Fishing Frenzy

fish onThe day we left Thompson Bay, headed back to the many-anchorages of Elizabeth Harbor, was perfect for a wind-off-our-stern quarter sail. When the depths reached over 20ft half-way back we unleashed the two Cuban yoyo fishing lines and went about the business of sailing and enjoying the ride. Every now and then someone would check the lines and I being the more obsessive one on board would check when the others hadn’t in the last 5 minutes. Just because we’d rigged our “fish-on” notification system didn’t mean it would work or we’d hear it.

So I walk out and check the port line which is still in “no-fish” mode and see just a bit of flash all the way out. A tug on the line tells me we may have something here so I call a warning as I bring the line in a bit closer. A shout of “fish-on” brings Benj running and we man our battle stations; more confident in our jobs and the sequence of events. For the next hour that sequence of events would repeat itself several times, along with a few early terminations.




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Soon after the first one, we got a solidly load notice that another was on. This one was about 3ft and dove under several times before Benj could reel him in; he was  thrilled- that would be Benj not the fish. Before we could get that one in the bucket, the starboard line zinged, the yoyo was pulled into the water… barely tied on to the cleat. It didn’t remain tied when the tension came off the line and I was inches away from grabbing it as the whole thing waved bye-bye and sank (we hope) into Dave Jones’s locker.

I think this one was our big one- 36" and a fighter

I think this one was our big one- 36″ and a fighter

The fish were biting that day and before you could say “Captain Jack Sparrow” we’d landed a third barracuda just a few inches shorter than the big one. We’re running out of room by now so when another hit ends up getting away and still another we let off the hook, I’m definitely ok with that.

Giddy from our huge success and feeling that we’d done our best to make our son’s visit Facebook worthy, we didn’t even mind that we’d only caught ‘cuda; only one of which we were certain was safe to eat. Which we did that night and it was delicious grilled.

Benj works with his assistant at the stern to turn fish into dinner

Benj works with his assistant at the stern to turn fish into dinner

Beaches, Bars, Beans and Ballads

at conceptionFirst off- Happy 2014 everyone and may this be a happy, healthy and fun-filled year for all! Welcome! to our newest followers and thanks to all our fans who are along for the ride, for your silent support and your comments- knowing our blog isn’t just space dust makes it all worthwhile 🙂

While the title might make you wonder if we have channeled Jimmy Buffett, let me assure you this is not the case; it simply captures much of our escapades during the nine days since our surf & surf fest. While the 30nm trip to Long Island may be the seafood zone for the fishermen aboard, the beaches are my zone for beachcombing; primarily sea beans. Benj searched with gusto while I became the stooped old lady at the beach with my stick and bags. Two beaches in one day may have been a bit much for the guys but afterward I treated them to a quick stop at the local grocery where they could help pick up edible food, not just beach floaties.

The next day Benj and I headed to our third and last nearby beach- unfortunately with no photo taking device. We walked by several goats; we on the side of the road; they further into the bushes. In one clearing stood mama goat with her young kid along with a few hens pecking away. At electrical pole 108 we turned onto the path that leads to the beach; it was longer than I remembered, with an ever-changing terrain (none difficult) and Benj spotted a bird’s nest; the kind with the entrance near the bottom so that you fly up into this tiny cave of twigs. At the end of the path was the beach and better yet, a tall coconut palm with a few obviously recent drops.  The beachcomber turned right, the coconut crusader turned left with the day’s catch and proceeded to spend an unknown but huge amount of time prying the outer husk off the coconut inside, then cracking the nut open. This time should be known as The Stone Age, where the only tools are the jagged rocks at the north tip of the curved beach- and your hands and feet. This nut was not going to yield easily but once it was removed from the outer husk, then opening it was mandatory. Bashing it against the rocks did way more damage to the rocks than the coconut, so Benj pitched it against the side wall of a rocky cliff and boy did that rifle crack sound get my attention. The milk and a section got lost in the process but we brought the rest (that we didn’t eat then) back with us.

First found coconut-someone worked very hard to crack this nut

First found coconut-someone worked very hard to crack this nut

We strongly considered a trip to the northern Jumentos but that got nixed when the weather made other plans. Our backup plan was to sail out to Conception for a one night stay, fishing the way out and back where we’d be crossing many contour lines near the northern tip of Long Island at Cape Santa Maria. Our staging anchorage for the trip from Thompson Bay to Conception is Hog Cay; beautiful beach with clear water, lousy name. Last year tons of sunrise tellins littered the beach; not so much this year. The guys hunted unsuccessfully for those elusive lobsters but returned with two lionfish fillets; a present from Pat (the unofficial mayor of Joe’s Sound) who lives on his houseboat and is a skilled fisherman. I pan sautéed them in butter with a light dredge in flour as recommended by Pat. They were lovely and delicious as fish sandwiches; mild, white and a hint of sweet.

We became well acquainted with the old tune, “Da fish ain’t bitin’ today”; on the way to Conception we sailed an extra 9 nm just to fish and not a nibble we did get. Even on the way back- nadda – which was just as well; the swells were, ahem, generous and we were all happy to get into the lee of Long Island. On the return trip from Conception we stopped overnight at Hog Cay and the first order of business was to fix a problem with the port side toilet- ah that would be the guest toilet. More on that fun event later 🙂

The guys amused themselves on the beach while I beach combed at Conception

The guys amused themselves on the beach while I beach combed at Conception

Columbus monument (on right) on the north tip of Long Island

Columbus monument (on right) on the north tip of Long Island

Headed back to Thompson Bay the next day, roughly 22 nms of motoring into the wind and waves and making water. Although the average depth for the entire trip was 11ft we put those lines in any way.  Snagged two herring (maybe a Sand Diver)?

I think he's way too small for our big bucket

I think he’s way too small for our big bucket

One, Benj filleted and ate for lunch the next day and the other he cut up for bait. I did laundry at Long Island Breeze; more my area of expertise than filleting fish.

We reserved a rental car with Stanley Pinder for Saturday. He would drive the car down to LIB and pick us up. Friday night I was more than ready for someone else to prepare dinner and wash those dishes so we went in to the Breeze for a delicious meal of sautéed snapper (local), mashed potatoes and grilled veggies. Dessert too. With sunset still way too early, we were in by 6pm and the only ones in yet. Our younger family member suggested we eat at the bar; so we did. Michael was a fountain of Long Island knowledge and gave us all sorts of tips and places to stop at on our island tour the next day.