|This Mutton Snapper made for excellent table fare.|
(Our camera is on the fritz at the moment so today’s blog post comes from the archives of my mind, reminiscing about a wonderful family outdoor adventure from not so long ago…………….)
It was late March of 2008 and my son-in-law, Jeff Bartz and I were treading water while catching our breath between dives. An Associate Pastor at
Grace Baptist Church
Jeff and I had earlier been discussing the numerous barracudas we’d been seeing
while spearfishing and we agreed that it was probably not a good idea to target
one of the toothy critters – there’s no telling how they might react. Batavia
We were on a week-long family vacation on the Bahamian Island of Abaco and Jeff and I intended to spend as much time as possible hunting for our dinner. By Bahamian law, spearfishing may only be done with a Hawaiian sling and wearing mask, fins & snorkel – no mechanized devices and no scuba gear. Spearfishing with a Hawaiian Sling is tricky business. Attempting to spear a barracuda with a sling can be a risky proposition.
With disposable camera in tow, Sammy Bartz displays a sea biscuit.
Everyone in the family donned mask, fins & snorkel for this adventure.
Our routine was to rent a boat and motor through the Sea of Abaco and then beyond the barrier island of Man ‘O War Cay. A half to three quarters of a mile out, the sea floor is a vast maze of coral reefs, each of them an adventure in itself. This was the home of colorful fish, sting rays, sea turtles, sharks and much more. But each day we hunted for dinner and our intended quarry was grouper, snapper and lobsters. Here, within the confines of the deepest and largest reefs, those farthest away from shore, the sea is the color of several shades of turquoise. Beyond the outer reefs the water becomes cobalt blue and drops off into abysmal depths.
Anyway, back to Jeff and the barracuda. I had just surfaced after a dive and was catching my breath when I saw this big, toothy critter just below the surface facing the open water to my left. He didn’t appear to be watching me, but with a barracuda’s eye placement being what it is, one never can tell. One moment it was perfectly still, only its pectoral and ventral fins moving ever so slightly, then, in the next instant a silver flash passed by my head – it was the 5 ft. long shaft of Jeff’s sling and I watched as it hit its intended mark.
|Pastor Jeff, displaying his Hawaiian Sling prowess!|
Was I surprised? Yes sir! Was the adrenaline flowing? You could say that! The Barracuda immediately went ballistic, heading to the surface, then downward, bouncing off coral heads. This went on for perhaps a full minute and all the while I tried to keep the wounded fish in sight. It finally expired on the bottom in 40 ft. of water, the spear still intact. Filleted and grilled with lemon pepper and almonds, it was delicious and enjoyed by the entire family.
|The Bartz family in front of the cemetery at Man 'O War Cay.|
Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia