Posted by: adventuressetravels | February 15, 2011

Bottomed Out

CRRRRUUUUNNNCCHHH!   I lurched out of bed, my afternoon siesta at to an abrupt end.  What the hell had that been!?

We had hit bottom, or rather bumped into one of the coral heads we had been looking for.  There was a reason we didn’t sail at night in these shallow waters.

The Bahamas are known for their shallow seas.  They are even named for this feature.  When Spaniards sailed their massive galleons through the Bahamian shortcut to the new world in search of gold to plunder and cultures to destroy, they frequently ran themselves aground in these shallow waters.  When one too many ship was lost, this area became known as baja mar, or low sea, and avoided like the plague.

I made my way on deck as quickly as I could, my teeth still rattling from the impact.  It had sounded awful, with that ripping, tearing, crunch I would have guessed we were going to become another causality of the curse of the Baja Mar for sure.

Before I got there I already knew; it had sounded worse than it was.  No shouting, no grabbing buckets to bail water.  The captain had dawned flippers and a snorkel to survey the damage but he was already headed for the offending reef with a Hawaiian sling (the spear-gun slingshot legal in the Bahamas) in hand to find us dinner.

Not twenty minutes later our captain flippered back to the boat.  Grasping the swim-ladder on the boat’s stern he flashed a satisfied smile and drew his spear out of the water.  Triumphantly,  he presented us with a large fish impaled on the spear-shaft.

The reef was a gold-mine of marine life, he told us.  A person could hardly raise a spear without hitting something.  This one was Pompano, a coral-feeder with flat teeth for grinding down the coral and getting to its residents.  It certainly was an impressive catch to say the least.

My bunkmate and I watched our dinner filleted, brushed with olive oil and fried .  That night was a dinner to remember.  The flaky-white meat melted in your mouth and went perfectly with my bunkmate’s curried coconut-rice accompaniment.


  1. YUM

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