December 3 – 4, 2012
So we could do some fishing along the way, our trip to Nassau was taken in steps.
After school was completed for the day, we picked up anchor and bid farewell to Spanish Wells. We sailed about 7 miles south to a remote spot along the northwestern coast of Eleuthera near Lobster Cay. We anchored with our stern close to a small, lone coral reef, and immediately jumped in for a quick snorkel before sunset. To our surprise, there were many lionfish living on the reef. Lionfish are a highly venomous, non-native predator that are damaging the already fragile reef system. They are a beautiful, but dangerous fish.
The next morning before school, and before our departure to Rose Island, we went for another quick snorkel, so we could video the lionfish. The filming was done in a safe manner by attaching the GoPro camera to the end of a boat hook, so no one risked getting stung by these potentially aggressive fish.
Then once again, we were on our way to our next destination of choice, Rose Island, about 6 miles east of Nassau. All of our usual fishing lines were placed off the stern in hopes of catching some fresh fish for dinner.
As we were sailing out from the sand bank of northern Eleuthera, and into Northeast Providence Channel, we crossed over one coral reef. Suddenly, we had 3 fish on our lines. One was a beautiful, and very edible, mutton snapper. The second fish was a fairly large barracuda which we immediately released. And, the third fish got away by the time we got to it. It was an all-hands-on-deck affair. Wil and Colin pulled in the fishing lines, Justine had the fish book and was responsible for fish identification, and I prepared the filet station. Autopilot Max drove the boat.
It wasn’t too long after filleting the snapper that we had another fish on the line. Colin pulled in a very large king mackerel. The mackerel had enough fight in him that Colin had to brace himself to keep from being pulled out of the cockpit. There was enough meat on the mackerel to feed us for a straight week! I divided the filets into portions for freezing.
For the remainder of the trip, we only caught two more barracuda which we threw back. Barracuda are edible, and many people eat them. However, they smell fishy to us. Fishy smells tell us that the fish have a strong, fishy taste, and that’s something we don’t like.
As we made our entrance to Rose Island, we pulled in the fishing lines and focused our attention on the surrounding coral heads and rocks. Soon we were anchored and ready to explore the waters of Rose Island after a good night’s sleep.