Bahamian Rules Can Be Hard
Walt C. Snedeker
Your Humble Obedient has just returned from an exciting holiday
in the Bahamas. I hope I recover soon. Dr. Scooter, Pucky, Carol,
and the Fabled PC made up the rest of our quintet.
We make up a perfect team for vacationing. Each of us have strengths,
and therefore responsibilities, that have been irrevocably appointed
Dr. Scooter (a.k.a. "My-Son-The-Doctor) is along to put the
busted pieces of his old man back together, and to find things.
Carol (my adorable daughter-in-law), makes perfect Islamorada Coladas
-- an absolute necessity in the tropics.
Pucky fulfills his duties as my number-two son by willingly bashing
on with whatever foolishness I have proposed for the day.
And of course, the Fabled PC is along to make sure everything runs
smoothly. We have no difficulty when my fiery redhead is about;
she can intimidate Internal Revenue agents.
But they have new rules about catching lobsters in the Bahamas.
The rules, I believe, were concocted by demented US Navy SEALs.
They are as simple as they are difficult to obey.
1. You must be more than 400 yards from shore before you can catch
2. You cannot use any scuba equipment.
Sounds simple, right? So here's what happened:
I awoke early one fine morning to gaze out the window at the calm
ocean caressing the beach. Oh, boy! I'll be able to nip out, catch
a couple of "bugs" before the rest of the gang stirs,
and be back in time for breakfast. What a great idea!
Frequently my ideas outpace my physique.
Down I go to the beach with my Hawaiian sling and snorkeling gear.
Being a law-abiding sod, I begin swimming out the requisite quarter-mile
Just to be on the safe side, I added a couple hundred more yards,
to about 600 before I thought of sharks.
So I didn't think about them.
I looked down at the rocky coral below. Hm. Interesting. Pretty
deep, though. Oh, tra-la... in for a penny.
With the biggest airgulp I could manage, I nipped a surface dive
and headed for the bottom. My wrist gauge said 22 feet as I peered
under the ledge.
Lobzilla was sitting there, staring at me! But I was out of air.
A dozen strokes, and I reach the surface, panting and excited.
You only get one really good breath-holding shot (ever try to hold
your breath successive times?)
Down for another look, to see if he is in any kind of a position
that I could shoot him. Yup! Ohboyoboy!
Back up again. Panting and puffing, I prepared my loins as it were,
and dove again -- this time ready to shoot the Pineapple sling as
soon as I spotted the beast again. Did so. HOOHAH!! The shot well
and truly struck home. Back up (way up) to the surface. Pant Pant
Pant Snork Pant Pant Wheeze Pant...
Back down: the doggone bug was dragging my six-foot stainless-steel
spear back out of sight under the ledge. Reach in. Got the very
end of the spear. Oh, Jiminy, pullpullpull... aha! He came free!
But I can't get him all the way out from under the ledge with the
air I got left.
Back up (way way up). Pant pant, etc... Really feeling beat up,
now. And look! The cotton-pickin' bug is pulling my spear back under
the ledge again. I'll kill him, so help me I will!! Of course, that's
what I was trying to do anyway, so I guess the threat was moot.
Back down again. Grab the spear. Look at the bug on the end. He's
enormous. But... Omigawd! His great granddaddy is coming out of
the hole behind him -- curious as to what all the hubbub is about.
He's twice as big as Lobzilla! Back up (way... etc.). Pant Wheeze
Wheeze Pant Wheeze Wheeze etc...).
Scrape the bug off the spear into the bag tied to my waist. Pant
a hundred pants in a hurry. The Father Of All Lobsters is visible
even from the surface, looking around interestedly.
Ignore the sharp pains in my heart from the myocardial infarction,
ignore the numbness to the left side of my face from the stroke,
ignore the tunnel vision from anoxia... down again, quick as a duck.
Only a split instant to draw back the heavy rubber sling and shoot
in the general direction of the monster.
Lookit! Lookit! Drilled the sucka! Heading back up, admiring how
everything has gone so silent, and all the dark spots in front of
my vision have prettily joined together to form a velvet night of
Oh, my, it's wonderful stuff. Look down. The spear is gone. But
I know where it must be. Big Guy has dragged it back into his lair.
Meanwhile, the big bug in the bag (hey! alliteration) has gashed
my leg in a dozen places.
Back down. Ignore the drag of the now-heavy bag tied to my waist.
Look under the ledge. Can just reach the end of the spear if I sort
of stretch under the ledge. Pull. Unh. Pull harder. Unh, Unh. Did
it give a little, or did my arm stretch? Not sure. Back up -- the
bag slows me down immensely on my endless trek up to the surface.
The spots merge together at the halfway-up point this time.
Can't remember getting back up, but here I am. Wheeze Wheeze Wheeze...
I'm all out of pants. Back down. Now I see the problem. The big
beast has wedged himself in the rocks sideways, and is holding on
to them out of a truly thoughtless and monumental perversity. Pull
hard on the spear. No joy. Might as well be trying for Excalibur.
Back up. Oh, Lordy, hurry!
OK. We now make a deal. We get him this time or stay down there
with him. I am now out of wheezes. Back down. Grab the spear. Pull
once, twice, three times... four times. Have to go up NOW.
No! Darn if I will. Pull with everything for the last, last time.
The heavy steel wing breaks off the spear, and it comes free. Back
up to the surface. The bug stays down there.
Now all I have to do is swim three quarters of a mile back to shore
(uphill, too!), and have breakfast.
I tellya, vacations can be rough!
I'm going out to the Rocky Mountains (Colorado) to hunt elk next
month. Maybe I can successfully perish from altitude sickness...
I wonder if their game laws are as dangerous to obey as the Bahamians?