Yesterday was our 6th Anniversary, so we headed out of Marsh Harbour to enjoy some remote anchorages and had a nice sail to Tilloo Cay where we decided to spend the night. It was a gorgeous sail, we started only doing 2 knots in light breezes, but as the day progressed the wind picked up and we moved along at about 6 knots. I told Sabrina we should spend every anniversary sailing in the islands. Who knows?
Unfortunately we didn’t enjoy our night as much as we did our sail. It was a strange night, we picked the Tilloo Cay anchorage for the predicted south-east winds, which of course turned into west winds and then north winds this morning. But that is par for the course, the weird part was that I woke up to the boat stern-to the wind as the current held us off the anchor at a 45 degree angle. To better explain, the anchor was off our aft-quarter at 45 degrees behind us, while a decent breeze kicked up waves into our transom! It was weird. Especially since the current seemed to be coming from the Tilloo Cay which was 500’ away. I would assume that an island would tend to block current?
After my sleepless night, it was time to have some fun and do some snorkeling, it didn’t matter that it was raining, we were going to get wet anyway. So we headed over to Buckaroon Bay (doesn’t that sound like a theme park in the Mid-West?) where some friends of friends said they have had some luck finding lobster. While snorkeling along in less than 5’ of water, we didn’t find any lobster, but happened upon two conch! And they were legal size and everything! It was a surprise to us too! They were just hanging out in the middle of this little bay with several other ones that weren’t quite big enough to harvest. The conch is such a worthy adversary that we carefully placed them near a rock and kept swimming around looking for lobsters. When we came back, they were still there and we took them back to the dinghy.
Once we left our conch deposit, we headed towards some rocks, where I got excited because I thought I saw antennae! Unfortunately, upon further inspection they weren’t antennae, but the dangerous spines of lionfish. Luckily, Sabrina and I have hunted lionfish before off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, and without a thought I shot the biggest one with my pole spear. Two others were hiding under the rocks and we weren’t able to get those out, hopefully we killed them though. (For those of you that don’t know about the lionfish, it is an invasive species here in the Caribbean, it’s a danger to the ecosystem, and has no natural predators. Many dive companies and nature conservancies sponsor “Lionfish Derbies” or “Reef Clean-Up Days” to try to control the population, in fact there’s one here in the Abacos that I was thinking about trying to attend.)
From there, we crossed back across the small bay and circled around another big rock and found the biggest lionfish I’ve ever seen hanging out in the shallow water. He too was soon headed back to the dinghy on the tip of my spear, and we picked up the conch on our way.
When we got back to JV, things got interesting, while conch and lionfish are delicious, they aren’t exactly ready-to-eat meals. We had planned ahead and downloaded all the info for cleaning them safely and brushed up on that info before we began. See the photos below to see how we did it. We already cooked up the lionfish, it’s a small fillet, about the size of a perch or bluegill, and it tastes like a yellow perch, sweet, delicate, and mild. Too bad it’s such a pain (quite literally if you get stung) to clean them, or it could make a great fish fry. Regarding the conch, what sounded very difficult was actually pretty easy to figure out once I followed the steps as Sabrina read them off. Those are saved for dinner tonight, we’re going to try our own version of cracked conch on the boat this evening.
Now we’re anchored at the very south end of the Sea of Abaco off of Lynyard Cay. Tomorrow we’re going to continue our quest for lobster, I’ve still refrained from purchasing lobster at a restaurant or grocery and I REALLY want it. Hopefully the crawfish will cooperate in the same way that our conch did today!