by Don Roberts
Late Summer 2009
It was suspended motionless in the cleft of a coral reef, a slot where the citrine shallows deepened to a bruised blue. All barracuda give the onlooker pause, but this particular specimen – a great silver cylinder of muscle that looked to go 50, maybe 60 pounds, cusped with a frowning jaw held agape by a cram of X-Acto Blade teeth – made my neck hairs tingle.
Earlier, back at the dock in Duncan Town, Alvin Munroe, my ad hoc guide for the day, had cradled my shiny new “big game” fly rod and reel in his thick, spatulate hands, gently rocking it up and down to gauge its heft and sinew. He’d pursed his lips and shrugged – a barely disguised skepticism followed by a big “whatever” grin, one gold tooth glinting. “You de boss, mon … Don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no fly poles, mon. But I does know where dem fishes be.” No wonder. As a fifth generation lobster diver, Munroe had been plying the waters off Ragged Island – the farthest out of the “out-islands” in the Bahamian archipelago – since growing tall enough to reach the tiller on an outboard.