Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hogfish Maximus.... How shallow can you go ?

Sailing and cruising here in the Lesser Antillies the water depth is deep everywhere except for reefs and submerged rocks. Lots of boats here have drafts of 7' - 9' or more. Navigate properly and all is well. Plenty of boats though are lost every season due to not keeping track of where they are. 
When telling the locals in Antigua we plan on sailing over to the sister island of Barbuda this December with our daughter Lillian they all say " look out for the shallow water!" And then go on to explain how very shallow and treacherous it it can be. " Be very carefull."
We explain that we are from the Bahamas and have spent a lifetime of sailing in difficult reef conditions. All engineless till a few years ago. "Ah but not like over there!"
Trying to explain that Barbuda is about the size of the view in front of our house in the Bahamas and that the Bahamian archipelago is over 500 miles long they suck in their teeth and roll up their eyes.They cannot belive this.
Having a boat that sails well in deep ocean seas like the Hogfish does is great. But going where most men and their vessels have never gone before is so much better.

Bequia looking out for fish. We are motoring over a five mile long shallow bank in a flat calm looking for crayfish ledges and for conch from the mast as we work our way over this shallow bank of 29-30" of water depth. Some little coral heads we had to avoid so as to not damage them. Hogfish Maximus draws 27". What ! 2" is plenty of water under the hull in these conditions. But you must be able to "Read the water" well.

Lots to see going along like this. Lobsters, groupers, snappers and all kinds of edible fish hide out in small holes like these. We just stop, go over the side with a spear and bingo! Lunch.

It's this shallow all the way to the islands in the distance.

Mr. Raymond going along the bank looking for crabs to suck up. He's about 3' across.

Coral "nob" as we call them. Lots of small pretty tropical fish around these.

This is an Ocean Tally. It's a very tasty type of Trigger Fish. This is an 8 lb. fish. The water is about 30" deep. If fishing using a rod then just cast a piece of conch on a hook about 5' in front of him and away you go. These guys eat anything like crazy. Very firm white meat. The skin is like a leather boot.
To fillet start from the tail and work towards the head. The skin is very soft at the base of the tail. Takes a second to do. This fish would feed four for dinner.

I navigate up on the spreaders as Rachel steers. I can see a long ways up there.

Now we have reached some deeper water. Time to cool off.

This guy wants some grapes for lunch. Poor ole Bequia has to stay aboard as she would love to chase these Bahamian Igunas around the beach.

This clear water is in Sal Island in the Grenadines. I think that's Heckel & Jeckel talking about what kind of trouble they can get into.

Nothing like anchoring in 4' of water. All the other boats are anchored off a ledge that they cannot get over. They are in 19' of water, wind and current. Nothing like being a shallow minded sailor.

Time to go.... Bequia is keeping a look out for the skipper. 

Hogfish Life, as seen through the anchors ring.

Ya Mon... In de Bahamas we's gots lotsa water, it's just spread outs very thin.

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