On the mothership I cleaned the snapper, we had a snack, and we picked up anchor and headed to Yansaladup. We were motor-sailing with light winds from an unfavorable angle. The port engine was being a PITA again, so I was a little edgy when we needed to maneuver into the tight anchorage -but we made it, dropped the pick and it set first time.
A Giant in the Desert
Where we dropped the anchor was a barren desert – just sand. But I wanted to see the anchor, so I dove it and found it well-planted. From there I was just diving and playing around on my way back to the boat, when I found myself in a school of baitfish. I followed the school to a sunken log, almost invisible from the surface. I told Luke about it, then dove down – hoping to see a lobster underneath.
I had my head all the way under the log when I spotted a huge set of canines not more than a few inches in front of the mask. I was as surprised as the fish was apparently – it was a big Dog Snapper, but I didn’t have time to really judge his size.
I surfaced, we got the GoPro ready and I loaded my speargun. This would make for cool video. When everything was ready, Luke and I dove. But when I leveled off where I could see the fish (under the log) he was pointed out the other way, and with a flick of his tail was gone. I never had a chance. And he was way larger than I realized at first. Another nice fish escaped.
Mom’s Last Dive
Mom wanted to have one more dive before she left, and I was happy to oblige. I had plenty of fish, so I took Luke’s polespear and designated myself the crab/lobster/lionfish hunter. Luke took his speargun, rather than the camera. Mom took nothing.
We dove a wall, and at first everything seemed quiet, but as the sun started sinking – everything came out to hunt. Including lionfish. I went on a full-scale lionfish slaughter, all the while checking holes for crab and lobster. I hit no fewer than 15 lionfish. They’re definitely taking over the reefs here. At one point I had four tangled up on the three-prong polespear, but I lost two of those four when I shot a fifth. Luke popped a nice Ocean Trigger, but it escaped with only a scar and a story.
I managed to actually get two of the larger lionfish back to the dinghy. Mom found a conch, and we headed back to S/V NOMAD. I cleaned the lionfish for a friend of ours in the anchorage who loves them (we were full of fish), then started on the conch. My first shot at cleaning a conch wasn’t perfect, but I got it done.
We ate well, played Texas Hold’Em, and retired a little before midnight. Mom was up early, we shared a last coffee together, and she boarded a launcha bound for Panama City. The the days of Watermaker Hell began.