Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spanish Wells Bahamas

a proud fishing fleet....
Stopping in at Spanish Wells the last few days of March is a special reward as the Lobster season closes on the 31st and the entire fishing fleet returns to port. The boats are spectacular and the excitement of the town is electric. Everyone is so proud of their fishing fleet and the teams who jointly own and operate these lobster harvesting rigs. The fleet stays out on the Bahama Banks for 3-4 months to work their "Lobster Hotels," diving for lobster 10 hours a day. The large ship anchors nearby while the 4-6 chase boats run with two men each. The chase boat has a driver and a scuba diver on a hookah rig. Between stops, the diver never gets back into the boat but rather kneels on a small platform next to the outboard while the driver rapidly moves to their GPS points for the next lobster hotel dive.

Lobster dive boat, fins and hooks to harvest lobsters
The diver drops down quickly to the lobster hotel which is a 4' x 8' corrugated steel sheet on legs. He rests one side of the hotel on his shoulder and, using a steel hook, pulls out the largest lobsters, leaving the egg bearing females. The diver returns to the surface with 10 or more lobsters, holding them by their antennae. and tosses them into the stern of the boat. The diver then kneels on the platform and the driver jets off to the next hotel. This is very hard work, from sun up to sun down. The lobsters are cleaned and the tails are immediately flash frozen and stored in the bilge freezer. Three to four months later, the ship returns with thousands of pounds of frozen lobster tails. Welcome to Spanish Wells, a proud, hard working, close knit community like no other in the Bahamas. This was our first visit here and we will make sure we always stop here, especially the end of March to see the fleet return.

Here is a photo essay of the Spanish Wells Fishing Fleet and charming local architecture

Lobster dive boats, notice the kneeling platforms on the port side
The scuba diver kneels on this as the driver moves to the next lobster hotel



Pinder's local ferry service


When in Spanish Wells, you eat LOBSTER
Our boat buddy Dixey is our GRILL MASTER

Fine Champagne needed for a lobster dinner
The Sea Ray, one of the returning Lobster boats


Lobster fishing boat, Spanish Queen II, with two of her dive boats
Water storage and the fishing fleet

Offloading frozen lobster tails in long bags
The local fish retailer






If I were renting a Spanish Wells cottage, this is #1 on the island

If I were renting a Spanish Wells cottage, this is #1 on the island

If I were renting a Spanish Wells cottage, this is STILL #1 on the island!




Boat Buddy JULIE made us a beautiful gift, a large rope trivet
Thank you so much JULIE 

A golf cart is the way you run to the Methodist Church on Sunday mornings
This is the original IP-380 CATSPAW, now named HARMONIUM
Carey is the original owner and now sails IP Cruiser CATWPAW

Nina on IP38 MOONDANCE on anchor at sunset

The morning sunrise with IP38 Alpenglow, IP38 Moondance, IP32 Morning Grace

A few moments later into the sunrise

Conch horn at sunset. Thank you CAREY, for my conch horn!



Nina developing her conch horn skills

Radeen and Hayden at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven, the only transient marina

Sunset from our slip at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven

Radeen and I would both have to say, that Spanish Wells is a mandatory location and could spend a full week or more here. We have only started to discover the many aspects of this great town and the friendly people. One example of friendliness was the young mother at the grocery store who sent Radeen and Julie to her yard to pick fresh basil. Add in a ferry trip across the Devil's Backbone to Harbor Island and we have much to explore and learn. We will be sure to return to Spanish Wells!

2 comments:

S/V Xperience said...

We spent Christmas 2011 in Spanish Wells. Ther wer fireworks everywhere and we loved it.

Nancy Fritz said...

Just fantastic! Love the stories of a whole different world.