I am free diving about 15 feet under the warm Pacific waters of Isla Iguana (named after the iridescent green reptiles that are so ubiquitous in the area) when I spot them: a school of Angel fish with my prey in the center of them. I take careful aim with my spear gun and fire. Immediately, the Dogtooth Snapper goes into a frenzy and begins darting around in a futile effort to dislodge the tip of the spear, which is designed to hook the fish once it passes through him.
But he puts up a good fight until we get him all the way into the boat, and I have to pay in blood for bringing him in. The sharp dorsal fin opens up a small but painful gash on the back of my leg. Gotta be more careful next time!
I am thrilled, partially because I know what good eating this will be, but also because it’s my very first shot with a spear gun, which was graciously loaned to me by my realtor, Tedd Tennis. He’s swimming just a few feet away and congratulates me on the kill.
We swap guns, and now I’m using a Hawaiian Sling, which is nothing more than a long spear with a big rubber band attached to the blunt end of it. The idea is you place the rubber band in the palm of your hand and stretch it until you can grab the spear near its tip. When you release, the spear shoots forward a few yards.
It may sound difficult, and I have to say it is, because I don’t get another fish that day, though Tedd reels in 3 Rainbow Runners using the better rig. I think my problem was that I kept going after larger species, including a fair size Grouper, using my small weapon, and it just couldn’t penetrate the thick scales effectively. Several times, after hitting a fish dead on, I wound up with nothing more than a silver dollar-sized scale on a barb.
This is not great reef diving, but it’s worth going to. We didn’t have the benefit of bright sun, but still we could identify a lot of colorful marine species even in the open water near the coral. When we got closer to the bottom, I was amazed to see a very large Moray Eel slithering across the sand to another grotto. Later, a small Eagle Ray cruised by, its white spots strobing as it flapped its wings. There were some White-Tipped Sharks under the ledges of the coral as well, so this isn’t a bad place to go, it’s just that I’ve been spoiled, having recently returned from Belize.
If you’re a diver, it’s an easy descent to only about 40 feet at most, and there is virtually no current, so have at it! There’s at least one good dive shop in town. If you’re on a budget, just pony up about $60 and you can have your own private captain motor you out to the island and wait for you on the surface. Just head down to where the fishing boats are beached by the Policia Estacion.
John Brock, the owner of Smiley’s, agrees to cook these babies up for us. He has the snapper fried in a skillet while the Runners are grilled to perfection. We share this meal with a Canadian expat I’ve met and Tedd’s gorgeous friend, who he keeps saying is not his girlfriend. Whatever you say, dude.
It’s the end of a great day, one I’ll never forget. We toast our good fortune over a glass of Chilean Chardonnay as the sun goes down on Pedasi.