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Grand Cay, Bahamas: Labor Day weekend 2015 diving, fishing, spearing & conching

Big Bend BrianBig Bend Brian Posts: 1,443 Officer
My son Casey & I were invited to a Labor Day weekend Father/Son dive trip to Grand Cay in the Abacos to do some diving. We’d have to pull the boys from school on Friday which oddly…..met with no resistance from them. We would be crossing over from Stuart with an ole Gainesville friend Mark Robinson and his son Andrew, cousin Aaron and friend Jamie aboard Mark’s 29 foot inboard diesel CC Mirage named Water Baby.

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Water Baby

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Thursday night we were to meet up in Stuart and prep for a 6 am Friday departure however a few miles from the ramp Mark’s Dodge Ram 3500 had a fuel pump failure. After a bit of boat shuffling and towing the truck to a diesel repair shop we got the boat launched at 1 am. Mark was a bit “amped up” so we prepared to cross over and at 2 am we left the inlet and set the autopilot for Grand Cay some 102 NMs to the east. Throughout the 4 hour crossing there was quite an electrical storm to our north which was very cool to watch and the seas were calm at 1 – 2 foot seas.

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2 am crossing

Friday: Four hours and 20 minutes later (6:20 am) we stopped shy of Grand Cay and got the boat prepped to dock & check into Customs.
We tied up to Rosie’s fuel dock, took on 35 gallons of diesel and waited for Customs to open.

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Grand Cay on the horizon

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Grand Cay

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Tying up

In no time we got settled into our house and one of Mark’s Bahamian friends, Grady and his son Kermit, came aboard to show us around and off we went to spear hogfish, “silver snapper” & lobster and catch some conch too.

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Mark, Grady, Kermit and Andrew

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Great Abaco weather

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On account of some tired cooks rather than cook we elected to have dinner at Rosies and we ordered cracked conch and fish.

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Gotta love Cracked Conch!!


Saturday: We removed the pole & Hawaiian spears and loaded up tanks to do some diving.

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Grady used to be part of Walkers Diving Program so he took us to a few dive spots off Walkers.
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Mark, Andrew and cousin Aaron

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Going over…..

Since it was 60 + feet I did not take my U/W camera.

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Back on the boat we shifted gears to yellow tailing and it only took a couple of minutes for nice sized yellowtails to be right behind the boat in the chum slick.

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Casey with a nice tail

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Yellow tailing is a lot easier in the Bahamas than it is in the FL Keys …….

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Nice tail

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Saturday night’s dinner was fresh yellowtail & lobster

After fishing we had an electrical issue which was finally figured out but we decided to scrub the 2nd dive and head back in.

Sunday: In no particular hurry we left the dock a bit after 9 am for another dive.

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Casey & Jamie going over

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Aaron

Vis was about 120 feet but not clear and the bottom temp was 85 ˚F.
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Turtle

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Swimming circles around us

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Casey

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Porkfish


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Andrew & his dad Mark

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Queen Angelfish

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Aaron, Andrew & Mark

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There were a few Caribbean Reef charks hanging around

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Casey & I

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Spiny

After diving we went back in, removed the bottles, had lunch, reloaded the pole & Hawaiian spears and went back out to hog, lobster & conch.
On the patch reefs the current was KICKING making snorkeling challenging so we decided to chum & yellowtail for a while to allow the tide to slack some.

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Grady with a nice strawberry

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Queen trigger

After an hour we went back to spearing and eventually shifted gears to conching. I didn’t take any spearing photos as I preferred to have a Hawaiian Sling in my hands.

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Queen conch Strombus gigas

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Andrew coming up

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Andrew & Casey

There all over in the grass beds

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Break time

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Beautiful mollusk!

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Gotta love it!!

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Looking forward to tonight’s cracked conch and fritters ……..

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Grady cleaning conchs

Sunday’s dinner was steak and Miss Raphalita who runs a small kitchen in Grand made us some Bahamian peas n rice and potato salad

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Monday morning: We left the dock at 6:30 am and headed 102 miles west back to Stuart.

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We skirted a few storms along the way but the seas were great with only one storm we had to pass through.
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What a great trip!!
Hoo Yah!!

Brian

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