The sun was shining on the azure blue water, glinting off of the bright golden fish and making him appear to be a beautiful turquoise colour. Fighting against the thin, nylon tether pulling him towards the boat, the mahi mahi swam strongly parallel to the boat. Then,… but this is the end of my story. Let me go back a few days.
We departed from Double Breasted Cay and sailed to Hog Cay, a journey of only a few miles as the crow flies but requiring a long detour around Margaret Shoal. Once securely anchored, we prepared for a dinghy excursion. Off to the big city! Or rather, the small village of Duncan Town. A long dredged channel gives access to vessels with less than 4 feet of draft and we zoomed through it on plane. The dinghies were secured at the government dock and we climbed the steep hill into town. Where was everyone? It appeared deserted. The grocery store “Maxine’s” was locked as was the Government office and the Fisherman’s Inn. Barking dogs greeted us, but no people. Finally, someone came and offered to find Miss Maxine, who then opened her store. We bought eggs, butter and a container of ice cream. Rum and raisin! Yumm. Back down the steep hill and out the channel with time for a beach walk. By the time we returned to the boat, my knee was very sore. In the morning, I could hardly walk.
A front was coming and we headed further south to take shelter from the strong northerlies expected. Now we were just 65 miles from Cuba, anchored in Southside Bay, Ragged Island. The wind stayed in the south for too long and the anchorage was quite uncomfortable for 20 hours. We made the best of things and used the power generated by the wind to watch movies or played games and ate popcorn. On the 1st of March, we hauled anchor and sailed/motored northward back to Hog Cay. The days of rest and staying off of my feet had done the job and I was able to go for a long walk across the island to a beach where we found lots of plastic debris and some sea beans buried amongst it.
Beach parties were held back to back, on Sat and Sun nights, with food, singing and dancing each night. By Sunday, there were 15 or more boats there to celebrate with Dave, from Dyad, on his birthday. Most afternoons found us in the water, chasing the elusive lobsters or crawfish.
It was time to move on. So, Monday found us sailing again, northward to Buenavista Cay. More beach walks and diving. Murray was in the water, while I waited out this brief stop at a small head. He dove two or three times and then swam towards the dinghy. A muffled “help me” wafted out of his snorkel, as he passed me his spear. I grasped it with two hands and pulled. A huge, thrashing fish was on the end. And, I dropped it! Mur dove again and passed me the spear. Tis time I was ready for the thrashing and landed the margate on the dinghy floor. He was the biggest thing Murray had ever shot approx 18-20in long. The next day, we explored more of these shallow heads close by. Between Murray and Doug, they bagged three lobster, one of which was very big. A boat with guys from Duncan Town anchored near, cleaning their catch. Murray traded some beer, a small bottle of rum and some magazines for a bunch o lobster! That is the way to fish.
Which brings me to today and the rest of the story. We sailed north again, going outside this time into deep water. Two fishing lines behind each of three vessels. Murray got the first hit and worked very hard against the bull mahi mahi. But, as he reached down to grab the line and “slam dunk” him into the cockpit, the steel leader broke, releasing the fish. And the lure. Darn! But, wasn’t he beautiful to see? Next, High Stepper gets two on at once and manages to land one. Three miles out from the cut, we got another hit that peeled line out from our reel. By the time we released the jib to slow the vessel down, the line was slack. He was gone.
No fish for us. Luckily, High Stepper was nice enough to share and mahi mahi is on the menu tonight. We had sailed 36 miles in 5 1/2 hours anchor up to anchor down. A wonderful day and an average speed of over 6.5 knots.
Tomorrow we will head north again, towards Long Island. It is time to get supplies as the frig is almost empty of everything but water bottles. The freezer, on the other hand, is almost full of fish and lobster. We WILL be back in the Jumentos another year and will plan for a longer stay. Seventeen days is just not near long enough.
Hugs, Heather & Murray