Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lobster For Lunch

Just another day in Paradise! We woke up this morning pinching ourselves. Have we really made it? We mused over breakfast once again about those days so long ago when we came here on a charter. It’s difficult not to. We remembered that we hardly remember it! It was bam, bam, bam… no time to get to know any of the anchorages or islands… 

Staring out at the crystal waters sparkling with the rising sun… I remembered how incredulous we were that the water could be so impossibly clear and clean. Now I can’t imagine going back to the murky waters of home. We’ve become visibility snobs!

Lazing about our morning… we waited for our first appointment of the day. Yes… we had an appointment. John’s Marine Services was due to arrive between 8 and 9 am to bring us diesel. Maybe we hustled a little through breakfast to be ready… the time was more like guidelines and we expected him more toward 9 than 8. John is the cousin of Marcus, who has been doing marine services for about 13 years… Now joined by his cousin, John.

Yesterday, John rode out to this remote anchorage in his dinghy to check on us. Some Cruisers don’t like vendors to hassle them… But we don’t mind being asked and many times we do need something.  It’s very convenient. Bruce hesitated at first… We had planned on motoring around to the new marina in the morning to see if they had their fuel dock open yet…

But here was a man who was offering to bring diesel to our boat without us lifting a finger! His price: $15EC per gallon. That’s about $6 US. High, but only 1.50 EC (price at the next place) more than we would pay if we went to get it ourselves… Bruce wasn’t ready to commit though…

After John left us, we rationalised our way through it… We weren’t paying for a mooring ball, to that’s like $50EC off the price right there… We should do our part to encourage honest work and give the people here some custom during our stay… And if we don’t have to move the boat, we can entertain ourselves in more frivolous pursuits! Sold! We radioed John back and made this appointment…

Right on (island) time, John showed up with our diesel. He even came aboard and syphoned it into our tank for us… and cleaned up the mess! He was very professional and we expressed our appreciation… a friend made today!

Work done… Play begins! Let’s go snorkelling!

We paddled ourselves over to the rocky shore and spent maybe two hours in the water. The temperature was perfect and there was a little swell but no significant current. We wound our way in and out of the boulders, peering into crevices and sneaking up on the creatures of the shallows. 


There were lots of little fishes… we’ve become familiar with their behaviour. New today though… I saw two small spotted eels and one brown one. I wondered if they were snakes because they came out of the shadows and slithered their way amongst the rocks during daylight hours.  I’ve never seen eels do that before. These were small, maybe 1.5 or 2 ft in length… They had kind of snakey heads…

I followed along trying to get clear photos… suddenly common sense occurred that should this creature lunge at me, I couldn’t get away quickly enough… I imagined myself struggling to get to Bruce with a eel attached to my thigh! Deciding I had enough pictures… I paddled away… turning once to make sure I wasn’t being followed… Relieved, I continued on. 

I can see you Mr. Grouper!
I saw three groupers… They’re shy though so no good pics. I saw several file fish, a box fish and some colorful ones that I had to really work to get pictures. Why are the best fishes always the most shy???

Bruce came to get me and said to come look… he found a bunch of “small rays swimming in a line”. I paddled over to find the rays weren’t rays but some type of squid. They were creepy… just hanging suspended in their lines… formations moving the smoothing back to lines… They seemed completely unafraid and I wondered what would happen if I tried to touch one… But I didn’t.

Their big round eyes just stared dolefully at us… I swear they even followed us briefly… Maybe we look like a squid to them? It was awesome! How many photos DOES one need of squid? Can’t have too many!

Something besides squid!

Sorry, more squid!

The water was so balmy we could have continued indefinitely but I think I was boring Bruce… We turned back and he swam on ahead to the boat leaving me slowly making my way… I could see him watching me from the deck… When I made the final turn leaving the shore at the closest point to the boat, I saw a fisherman’s boat pulling up.

