Handling the spear was something unlike I’ve ever experienced. I was nervous, afraid that I might accidently spear a rock, or even my foot. Regardless of how clumsy I felt, I practiced in the water, pulling the rubber band forward, grasping the pole, and releasing all in one smooth movement. Still wary, I glanced down into the depths of about thirty feet, having drifted from the deeper waters, and spotted a pink and orange, very plump hogfish. My parents always told me how the hogfish is the best tasting fish in the ocean, so I couldn’t bear staying at the surface any longer. I kicked my fins upward and sliced through the water with one thought in mind: spearing that fish. His eyes moved upward, and I could sense his confusion. I then went through the motions I had practiced at the surface, pointed directly above its gills, and WHAM! I hit the bull’s eye! Swimming up quickly to relieve my lungs, I met my parents, both cheering and smiling from ear to ear; I had killed my first fish.
After we had taken in as much sun as we possibly could have, I started up the engine and my parents and I headed back to the island. We reminisced on the past years we had travelled to the Bahamas, and I found it funny how much the island we usually stay on has changed. I recall travelling to West End when I was younger where the only “restaurant”, if you could call it that, was a small grill managed by a local Bahamian whose face was always adorned with the biggest smile. His happiness contagious, I still distinctly remember helping him prepare the food he served to the travelers. Once a simple island with glistening sand, gleaming arrays of coral reefs, and the most humble of people, West End has changed greatly into a beautiful resort, where even John Travolta has a house! This small island is now known as Old Bahamas Bay (http://www.oldbahamabay.com/), the food now is served at five star restaurants, and it’s a “luxury ocean-front resort” but I still have the local friends that live in the town nearby. We pulled into the marina and I grabbed my fish by the gills.
As soon as I felt the smooth sand in between my toes I ran for the village. I wanted to show the native Bahamian children that I had become so close to the huge fish that I had speared all on my own. They were all very proud of me, even though most of them had been spearing fish with sharpened rocks and sticks for the majority of their lives. One of the older boys, Foster, came over to examine the fish. Through the Bahamian accent I had learned to comprehend, he muttered “dang, that’s one big fish for a white girl!” He taught me how to “clean” the fish, which consisted of a razor-sharp knife and an incredibly pungent odor but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the pieces of fish that were “no good” (as Foster had called it) hit the turquoise water and immediately dissipate amongst the kaleidoscope of tropical fish.
I was so proud of myself for supplying dinner — I even offered to clean the dishes.
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