A day off with no wind = serious East Coast lionfish hunting. And one dozen big ones ended up in the zoo keeper today. Nice.
Perfectly flat water (crazily unusual for the “wild side”). Eternally long surface swims. Serious current to contend with. One lost – then found – stabbing fork. A few sea urchin injuries. Just your typical East Coast diving day.
First up was Washikemba. After I suggested a day diving in the national park, Island Boy quickly said no way (he deemed it “too far”…you know you’ve lived on a tiny island for too long when a six mile drive becomes “too far”…LOL), and offered this little boca as an alternative. Having never dived there, I readily agreed. So after a few coffees and doing not much at all – this was my day off, after all – we finally got our shit together and headed off.
Overcast skies, zero wind and flat calm water. Other than the ridiculously long surface swim (first from the shore out through the boca and then to the reef), it was fairly non-eventful. I knew it was going to be a good hunt when, immediately upon descending, we came across two totally oblivious (and big) lionfish in eight meters of water. They were just floating there, not a care in the world. Even when Island Boy picked off the first one (his accuracy is getting scarily efficient…remind me not to piss him off anytime soon), the second one just stayed there, completely unaware of his impending fate.
The rest of the catch was located somewhere in the 30 meter range, but they were plentiful. We filled the zoo keeper to bursting long before either of us came close to going into deco, so we finally headed back to shore. (Side note…if anyone feels like hunting tomorrow…Washikemba still has a lot of big ones waiting to be bagged…)
Dive two was an unmarked spot somewhere between the two salt inlets. Island Boy, who dives barefoot with closed-foot fins…ouch!…saw a nice sandy entry point, so we just stopped the truck and jumped in. Unfortunately, unexpectedly strong current turned it into a drift dive, but we still managed to bag quite a few big lionfish…some at depths of 36 meters…not the best dive profile, but we managed.
One nice turtle (I saw it) and two spotted eagle rays (I missed those) joined us for a bit, and then we faced an exit through a minefield of sea urchins. Fun times. Suffice it to say that my dive buddy opted for a surface swim further south where the urchin landmines were not quite so plentiful. All in all, a dive that required a few Polars afterwards. For both of us.
The moral of the story seems to be…if the wind isn’t blowing and kiting is out of the question…the next best thing to do is go lionfish hunting. And…when the wind picks up, make sure you pass by Atlantis for some yummy lionfish burgers…they’re going to be on the menu for sure!