(Highbourne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas)
Back out on the deep blue seas today. Real deep. Heading out the inlet we went from 20ft to 5000ft in a matter of minutes. Today we crossed the Exuma Sound from Eleuthra to the Exumas island chain.
Deep water means one thing on Oceanna – fishing. To add to the four rods we regularly have trolling off the back, today Greg added two hand lines with the Live Little Tuny fishing lures. Six chances in all.
For the first three-quarters of the crossing there were zero signs of fish. Then Greg spotted a shadow in the water. Before we knew it we could make out multiple dark shadows tracking the six lures. It was pretty cool to watch as a school of tuna (this is a guess) tracked the boat. Evidently tuna are smarter than the lines we had out and they turned away without ever taking a bite.
We were enjoying a calm breeze and a following sea making for a pleasant 6 knot sail. When land was in sight ahead of us, the fisherman aboard started to get moody. Words were spoken to God-knows-who, not the nicest words, and as he finished up the rod behind him started to scream. We both turned to look and where the dark shadows had been before, there were now these brilliant blue shiny shadows tracking the lines. Mahi Mahi! With one line hooked another started to scream and the chaos of fishing off a full-sail sailboat set in. “Slow the boat down!” is always my main instruction. I turned Oceanna into the wind and Greg began his battle. After working away at it he had the Mahi Mahi within a boat length of the back steps. I didn’t need to look back when I heard a “Noooooo!” to know what happened. Somehow the fish had won the battle and had got off the hook.
We were now back to zero fish and the fisherman was pissed. I turned Oceanna back into the wind and we got back on track. Then we both spotted the tell-tale neon shine of a Mahi Mahi off the boat yet again. “Look it’s going for the handline” we said. “Wait a minute… it’s hooked!” All that fuss and we had a 4 foot fish hooked and we didn’t even know it. Greg easily pulled him in and we ended this guy’s life “the nice way”. A little Captain Morgan’s Spiced rum to the gills and he was out. No mess and no fuss.
Once we got anchored at Highbourne Cay Greg got right down to filleting his catch. Just as quickly as he started the birds began to show up. At first it was just one. Then three. Then there were seven. Then, well, I was scared to count. They were there for a free meal and Greg was happy to oblige. At first it was just scraps to watch them battle between themselves. Then is was large pieces of skin to watch them struggle to carry it off while four others tried to steal what they also couldn’t carry. Then is was the whole bloody thing to see them scatter. Yes, when you’re cruising the entertainment can be that simple and that crass.