March 2, 2011.
At the cocktail party after the Beach Junkyard Wars the other night a guy I didn’t know approached me. He said that he might have to be the first person to wear the Veranda Sureshot Lobster Targeting Helmet™. He’s been here a while and hasn’t managed to grab a bug as of yet. I told him that whenever he we were in the same anchorage that we’d be glad to take him out and help him get started.
As luck would have it, the next day they pulled in to the anchorage at Buena Vista right next to us. I’ve had a hand in the beginnings of several hunter/ gatherer careers and I do enjoy it so it was with great pleasure we headed out to do some hunting with Keith and Jaime of the Kookaburra.
I was pleasantly surprised that Keith turned out to be a good swimmer who is comfortable in the water. He can hold his breath longer than I can so I knew things were gonna work out alright.
Christy & I haven’t been to Buena Vista for a few years. We usually opt to spend most of our time at Raccoon Cay. As a result I was only familiar with one section of reef that we hunted years ago. We spent the first 40 minutes touring hundreds of feet of coral with nary a lobster being sighted.
I had explained the things that you have to look for. The “straightness” of the antennas sticks out like a sore thumb once you get used to “noticing” it. The camouflage pattern on their legs breaks up their shape but the colors are just too vibrant so that flash of color is often a bug. Small fish darting into a hole as you approach only to come barreling right back out is often a lobster swinging his antlers around inside defending his den. The tips of their antennas are subtle at first but glaringly obvious after a while.
And then it was like somebody turned on the lobster switch. I found a solid 4 pounder under a large flat rock and called Keith over. He dropped down and reconnoitered the situation, took another breath, cocked his spear, submerged, grabbed the rock to keep himself steady and oriented comfortably, reached under and MISSED! He tried a couple of more quick shots but Mr. Bug stepped back into his basement never to be seen again. Okay, it happens, we’ll move on.
After another 20 yards or so I found a hole with a few tenants. 3 bugs in a hole with 3 possible shooting lanes none of which was too easy. Keith missed a couple of times so I went down and drilled one just to prove that they weren’t wearing Kevlar.
Keith then succeeded in shooting his first lobster. By this time the third bug was long gone but Keiths confidence was buoyed.
After a few more successes the hits became more frequent than the misses and we each headed home with 6 lobsters including a Spanish lobster and a pair of Slipper lobsters.
Since it was still early we decided to sail the 5 miles down to Raccoon Cay to do some more hunting the next day. The wind was only blowing about 5 knots out of the south so we tacked back and forth for HOURS to cover the 5 miles.