January 31, 2011.
After a few really perfect nights at Raccoon we headed back down south to Hog Cay. We had to get down there to pick up our vegetables when the mailboat came in. The winds were forecast to be from the northwest at 10 to 12 knots. The anchorage at Hog is open to the west but 10 to 12 isn’t a big deal so we decided to head there with 4 other boats.
I’m usually pretty opposed to the whole “group mentality” thing but tonight was Greg on My Destiny’s birthday and there was a party planned for the beach tonight. I really wanted to be at his party but in the back of my mind I was worried that the 10 to 12 knots could easily morph into something more. In spite of my better judgment we headed in to Hog for the night rather than an anchorage further south that would offer us better protection.
After dropping the hook on a perfect, sunny, calm day we hopped in the dink and covered the 3 ½ miles into town. We picked up our vegetables and headed over to the school to do a little interneting. While we were sitting there the temperature dropped and some ominus clouds appeared. Crap. The front was here sooner than expected and of course, there was a solid 20 knots outta the west northwest. We’ll just say that the dinghy ride home sucked, bigtime. Once safely home hoisting the dink was no party either but it had to be done. We had solid 3 footers rolling through the anchorage and everyone’s stern was facing the breakers behind us on the beach. Needless to say, there was no party. We now have the “Never anchor with your heart rather than your brain” rule.
Once safe with the dinghy raised things weren’t too bad as the onslaught of waves passed under the boat. Unfortunately, the wind veered at about 0200 hours. We turned to face the breeze while the seas were now on our beam. We laid there wide awake as we rolled side to side until we raised the sails and got out of there at dawn.
A ten mile downwind sail took us to the anchorage at Southside Bay which offers mondo protection from north winds. After dropping the hook in the flat ass calm anchorage we headed into town to the school. They were having a fundraiser for the student body (all 11 of them). They charge you 10 bucks a head for what boils down to a Bahamas style home cooked meal. There was baked and fried chicken, fried fish and ribs accompanied by sides of cole slaw, peas and rice, curried rice, conch and rice and everyone’s favorite……macaroni and cheese. This stuff ain’t nothing like your Mommas Mac & Cheese. I don’t know what the hells in it but god damn it’s good.
On Sunday morning we woke to light wind from the north north east. This made for a perfect day for some spear fishing on the extreme tip of little Ragged Island. I’ve only hunted there once before and it was phenomenal so I was psyched as we headed out. There were 5 dinghies from various boats in the anchorage headed for some terrific reef.
The reef here is so vast that it’s actually a bit difficult to hunt. I like to be methodical and really cover pretty much every inch of a reef as I come across them. It’s almost impossible to do that here. You’ll be swimming along checking the reef when across a patch of sand you’ll see some thing that looks even more promising, its hard not to get sidetracked.
In less than 2 hours the five dinks were headed home with 30 lobster and several nice fish. There were neophyte spear fishermen and more experienced guys. Everyone took multiple lobsters home. We took 10 bugs anywhere from 1 pound up to a 5 and 6 pounder along with another nice Hogfish.
While we were out diving my friend Jay was walking with some friends and came across a 4 1/2 pound lobster walking through a foot of water right next to the beach. During the ensuing melee Jay pretty much knocked off most of the bugs legs and one antennae while managing to avoid injury to himself. Jay is actually the first person that I've met who has harvested a lobster with a machete.