One of the many things we’d learned while cruising in Maine was that freshly caught squid are delicious! Down at Ragged Island, Bahamas at Southside Bay we began spotting squid and were very excited about the prospect of a fresh batch of calamari. Once, we startled a squid while zooming around in the dinghy. The squid jumped clear out of the water, over the top of the dinghy, and splattered the bow of the dinghy with gooey ink! We’d learned from Percy, a local of Duncan Town, that the squid season was just beginning and that the creatures frequented areas that had grassy bottoms. Rode Trip was anchored in the perfect location! The bottom of Southside Bay was all grass, with a few sandy patches in which to drop the hook. And so the hunt began…
One evening, Brian and I had a light dinner in preparation for a late night snack. When darkness fell we turned on the spreader lights, got out the squid jig, and sat down to watch a movie and wait. Every few hours we’d go up on deck and scan the perimeter of the boat for squid. They are attracted to the spreader lights. Soon enough we spotted the first squid. Brian jigged the lure over the side while I spotlighted the squid with a flashlight. That jig must have looked yummy because the squid made a bee-line for the lure and was instantly snagged! Brian hauled up the squid, stalling just long enough over the water for the ink to miss the deck, and dropped it into a bucket. The squid’s color changed from maroon to clear.
Within 45 minutes we’d added a second squid to our catch and had just enough for a nice batch of calamari.
The squid were challenging to clean because the little suction cups on their tentacles stuck fast to Brian’s fingers.
Brian whipped up some tempura batter and smothered the ringlets of squid in the batter before dropping each ringlet into hot oil. Scrumptious!
Last night we had just finished up dinner, when we began to hear a splashing noise around the boat. It sounded very similar to what we had heard in Mud Hole. I decided that I wasn’t going to let all the fish get away this time and I turned on our bright decklights and headed topsides to set up the fishing pole. I saw a small school of “fish” go by and I cast my line in their direction. They weren’t interested. Very soon though the boat was being swarmed. It took me a moment to identify what they were because they were not moving like fish… we were surrounded by squid. Stephanie came up to take a look and more and more squid kept appearing until they were on all sides of the boat.
I spent some time trying to get them to grab on to any of the lures in my tackle box so that we could enjoy some calamari, but no luck. I also couldn’t catch one in a bucket although I think I was close. Just one more reason for us to get our hands on a casting net in the near future.
After watching the squid swarm the boat for about 45 minutes we started to head back inside. Just before going into the hatch we heard a loud noise just outside the circle of light cast by our deck lights. First we heard a large spashing noise, followed by what sounded like loud labored breathing. This stopped us in our tracks and we stood in the cockpit listening to what could only be a sea monster just outside the range of our lights. Soon we could hear the labored breathing coming from 3-4 directions all around the boat as well as much more regular splashing. This entire time the squid are still swimming around and around the boat. All of a sudden the squid scattered and we saw a grey shape come cutting through the water, stopping just off the side of our boat heading back out into the darkness. It didn’t take long before we started seeing more and more grey shapes in the water, the seals had found the squid. Our attracting the squid to our lights allowed the seals to have quite the feast!