Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 1, 2014.

There’s been weather, fishing and socializing. We've met a few interesting couples lately. There were Sam and Heather. He's Lebanese, she's a Brit on the sailing catamaran Cloud Nine. They've been cruising for 24 years and maintain a home in Ghana. Then there were Shane and Maryvonne, a pair of Aussies passing through on their way to Cuba on their 50 foot Beneteau, the s/v Gem. We also met Gathern and Gina a couple from Louisiana down here for their first time on their Prout 39, Lost Marbles. Who knew the Ragged Islands could be such an international crossroads. Our wallows were a whole lot like a meeting of the general assembly of the United Nations. Except for the facts that there was drinking, we all got along and nobody yelled or threw a shoe at anyone. Of course, we have no shoes but you know what I mean.

3 boats comfortably riding in Johnson Cay
We had a weird cold front come through. Instead of the traditional east to south to west and and then north in a day or so this blow was a bit different. It went southeast and spent 3 days getting to southwest. So we had a lot of southerly breeze. We spent a night at Double Breasted and then 3 nights at Johnson Cay in the company of Fine Lion and Lost Marbles. Both anchorages offer great southerly protection and our extended stay afforded us an opportunity to hunt some seldom hunted areas in relative calm.
The bottom bug is a 1 1/2 pounder like you'd get in a restaurant.  The other fella is 6 pounds of excess....
Steve and I combined for a dozen lobster, 4 Hogfish and Steve nailed a spectacular Ocean Trigger. And then I was lost at sea....

But I didn't know it. At the end of the day we were headed home I wanted to drop into the water to scout a section called Raphaels Rock.
I'd never been there before so I just wanted to reconnoiter a bit. Christy dropped me 50 yards from the exposed rock. As I swam towards it I realized that the bottom was scoured flat and there was no real structure for fish or bugs to hide in. Way off to my left I thought I could make out some promising looking cracks. So I hung a left. The incoming tide was with me so I was really making some good time and covering a lot of ground.

I'd take a breath, submerge and could cover 50 feet or more before surfacing and going right back down to repeat the process. What I didn't realize was that I had swum off directly into the sun. When they realized that I hadn't shown up near the rock they all started to look around. There may have been a little panic. Because of the sun dancing on the waters surface nobody could see me each time I surfaced while moving further away. Finally Christy surmised that since they couldn't see me anywhere else I must be obscured by the sparkling sunlight. She came blasting in my direction just as I had seen enough to write off Raphael's Rock as a fishing option.

It wasn't until I climbed up into the dink I realized what had happened. She was pissed/ relieved, Kim was upset and Steve was relieved to see me. I had covered about 200 yards pretty quickly and to them had “just disappeared”. It was no big deal but I did feel bad about scaring them.

The wind finally wound through to the northwest so we moved the mile and a bit to Man O' War Bay. Now with the wind from the northwest we had another golden opportunity to hunt a not often hit spot. Man O' War Bay is one of my favorite spots to hunt and the rewards are so great we've done it in some pretty shitty conditions. Once, years ago, was the only opportunity we've ever had to hunt the area just outside the cut.

With the westerly wind the cut was dead flat. The water is between 5 and 20 feet deep and has just the topography I crave when it comes to bug hunting. Since we hadn't been out there in years we decided to give the cut a look see.

I dropped into the water right on top of a Hogfish
Unlucky Hogfish
so he was spirited away to the Big Red Bucket O' Doom. After that it was a lobster O'Rama. We missed a few and when we got out of the water I had another pair just sitting there in plain sight. Some other time.... We took so many so quickly we had to give a half dozen away when we got back to the anchorage.
Peeking under the ledges

During the night to wind finally came through to the north northeast so in the morning we pulled the hooks and had a glorious downwind sail into the anchorage at Hog Cay. The mailboat comes on Sunday, we have another front to weather in about a week and then the Veranda will start her slow migration northwards.


Deb said...

When are you guys heading back to the States?

S/V Kintala

S/V Veranda said...

We'll be heading north on Monday, weather Gods permitting

Deb said...

Don't know your route, but we'll be hanging around the Abacos, Berry's and then working our way across from Bimini early May so if you're anywhere near hoot your horn!

S/V Kintala