[ Part 1: A Logical Choice | Part 2: The Best Way Back ]
May 3 – Dominican Republic: Coming up for air and coughing up salt water that had made its way down my snorkel from the waves crashing on the reef, it was pitch black and we were disoriented. “Do you think is the best way back to the boat?”, Kevin asked…
Several hours earlier, when Kevin asked me if I wanted to go lobster hunting on the reef near our anchorage, I immediately agreed. Despite that searching for lobsters required snorkeling in the dark in up to 30 ft of water, I was excited for the adventure. After a sunset snack on deck, we started gearing up for the trip around 7:30 p.m. Though we’re in a tropical climate, the air and water temperature drop at night and with just my board shorts, I realized I was going to be a bit chilly in the cold dark water. With no spare wetsuit on board, I improvised by throwing on my Patagonia Capalene 4 zip t-shirt grabbing the snorkels, fins and spear gun and jumping in the dinghy to motor over to the reef.
After arriving at the reef we set our anchor, Kevin taught me how to use the spear gun and we plunged into the dark Caribbean Sea. Our waterproof flashlights cut a narrow beam illuminating an otherwise pitch-black underwater environment. As our light hit the reef it exploded in color and texture. Sea life would dart in and out of the crevasses of the reef.
The goal was to find a lobster for dinner that night. We searched all over the reef, both snorkeling on the surface diving below whenever we felt there was a particularly good hiding spot for lobsters. After about an hour and a half of hunting we’d seen exactly zero lobsters. The only good news was that my improvised wet suit was keeping me warm.
As this was my first time at both night snorkeling and hunting lobsters with a spear gun, I was a bit apprehensive. However, Kevin is the type of guy that knows everything about everything and on top of that is an experienced lobster hunter, so I completely trusted him. As the night wore on though, I kept thinking that we were getting farther and farther from the dinghy based on the dimming of the light we’d set on the stern. Eventually, we surfaced to talk over the scenario and decided that we had inadvertently swam way further from the dinghy than we had intended. We could faintly make out the stern light in the distance.
In order to get back to the boat we had to follow the reef to a gap, which we could swim through to arrive back at the dinghy and safety. As the waves crashed forcefully on my back, Kevin turned to ask me, “Do you think is the best way back to the boat?”, At this point, I was a bit concerned. I began to conjure images of us being washed out to sea and devoured by some ominous sea creature with no one around to hear me scream. I am a guy however, … so instead of voicing my concerns, I gave my best estimate of the proper direction. Thankfully, Kevin agreed with my estimate and after about fifteen of swimming hard along the reef, we finally spotted the anchor line that led to the dinghy. Home sweet home!
We arrived back at the boat empty handed, without having spotted a single lobster. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying cold beers, a losers’ dinner of cheese tortellini and marinara sauce and planning our next lobster hunting adventure.
Gear Highlight: RIFFE International Euro Series E-100 Spear Gun | $400+