|Lobster - 11, Admiral -1
After almost 6 weeks in Abaco the Captain and I bade farewell to Marsh Harbour and pointed Diamond Lil towards the south. We found a lovely anchorage near Cornish Cay and spent a couple of days snorkeling at Sandy Cay and resumed our great lobster hunt.
We were checking the anchor through our see-through bucket when we stumbled upon what is referred to as a lobster condo. It is a piece of corrugated steel that the Bahamians put in place for the lobsters to hide under. Once the lobster have moved into the condo, which we found out later takes several months it is a simple matter of returning to the condo, diving down and catching the lobster. It sounds simple but as we found out it is anything but.
I snorkeled over to the condo and noticed two sets of feelers poking out from underneath. Finally, lobster! I tried to coax them out from under the structure with the end of my spear as Joe had instructed us but no luck. I dangled a piece of rope and that didn't interest them either. I tried to dive down and lift the structure but there was no way I could budge it. As I tried everything I could think of John yelled down that he was going to take a couple of burgers out of the freezer for dinner. I lay awake in bed that night scheming about how to get those lobster.
The next day I was back in the water before I even had my 2nd cup of coffee. John attached our small dingy anchor to the end of a long line and I dove down and wedged it under the structure. He pulled the condo over and I was shocked to see about a dozen lobster there. I tried unsuccessfully to spear a coupl so I asked the Captain to pass me down a net. Down I went again with the net and scooped up our first lobster! What a thrill! If only I had been there with the net when we first flipped the condo over I'm sure I would have had a few more. They aren't the brightest creatures and there is a short opportunity to net them before they scurry off and man do they move quickly. I followed two big ones over to where they were hiding under a ledge and almost teased them out but they were onto me. I stayed in the water so long that my skin was all soft and wrinkled like a kid who stays in the pool too long and I had blisters on the back of both ankles from where my flippers rubbed. After a shower, lunch and a rest I went back in and we repeated the condo flipping routine but the lobsters had not returned.
Day 3 of our lobster hunt dawned and we had a much more difficult time flipping the condo. We spoke later to a Bahamian fisherman who told us that at the depth we were diving, around 10 ft. he dives down with an air supply which we as foreigners are not permitted to use. By using an air supply and loading himself up with weights he is able to get down far enough and stay down long enough to flip the condo himself and grab the bugs.
Next time I plan to dive without my wet suit so I don't need much weight in order to get and stay at the bottom. The buoyancy of the wet suit needs to be counteracted with extra weight and swimming weighted down for a long period of time is exhausting. I slept a sleep of pure physical exhaustion after all the effort and we have one lobster tail in our freezer waiting until we get the next one.
We spent our last night in Abaco on a mooring ball in scenic Little Harbour before setting off across the Northeast Providence Channel towards Eleuthera Island. We enjoyed perfect weather for the crossing and tried a little deep sea fishing. I lost a beautiful Wahoo just before I got him to the boat and the Captain captured some very bad words on the video camera as we caught a glimpse of the beast.
We said goodbye to the familiar waters of Abaco and set off to discover the mystery beyond the horizon.