Lobster Love -April 4, 2002
April 1st was a beautiful sunny day here in George Town, but I woke up feeling very glum. "Why don't you go snorkelling?" Eileen suggested. "The water is really calm and clear. A good snorkel always cheers you up. Maybe you'll find some lobster."
"What's the point?" I moaned. "Today, they'll all be out in the open, inviting me to play, flirting with me, knowing they don't have to make a lasting commitment. They'll break my heart. I can't handle unrequited love."
April 1st marks the official close of lobster season in the Bahamas. For lovers of lobsters, it's a cruel day. All winter long, the tasty crustaceans have played hard to get. On April 1st, they suddenly abandon their coy manner, often becoming outright brazen. But any suitor who wants to take one home faces a hefty fine.
The spiny lobster (also called crawfish) in this part of the world is a clawless cousin of the American lobster found in colder northern waters. Normally, it has to be extricated from its hiding place under a coral head by means of a spear, gaff or noose. My preferred tool is a hand spear with a barbed tip at one end and a loop of rubber tubing at the other end. Spearfishing is not permitted in Elizabeth Harbour within a couple of miles in George Town. While the season was open, my lobster hunting forays required a lengthy ride in our under powered dinghy. I typically returned with one or two lobsters after burning up a tank of gas and spending the better part of the day getting to and from the legal fishing grounds. Eileen questioned the economics of the whole exercise. Being allergic to shellfish, she doesn't understand lobster love.
A couple of weeks ago, good cruising friends of ours, Pam and Glenn, arrived in their catamaran, "Anything Goes". We were happy to see them. Pam, like Eileen, enjoys shelling and reading good books. Glenn, like me, is enamoured with lobsters. They also have a new, go-fast dinghy.
Glenn's speedy dinghy vastly enlarged our hunting grounds. The two of us managed to zip down to some remote reefs where the lobsters are rarely wooed. On our last sortie, just before the season closed, we caught seven lobsters and a nice sized grouper. I shouldn't feel heartbroken. There were lots of lobsters remaining where we got our seven. They're probably frolicking about at this very moment. And they'll be that much bigger when I come a-courting next winter.
Cheers, David & Eileen