When we jumped in, it was shallow (30ft) with huge coral heads reaching up from the bottom within inches of the surface. Lots of life, mostly small snapper and lobster. We soon realized what Roberto was looking for (lobster), and for that – this spot was epic.
Damo managed a nice Spanish Mackerel within the first 15 minutes. I went sightseeing and dove with my buddy Roberto for the majority of the time. Occasionally I’d point out a lobster for him, occasionally I’d test my skills and try to get close to the spooky snapper. But I never really did engage into full hunting mode.
Roberto, though, was deep into lobster-catching mode. He managed an 8 pounder, and then many smaller ones. He also shot a really small snapper and grunt.
When Damo and I saw the small snapper and grunt in the boat – we realized we should open up a bit and shoot him some real fish. But by that time we’d been at this spot for a couple of hours – so I rounded up the troops and we headed off in search of another dive spot.
The next spot was right next to the large, grounded freighter. I kicked around a shallow ledge for a bit. Damo shot an Ocean Triggerfish, which I put a quick backup shot into. Then I shot another. At this point I was done shooting, as Roberto would already have enough to feed the island.
As I got back to the dinghy, Damo swam up with a monster Dog Snapper and told us about a great spot he found. Of course we had so much fish, we couldn’t shoot anything else – so we headed back to S/V NOMAD – where we took pictures. Then I dropped off Roberto with enough lobster and fish to feed a small Kuna Army.
Everyone on the island showed up to see the day’s catch, and Roberto became quite a popular guy as he hauled out the lobster and fish. Everyone was eating well that night. Prado continued to work on me – he opened a coconut for me and followed me around.
Back onboard, it was hardly noon. But we made a little tapas-style lunch and broke out the wine under the tent on my trampolines. Without a cloud in the sky and even a tiny breeze – it was warm enough that we didn’t move much. We read, talked slowly, munched, and then napped. We spent a full five hours under the tent on the front deck, doing nothing but enjoying the view. It felt great.
Damo took up the job of modeling for our cheap wine. It was shortly after this that we decided it wasn’t really wine. This stuff is grape juice, with wine flavoring, and a bit of alcohol. It deserves a class of it’s own, not because it’s good. But because it’s just not wine, or grape juice. Grine? Gralcohol?
More Spearfishing and Freediving
The next morning we did pancakes and coffee, then headed out to the spot Damo whacked the big Dog Snapper the day before. We all saw that it could be productive, and Damo spent the time chasing a big Dog Snapper and Black Grouper through the maze of holes.
The spot was shallow enough that it didn’t require any real diving skill. The skill was in holding your breath long enough to put your whole body into the caves and tunnels in the reef. Then let your eyes adjust. Then hunt around. And then manage to get back out. Here’s how we spent the whole morning.
There were several caves that were completely filled with minnows. Thousands. Maybe tens of thousands. I tried to get to the back of the cave they were occupying, but they would surround me and block out the light – which made it difficult to find my way back out. See below.
We eventually gave up, and headed back to the mothership. It began to rain so we scrubbed decks, then ourselves. Then Damo made the first fried-fish meal of the trip and we had beer and fried fish until we were stuffed.
Originally we were headed to Coco Banderos that afternoon, but with poor light we decided to kill another day here. In better light we’ll pick our way around the reefs and head to Coco. I’d like to spend a few days there really exploring underwater. There’s also often backpackers heading through there – which can lead to a bit of festivities if we all end up at the bar. Damo and Chels are ready for a bit of human interaction and time off the boat – so, fingers crossed.