Rum Cay, part 2: Sea Turtles and Superbowls

The weather reflected our general state of being the following morning, and so we spent most of the morning gulping water and listening, once again, to Harry Potter, until one of the French Canadians, Francois, came by and asked if any of us wanted to go spear fishing. No one was particularly keen, but it was an opportunity to go with someone nicknamed “slayer” by the locals, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Now, we had been hearing for the previous few days that the reefs just outside the harbor entrance were positively “swarming” with sharks. This seemed logical, as we were treated to a veritable parade of the creatures up to the docks every evening. These were not only nurse sharks either, but lemon sharks as well, slightly more yellow, and way more toothy. Anyway, this information had led us to cross the island to avoid them the first day, and dinghy halfway across the bay the second. Both times, as I have already stated, we were wholly unsuccessful. Francois, however, motored us perhaps 100 yards from the entrance to the channel and, completely nonplussed, slid into the water. I followed somewhat warily, but secure in Francois’ confidence, and I needn’t have worried.

I had one of the most fun days that afternoon. The first reef we visited was positively buzzing with activity. There were giant flowers of coral, with all kinds of fish darting around, and even though I couldn’t see anything to target, just watching the reef life was more than worth the trip out. We moved around a good bit that afternoon, eventually finding a couple of groupers, hanging out by a coral head that we successfully managed to spear. This was a bit of an accomplishment for me, as I’d never speared a “real” fish before. Lobsters are almost entirely sedentary if you do it right, and lion fish only slightly less so, but there was a definite hint of pride in knowing that I’d managed to bag a fish that wasn’t simply sitting there with its back to me. Working for it made it feel more legitimate, somehow. We left soon thereafter, as the sky was becoming more forbidding, but I felt incredibly fortunate to have gone out with Francois that day. Without a question, the coolest moment of that day, and probably my entire time at Rum Cay, was when we were searching for lobster at the first reef. I dove down to perhaps 20 feet, peering under ledges for fish and lobster, when I saw the merest corner of a domed shell emerge. Curious, I peered a little lower, and stared for a moment into the face of the surprised sea turtle that was resting there. We examined each other for a moment, and then it darted pats me and out of sight faster than I could have imagined. Having only seen a couple sea turtles from the surface, as we were sailing to Florida, getting to see one so close to me was truly phenomenal.

We came back with our grouper and another lobster that Francois had speared, and set about making dinner plans for the Super Bowl. The fish was fried and used in appetizers, as could have been expected, but with the help of some of our canned ingredients we all managed to pull together a magnificent spread. The main course was pizza, featuring(individually) salami, mahi-mahi, and lobster pizza, which was positively decadent. Of course, when preparing such a scrumptious feast, the dessert must live up to its precursors, which it most certainly did, as the owner of a visiting mega yacht turned up with pineapple upside-down cake midway through the 4th quarter. It was beautiful.

The game itself was incredibly entertaining, all the more so because I didn’t really care who won. Having almost had a heart-attack last year, praying for the Patriots to lose, it did my heart good to relax and enjoy the spirit of the game without building up any negative karmic justice by wishing for Tom Brady to shatter his femur. We left early the following morning for Mayaguana, another hundred mile slog into the southeast wind.

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