Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fishing Fast Track to Abacos, Bahamas

Sailing Simple Life
photo by Dianne Malherb
     With spring well underway, the mass exodus begins in the Exuma and Out Island chain in the Bahamas. Everyday, boats leave the Islands heading north toward their summer destinations. A large number cross the Gulf Stream to Florida hauling their vessels for the summer in northern Florida or Georgia. Some who live aboard full time make a break from the Bahamas through the Abacos hoping for a fast ride north in the Gulf Stream, ducking into port if weather turns against them. Others choose the more leisurely route after arrival back in the States along the inland waterways of the ICW. Whatever option boaters choose all have one goal in mind. Winter has ended, it's warming up north and hurricane season soon will follow. For us it's time to head to the Out Island of Eleuthera before crossing the Northeast Providence Channel to the more populated Abaco Islands heading to points north across the Gulf Stream to the States.

Joe & Michele with Simple Life anchored
photo by Dianne Malherb
Michele, Joe and Pete having a beach chat
Photo by Dianne Malherb

     Simple Life was holed up for a week in Rock Sound, Eleuthera waiting for cold fronts to pass. Predictions called for high winds and squalls. We got the winds, luckily, no squalls. We spent time with friends, taking long walks to the north side of the island and took the opportunity to provision for our upcoming trip to the Abacos. Our next stop was Hatchet Bay in northern Eleuthera. We hadn't been to Eleuthera in a number of years and it hadn't changed much at all. The islanders were friendly and seemed genuinely welcoming toward boaters. The settlements are interspersed with some tidy homes and some derelict and abandoned ones. Although, outwardly there's a aspect of decay and disrepair on Eleuthera, the Bahamian residents in these settlements remain proud of their island home.
Shadows and Ruins of a Home
by Michele Boulay

    Sail On, Fish On

Spear fishing on Long Island
Big crab speared at Long Island

     A favorable weather forecast made it possible for us to sail from Royal Island, Eleuthera to Hopetown in the Abacos. Joe had been spear fishing with some success in the shallow waters of the Out Islands. Now he would finally have an opportunity to troll across the deep abyss for "the big one" while sailing offshore where depths no longer register on the depth sounder. He rigged a frozen ballyhoo with high hopes for a Mahi. Within minutes the line pealed out. It was too easy to reel in and in spite of still hoping to see the flash of green and blue Mahi, we knew it was a barracuda. I was at the helm while Joe reluctantly reeled the fish toward the boat. It had cannibalized the entire ballyhoo and fortunately shook itself off. This called for a lure change since there was no more bait. I noticed some birds and splashing off to port. "Joe there's tuna off to port! Hurry up. Get that line in the water!" This time he was using a cedar plug. The line barely dropped off behind the boat when the tuna was on.

Joe's tuna after a hard fought battle
      Simple Life was under sail and I steered her the best I could according to Joe's commands. "Speed up a little. OK now slow down, go to port. Head more to starboard. Keep heading to starboard...#%£¥" If I'd kept going the boat would have tacked. By this time Joe could see the fish. He wanted the gaff. I handed it off. The fish was on and out of the water but, still on the side when it was gaffed, boarded and quickly subdued. Blood was everywhere, on the jib sheet, the deck, sprinkling Joe's shoes and running down the side of the boat. It resembled a bloody murder scene. Joe had his tuna and it was a good size at 30 inches. He was a happy man.
Just another sunset in the Bahamas...with sushi


Seared fresh tuna

The Recipe for Delicious Fresh Tuna

     Dip tuna "tenderloin" in soy sauce, sprinkle with wasabi powder, roll "tenderloin" in sesame seeds. Heat sesame oil in pan and sear tuna on all sides for one minute (tuna should be red in center) slice "tenderloin" and serve with rice, delicious!