Bruce was talking to the man holding a big lobster! I swam up and Bruce asked if I wanted one. SURE! We paid $50 EC for the largest one, about 5 lbs. That’s about $18US for a lobster we would have paid twice that for a few bits of lobster swimming in pasta back in the States! I climbed out of the water as Bruce was making the deal…

He held the beast up and the men sped away leaving us alone on the boat with the creature that seemed to be growing in size as the realization hit us… NOW we had to deal with a live lobster! Thinking we would store him in a bucket of salt water until dinner… it dawned on me. Why wait?

Why CAN’T we have lobster for lunch? Where is it written that Lobster must be eaten only at dinner? We can do what we want, no matter how decadent it is. It’s decided.

Later, looking back on the day’s deeds… I realized it’s so much easier to just order it in a restaurant, after all the macabre deeds had been done, out of our line of sight!

We pulled Carolyn’s book out and turned to the pages on dealing with live lobsters… The creature continued to move his spindly legs relentlessly as we studied up how to do him in… I wanted to do it sooner rather than later… He couldn’t be enjoying this little tableau…

We tried putting him in our biggest pot for boiling or steaming… no go. He stuck out the top. This leaves us with killing him, then twisting off the tail and appendages… Bruce did the manly thing and wielded the ice pick… Unfortunately death was not swift. The lobster continued to pedal his many legs with the occasional flick of his tail… He would raise himself up on his legs like trying to get away… It was horrible.

Bruce grimaced while having to repeatedly apply the pick while tears slid down my cheeks… How are we going to eat this thing after all of this horror??? I finally had to abandon Bruce to it, escaping into the cockpit to take some air… I felt faint.

When I returned he had the antennae off and was dealing with the legs… Our plan was to twist off the tail and steam all the forward parts, then steam the tail alone. This we did.

Bruce picked through the body and removed the straws of meat from the legs, gaining maybe half a cup of meat from the entire forward end…I prepared the butter. We put all the meat into the melted butter…

Getting the tail to relinquish its meaty morsels was no easy task… We cut down the underside and still it took both of us wrangling the shell to get the huge chunk of luscious white meat to come free… I kept thinking that there should be clown-music playing in the background of this ridiculous scene… We’re adults. We should be able to make short work of one lousy lobster… but no, we were almost bested… Almost.

We prevailed in the end. After a THOROUGH cleaning and eradication of any possible lobster juices in my kitchen… we settled with a salad to eat the buttery white flesh of our vanquished foe. Maybe next time we buy a lobster we will ask the fishermen to kill it at least…

There was enough for dinner as well! So we WILL have lobster for dinner today! Many people don’t like lobster… and I’ll admit, sometimes it tastes a little reminiscent of dirt… But this lobster was sweet, even as large as he was. We closed our eyes and let the flavour wash over us… Mmmmm… Bruce said: “Mark this off of our bucket list!”. I think we’re going to need a new list as fast as we’re marking things off! Or maybe just a bigger bucket!

The rest of our day we relaxed… buttery lips and full tummies… Beautiful surroundings, balmy breezes. Yes, it was actually cool and comfortable today. We considered briefly, working on cleaning the bottom of the boat… but only briefly. We took the rest of the day off… Our only ambition, maybe some more Boobie pictures! 

Fishermen throwing nets

But the Boobies were gone. Toward sunset a group of pelicans filtered in… first two, suddenly 14. We watched them work the waters in competition with a group of fishermen on the beach. Life was so good… We had to wonder why we deserved such riches.

Having no internet disconnects us from all things happening in the world outside this small stage. We remembered that many of our friends are still dealing with the aftermath of this summer’s crazy storms… Some have massive repairs to do… others have lost everything. It still feels wrong somehow… this sublime enjoyment of the moment we’re experiencing… But I’m sure that our hard times will come…

For now, we will savour the flavour of decadent perfection…. A perfect day with snorkelling and Lobster for Lunch!

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