Fish for Petrol, some trolling success and no lobsters

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 21 Nov 2012 21:04
Still in the San Blas we are now 'waiting for weather'. Of course we already have weather but it's the wrong kind.  The wind is from the wrong direction and where we are bound for, Providencia, it's positively blowing 'old boots' from the north. It's been wet and miserable but just perfect for us Brits to moan about. So we sit and wait and think of some things to do in the meantime.
It's pouring down outside                     and the little critter didn't like being ejected from our saloon and is sulking in the rain! (read last blog)
The other day a young Kuna father turned up in his ulu dugout with the cutest young boy of about 2 or 3 years old you could wish to see. Also in the ulu were dozens of good sized yellow Snappers. After a little negotiation two of the fish were selected and in return we added a gallon of petrol to the fuel tank in his ulu. He wasn't interested in money as he needed the petrol to get one of his family to hospital and the fuel was of more use. He was happy, we were happy and the little boy?  Well, it's tough work getting the little Kuna mites to smile let alone laugh. Meanwhile, the 'Admiral' excelled herself with a very tasty home-made loaf. It was, however, left rather too long to rise (due to a happy hour engagement on another boat), became exhausted and collapsed down over the side of the loaf tin giving a very good interpretation of an aircraft carrier.
Off with their heads! Made great curry                Aircraft carrier loaf (patent pending)
We filleted the snapper and made a huge curry which lasted two nights. The fish carcasses were put into our folding lobster pot in which, to date, we've never caught anything in that has stayed around long enough for us to identify let alone eat. Back in the Canary Islands when we had used it in the marina tied to the back of the boat something large and extremely angry had become trapped and fought its way out simply ripping the net as it escaped. We hoped for better things this time. Phil motored off in the late afternoon to find a suitable spot in the coral reef to set it for the night. He attached a small mooring ball so that it could be found early the next morning. Well, early for us is extremely late for the Kunas and whilst he was looking through the binoculars to see if the marker was still in place he spotted some Kunas motoring towards the marker. At that moment the wind changed direction just enough to bring another yacht between us and the pot marker and he lost sight of the Indians behind the yacht. But they didn't appear out the other side instead they returned from the vicinity of the pot and headed off. Launching the dinghy as quickly as possible Phil raced off towards the spot where the pot was residing and hauled it up. Nothing! but the net had been ripped at the side, possibly by coral. However, the interesting point about this event was that barely half an hour later an ulu arrived at the back of Ajaya offering for sale, of all things - LOBSTER!!! Hmmm!!! We tried again for another few days until the stench of the fish carcasses was too much for the 'Admiral' to bear (probably even for a self respecting lobster). We emptied the pot and packed it away again.
Little things please little minds            but this ulu sail was quite a work of art (off the village of Nargana)       
On a snorkelling trip out towards the outer reefs the following day 'Skip' had a shock when rounding a blind corner in the coral reef. A 6ft Nurse Shark came round from the other direction! It's not that Nurse Sharks are dangerous - they're not, unless you want to be sucked to death.  Nevertheless, it's still a bit of a shock when they just appear right in front of you when you least expect it. Having mentioned it to the 'Admiral' she also saw the grey beast in the same area a little later. It obviously enjoys scaring us intrepid underwater explorers by appearing from nowhere when you least expect it.
We moved from the Holandes Cays to the Coco Bandero Cays for an overnight stop on the way back to Nargana for another raid on the fuel and veggies. On this trip the starboard fishing line ran out and we pulled in a small tuna, about a foot long, ideal for the evening meal. Then shortly after, the other line was hit, only this time we pulled in 'Barry' the Barracuda which was never going to be on our menu. Instead of throwing him back we gave him away to some friends (who we knew liked them) when we arrived in the Cocos. Then a short while later we hooked the branches from a floating tree which fought hard for 10 minutes before being hauled in. There is a vast amount of tree debris currently in the San Blas - some are a danger to the boat if hit hard enough so we are constantly on watch and ready to dodge round them.
Our useful haul from the short trip down to the Cocos       'Skip' delivering Barry the 'Cuda' to our friends
Fish hunting Pelicans in formation in the beautiful Coco Bandero Cays
We are now in Green Island just a couple of miles south of the Coco Banderos where we have a limited internet connection so will try and send this missive and gather any emails waiting for us.