The Great Lobster Hunt or is it?
14 August 2009
We have been at Beveridge Reef for five days now, each day talking of the great opportunity for cray (lobster) fishing here but have not mustered up the energy to put the wet suits on and get in the chilling tropical waters. So on August 13, 2009 the crews of Content, Nick and Marls, and Kena, Roger, Tane, and Tomas decide today is the day we will dive for the lobsters and have a grand feed! At 4 p.m. we motor out to the outer reef where we had seen lobster a few days earlier, we set the anchor and begin to wait for the sun to set. The wind was a steady 25 knots blowing onto the reef where we were, and the full fetch of wind across the lagoon was generating significant waves. The plan was to wait until dark (after all, that's when the giant crays are supposed to be out walking all over the reef), then take the crew by dinghy towards the reef. At about 6:30 p.m. Tane and I get the bright idea that now is a good time to go spear fishing. We put our gear on, and Tane is first in the water. Just as I am climbing down the ladder he is racing up it, I quickly get out of the way as he is pulling up the line connected to his spear, at the end of it is a 10 lbs Black Trevally, oh yeah and a shark who has now become interested in the waters that surround our boat. Several minutes pass and there is no sign of the shark so we get back into the water to look for more fish. Not more then 2 minutes pass before our friend Sharky comes back, Sharky is a Grey Reef Shark about 1.5 meters (5 feet) long. At first Sharky is keeping a distance, but then, he begins creeping closer and closer. Tane begins up the ladder and I am left in the water with Sharky getting closer at an increasing rate, my spear gun is loaded. Closer...closer...by now he is only 4 feet away and we are looking eye to eye, there is nothing left to do but ...SHOOT, so I aim right between the eyes and nail him! The spear hits Sharky and bounces right off his tough skin, he temporarily swims away giving me just enough time to get out of the water before he turned back around for round two. Let me remind you that this all happens before dark and before our planned departure to go cray fishing. While in the boat, the past five minutes are replayed over and over again in my head, then I start thinking we are going to wait until it is pitch black outside, jump into the dinghy and motor over to the reef during prime feeding time for Sharky and his friends, we are quite smart if smart stands for "Stupid Mostly At Ridiculous Times. Nick, Marls, Tane, and I (leaving Roger the intelligent one in the boat) get into the dinghy and head over to the reef. Now for our first challenge, "where the f**k is the reef, well kinda that way, right." All of a sudden we are right over the reef, Marls is first to be ready and she is in, fifteen seconds later Tane and I are ready but she is already 20-30 meters away so we motor over to where she is and get in. You see the strong winds and waves were driving the dinghy rapidly toward the reef, while the current was relatively mild so anyone in the water was rapidly separated from the dinghy. We swam towards Marls's light and within her beam a large grey reef shark was revealed, heading quickly towards her. Marls instantly began screaming bloody murder," Niiiiiccccckkk," who had already drifted at least fifty meters away. A few arcs of the underwater flashlight exposed a massive stingray and more of Sharky's hungry friends. Instinctively I began swimming toward the dinghy but then I thought maybe Marls has been bitten and needs help, so I turned around only to see her right behind me with three sharks in hot pursuit. We all make it to the dinghy and leap into it with the grace of a terrified flying fish. We had all made the same decision, it's time to go back to the boat and pop our celebration champagne. There is just one more challenge, we had drifted right over the middle of the outer reef and we were partially stuck. For a few heart-wrenching moments and plenty of screaming we managed to remove ourselves from the reef with all limbs and equipment intact. It's not best to think what would have happened if we would have been continued to be pushed over to the outside of the reef, into the breakers. Let's just say we would have started our trip to Niue a little earlier than planned. The champagne was supposed to be in celebration of all the crayfish that we caught but now is opened in celebration that we are all alive, unharmed, with all of our equipment undamaged. So at this point we must ask ourselves, what lesson have we learned? Well believe it or not the only conclusion that we have made is that next time, that's right I said next time we should do it when the wind and waves are much less, and especially not on a lee reef. Oh course we are interested to hear what all of our readers would suggest so please post your comments. Till next time this is Tomas, a New York born, Texas raised, Colorado educated, Spanish Peruvian American saying Peace, Love and Pray for our crazy asses!!!!
LoveLife, Tomas German-Palacios