Rum for Mahi
17 May 2021 | Little Sampson Cay, Exuma
We are still in a fishing drought. We now troll three lines instead of the usual two and switch lures regularly. We don't fish in shallow water where it is quite easy to catch Barracudas. We caught two of these but that doesn't count, can't safely eat them in the Bahamas.
Sailing with Starship from Conception to Cat Island, we saw six, large sportfishing boats working the south end of Cat. They were talking with each other on the VHF and we listened in. Some were cursing the Mahi for wrecking their bait sets. They were hunting big Marlin.
A few days later, we rented a car with Mitch and Delana to tour Cat. We stopped at Hawk's Nest Marina bar where the sportfishing boats were hanging out. One fisherman confirmed Mahi were a nuisance. I offered to trade a big bottle of rum for a Mahi. He agreed.
The next day we called Anita Jeanne and asked if they had some Mahi to trade. They said they would. Lisa and I dinghied ten miles from our anchorage in the Bight to Hawk's Nest. It was downwind so not that rough a ride. That's still a long dinghy ride doing 15 knots, about 45 minutes.
We arrived and had a nice chat with Pete, his son, Spencer and crew. We gave them a 1.5 liter bottle of Cruzan Rum and the gave us a little bag of fillets. Spencer said, “I feel bad taking your rum for just that bag of fish.” I replied, “We will take more if it will make you feel better!” He gave us another bag.
Hawk's Nest Marina had a nice, paved airport. Pete mentioned to us that there were five paved runways on Cat Island. There are fewer than 1,000 people living on Cat. Remember my last blog? In a half-finished hotel, gas station and restaurant complex we met The Pilot of Pilot Harbor. He explained that his family had cargo planes, light planes and a helicopter. Why so many airports, pilots and planes in a desolate place like Cat Island? Do the math, it's not long division.
It was getting toward dark and Lisa and I had a long ride back to Uproar. Remember when I said the ride to Hawk's Nest was downwind? Well it was upwind going back and the wind had picked up. Not only were we soaking wet but I had to modulate the throttle to keep from slamming into the bigger waves and still try to keep on a gentle plane. On plane we are a bit higher above the waves and go faster. I'm sure we took twice as long to return to Uproar.
It took forever until we could see Uproar's anchor light in the distance, well after sunset. This is a sparsely populated place. There were no other boats around and very few houses along the shore. Lisa had the forethought to bring a portable VHF radio in case we needed help.
The water gradually flattened out as we approached the Bight anchorage. Our hands, arms and shoulders were cramped from hanging on. Lisa's back hurt for two days. But we finally had some Mahi, enough for four small meals.
We have enjoyed two Mahi meals so far. With our French Polynesian recipe for vanilla sauce, the fish is superb, but decidedly not worth the punishing dinghy ride. Just hope to catch one of our own soon!