited. The ocean sides of islands are often better because strong swells make them unfishable for a large percentage of days. Today's conditions were relatively calm and we went about our dives, looking in holes and under ledges for lobsters and groupers. After ten or fifteen minutes of searching I saw a large black grouper free swimming toward me. He was near the reef, but a good distance from any real cover. I pulled my Hawaiian sling back and excitedly took a rushed and inexperienced shot. The sic foot spear shaft hit the grouper in the back half of its body, a poor location. Hurt but not crippled the fish took off toward the reef, bringing my spear with it. I soon enlisted Dan and Mike (Dan's brother) for the search. We assumed the grouper had taken cover somewhere in the near reef. My mind was somewhat unsettled as i had seen the reef shark not too long ago and not too far away. Now were searching for a wounded fish and I suspected that the situation was not entirely unknown to the shark. I saw the shark swimming off in the distance while we scoured the reef, and this put me very much on my guard. Dan and Mike both dove down to check a tunnel like hole. I stayed at the surface on watch, slowly circling. On my second turn I brought my face around and met the eyes of a reek shark, facing me about three feet from my legs. Startled, I proceeded to splash frantically, apparently doing my best to imitate a wounded animal. Luckily the shark turned away at my sudden burst of movement. I grabbed Dan and Mike and we headed back to sure, deciding to buy a new spear shaft back in town. On the way back in we saw two more reef sharks cruising the shallows near the beach. Back on shore with my nerves calmed Dan and I decided to head out to a different reef. On the way there we encountered a group of three reef sharks that eyed us cautiously. One circled around behind us and I hoped they weren't gaining confidence from their superiority in numbers. Eventually they left us and we found a very pretty reef rising off a 25 foot deep sand bottom. One wily lobster escaped us through a back exit to his hole and we had to settle for the queen conch we gathered. After the adventure of shelling and cleaning the conch, Dan's mom Phyllis made them into a tasty ceviche which allowed us to count in hunting expedition as a success.