Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Got it figured out!

Still not a keeper

With weather calm, low sea state, I decided to take the dinghy on an outing over to South Bimini in search of more fertile grounds for the elusive conch.  Dropped the anchor in about 15 feet of crystal clear water and jumped in fully armed for conch finding.   There to my surprise were little mounts sticking up on the bottom with little spines sticking out of them.  With trepidation, I got to the bottom, picked up the spiny shell and it was a conch about a foot across.  The mother load!!  I found it!  Back at the surface I examined it further and found it was full of sand!  No animal.  Back to the bottom to get more, and all of them had previously expired.  I was so depressed.  Here finally figuring out how to do it and I was still at ground 0.

One issue I was concerned about was getting back into the dinghy.  Back on the sand flats, one merrily stood on the bottom, gave a slight hop and in the dinghy you go.  Out here in 15 feet of water, that was not so easy.  Back in my younger diving days, using the flippers to kick into the dinghy was no problem, however, 40 years later and 50 pounds heavier, that was not to happen.  Fortunately, having thought this issue out a little, I had rigged the bow line to hang over the oar lock, giving me something to grab hold of as I attempted to launch myself into the dinghy.  I am happy to report that since I am writing this, that idea worked well.  Still, no keepable conch.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bimini Bay

With 2 dinghies out looking for conk, Ray was good to his word, and I was good to my established pattern.  Just east of Alice Town is a large area known as Bimini Bay, also the Sand Flats which is about 20% sand and 80% sea grass and about 1 foot at low tide and 3 to 5 feet deep at high tide. 

Bimini Bay

Need to go over a few hours before and after high tide so the motor of the dinghy doesn’t run aground.  Don’t ask how I know this.  Anchor the dinghy, jump in with snorkel gear, and start looking.  Ray said the conch hang out in the sandy area and frequently sit with the spines of their houses sticking out of the sand.  Ray was fairly successful, and I was not.  Score at the end of the day was Ray-3 keepers, bob -1 to small.  So after the exciting day, bob still zero.  

Sand Flats, high tide, right off Marina

One part that was cool was drifting over the bottom with a slight current.   Water was clear, sea grass sticking up, and mounds of sand formed by some animal scattered about…felt like a bird flying just above the trees.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dinghy Hole Update

The dinghy is worth chatting about.  Evidently, during our dinghy sortie last week, as the dinghy got bounced around, a conch shell got wedged between the bottom and the starboard inflatable tube.  As durable as the Hypalon material is, it is the conch that won out.   

The fix was not bad.  Reading the directions was a bit of a pain, as they were translated from Korean to English by a non-native English speaking person.  Smear a little bit of hypalon repair glue on a 3 inch diameter patch and hold in place over the hole for 10 hours.  OK.  I did about 15 minutes and that seem to do the job, along with an over nighter for the final cure.  Pumped up the dingy the following day and all is well.  Lesson learned…if you go after conch, make sure you have a bucket to put it in.

Speaking of conch, getting it and cleaning it are also on my honey-do list. I added it when Peggy was not looking.  Talk to the local folks and they wave their hand in the general direction of a sand flat saying they, meaning conch, are all over the place.  I’m not sure which sand flat they are pointing to, but there is only one, and 3 hours of snorkeling later, conch are not all over the place.   By the way, the dinghy works much better without a hole in it.

Ray off Sanity came over when I returned to look at my haul of conch.  After getting over the embarrassment of having an empty bucket, he said come with me tomorrow and I will show you how it is done.  I couldn’t do worse, so was looking forward to it.