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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dan and Brad's Spearfishing Adventures V

Dan and I had made plans the previous day to go spear fishing on the ocean side of Georgetown Harbor in the Exumas, January, 2007. The wind picked up that night and by morning the conditions were less than ideal. All but one of our cruiser friends bailed out when they saw the breaking waves on the near beach.

Dan, Dave, and I geared up and swam out past the breakers. Visibility was poor and the reef relatively lifeless. The near reef, where we had caught a lobster a few days previous, was inaccessable due to the swell. The three of us hovered over a reef in 18- 22 feet of water, making dives to check out attractive holes. Having seen nothing shootable we were becoming a little discouraged when 'out of the blue' comes a huge mid water fish. Dan and I would later decide it was some type of jack. We both described this as the biggest fish, barring sharks, that we had seen in the wild.

As Dan and I looked at the fish I began wondering whether it was too big to shoot. The main factors I weighed were the 200 yard distance from the beach and the breaker we would have to pass through. This would mean a 15 minute swim with a huge bleeding fish on the end of one of our spears. Sharks are more prevalent on the ocean side of the harbor and the swim back was going to be tense. All these thoughts flashed through my mind in the first few moments after seeing this monster fish. I made a move towards Dan to get his opinion on the fish's shootability when my attention was caught by a long silvery figure. I could see a four and half foot barracuda hovering about ten feet behind Dan. "Well that settles it," I thought. There is no way we can shoot this fish now with this barracuda right here. I watched him for a few moments thinking, "I better tell Dan this guy is right behind him."

Just then I hear the tell-tale sound of a pole spear being shot and making contact. Both the barracuda and I quickly turn in Dan's direction. I see Dan down about eight feet below the surface holding his pole spear which failed to penetrate past the barb ( should have sharpened those tips). The jack is struggling to swim away and pumping a prodigious amount of blood from the hole behind its gill plate. Dan is swimming after the fish, the barracuda is swimming after Dan, and I am swimming after the whole mess. The cuda catches up with Dan, swims under him and isn't visible to him until it emerges directly under his face mask. The jack is still struggling and the cuda is now swimming in a stream of blood a few feet from the fish. Dan and I both half hope that he takes a bite out of the jack to slow him down.

With the barracuda and its teeth so near our chances of safely landing this fish were slim so I peel off the pursuit to find Dave. He was about 30 yards away and I made the swim to inform him of the situation and the amount of blood in the water. He understood and began to head in. I swim back to find Dan returning from the chase. We talk for a moment about the fish and the shot, then look down and find ourselves treading water in a semi diluted cloud of fish blood. A little unnerved, we turn and head for shore. A few barracudas keep us very close company for almost the entire swim in. The breakers were especially tense as your underwater visibility goes to zero with all the bubbles. It felt good to be back on shore, but we couldn't help thinking how awesome it would have been to land that fish. We could have eaten it for days and had fillets to give to all the people we had met in Georgetown over the last week.