Fishing and I don’t agree. I use to do it when I was a kid in Kansas and have tried a couple times here in southwest Florida. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. I find it boring and pointless. I rather sit in the boat with a cold drink and concentrate on relaxing. But in the Bahamas it’s a little different and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The fishing we did wasn’t with a pole and you might not even call it fishing.
Captain Pat of Four C’s Adventures took us on a great water tour from Great Exuma to Staniel Cay. The beautiful Exuma Islands of Bahamas were our playground. Pat took us to a shallow area called Starfish City where we jumped in the water and investigated the large orange creatures for which the area got its name. We were getting hungry and starfish wasn’t on the menu, so on to our next location up the island chain where we were going to catch our meal by hand.
Pat pulled his boat up to the Leeward side of Nicolas Cage’s island and started to hand out snorkeling gear. “Ready to catch your lunch?”, he asked. He told us to jump in, go to the bottom and bring up as many conch shells as we could. When the captain speaks, you listen…so we jumped in and started diving to the bottom. The conch shell were a little hard to spot amongst the rocks because they were covered in moss and other underwater mystery gunk.
At one point I noticed a large intimidating Barracuda swimming parallel to me about 5 or 6 yards away. He was the biggest cuda I’ve seen so I kept a close eye on him as I quickly swam back to the boat. I believe I have a good photo of this guy, but I still need to get the photos developed. I’ll post it as soon as I do.
So we had a boat full of conch and Captain Pat also speared a couple large Rock Lobster that we were going to add to the menu as well.
We head to an absolutely beautiful ribbon like sandbar where Pat and first mate Andrew began cleaning the conch. They would hammer out a particular spot on the shell and then push the snail like creature out with a blade. As they were doing this they would pull the conch’s sex organ out and told us that if we ate it raw it would act as an aphrodisiac. Now I had heard this tale before and even did a little reading on it before the trip. It is said to be a myth and just something fun for the naive tourists like us to do. Did I do it? Of course I did! When in Rome right?
A nasty little rain storm chased us off the sandbar, so we completed our Conch Salad at Little Farmers Bar & Grill. The raw meaty portions of the conch were mixed with tomatoes, onion, peppers, lemon juice and other produce. I ordered a Goombay Smash and dug in. Not an hour before we had no lunch, and now we were enjoying a great authentic Bahamian meal that came straight from the ocean.
My reason for writing this story was because jumping in the ocean for your food isn’t uncommon in the Bahamas. The sea provides them with almost everything they need. Conch can be made into a plethora (big word for this pirate!) of different meals and is found just about everywhere on the sea floor. It doesn’t fight back either like that Barracuda probably would have. Locals can easily spear delicious lobster, catch huge snapper and grouper and serve it up for dinner that night. Simple and cheap.
If I want to eat something I have to go to the grocery store and buy it along with all the ingredients. In the Bahamas you can simply jump in the water and get your dinner. It’s a totally different way of life in the “Out Islands” of the Bahamas. One that caught my attention and appealed to me. No, I’m not going to sit around with a fishing pole to catch dinner but I wouldn’t have a problem diving into some blue water, grabbing a conch (they won’t sprint away from you), spearing a lobster and cooking it up. It’s free, adventurous and something this microwave reliant castaway could get use to.