Sunday, September 06, 2009

Seafood feast at Albuquerque Cays

Yesterday a tropical wave passed through and blasted us with torrential rain most of the day. A tropical wave is disorganized makings of a tropical storm or hurricane. Basicly, lots of squalls and moisture and lots of lightning with rain pouring out of the sky at a spectacular rate. About mid day we had a brief respite and I dumped out a bucket that was sitting in the cockpit. A few hours later is was overflowing... that's some torrential rain. Lighting was blasting off with zero delay between flash and bang with a little sizzle thrown in to really make you think you might be next.

I spent the rainy day mostly working on installing a new navigation program on the computer, that is between times that I thought we might get a strike and had put the computer in to the safe where it might be protected from the destructive inductive flow of energy.

A few weeks ago another catamaran was struck by lightning at this very location so I was comforted by the old adage that 'lightning doesn't strike twice'(in the same location...we hope).

Today most of the squalls have passed so we planned a early snorkel trip. We went out to the reef about 1/2 mile in front of the boat and managed to find a miniature pass between coral heads so with my adventurous spirit we blasted out through the breakers. Outside the reef we enjoyed really awesome underwater visibility, but were unable to locate any lobsters, our stated mission for the day.

It would have been REALLY risky to enter back over the reef without expecting to ding the outboard engine propeller so we took the safe route and went about 1.5 miles to the south to the end of the reef. Much to our surprise we passed four small fishing boats outside the reef in this short distance.

Back inside the reef we combed every patch of coral and I shot a few fish. Then we hit the jack pot of very rare 'Slipper Lobster'. A slipper lobster is more prehistoric looking than a typically Caribbean lobster and has no 'feeler antennae' only two small plates that extend forward. The beasts are hard to spot tucked up in holes in the reef, but very easy to catch once you find them. Nothing spiny to poke you so you can grab them with a bare hand if necessary. A real bonanza of five were found and also five conch and a huge crab. We let the crab go after a quick picture.

Later I took five Colombian navy guys for a fishing expedition in the dinghy. It was great fun even though they spoke zero English. We saw lots of nurse sharks and rays and this gave the guys a real thrill. Several scrambled back into the dinghy in a bit of panic. A couple of the brave ones wanted to spear a 3' wide sting ray, but I said it was probably not a good idea. We caught a dozen fish, a lobster, several conch and as a bit of a show off I grabbed the tail of a sleeping nurse shark. Good times all around.

Tomorrow we are invited to dine with the military ashore. Should be fun.

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