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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Living off the land

Many cruisers take pride in being able to feed themselves from the bounty of the sea. Some take to the sea with a spear gun after fish, others look for shellfish and the most serious hunt lobster in among the rocks.

We here on NAKIA have taken this activity to the next level. Fish, clams and lobster being available and relatively inexpensive in local stores we've decided to hunt for things that are either unavailable or very expensive.

Yesterday we had success! Searching along the shallow water near the beach I spotted a familiar green shape among the rocks. Usually these tubular shaped shells are already evacuated, but this time the contents seemed undisturbed. I gathered my breath for the dive and swam into the depths, holding on the jagged rocks with my gloved left hand to steady myself in the serge I reached in to pull out a full bottle of heiniken! Imagine my joy at finding the cap still in place on this most valuable find (they are over $8 each in local stores).

The next challenge was to return to NAKIA with the catch. These things are quite slippery and sink like a rock so one false move on the part of the diver and the elusive prey will head back to the bottom. This is precisely what happened a few feet from NAKIA. When removing my gloves I lost track of the bottle for a second and it slipped out of my grasp!

NAKIA has become the home base to many fish, including one a very large snapper who checks out anything that happens to fall in the water for edibility. Imagine my horror as I watched the snapper stalk my prize and try to swallow it. Like I said, it's a BIG snapper. Thankfully he did not find the bottle to his taste and spit it back out.

Calling for my dive weights from the crew, I dove again to retrieve the bottle. This time I had to make it 25 feet to the bottom, rather then the 6 ft of water over the rock where it was originally found, but made the trip without incident and placed the catch securely in the refrigerator.

We await this evenings happy hour to test the spoils of our efforts.

P.S. for those of you wondering why I don't just bait a hook and throw it our for the snapper. The Marquesas are home ciguatera, a poison that builds up in large coral dwelling fish and can be deadly. Not knowing what is safe to eat and where its safe to fish we are not eating anything from the sea unless we find it encased in glass.

John and Linda