Lunch on an island

Last night we asked Suliet if it would be possible for Eduardo to pack lunches for us today so we would not have to come back to the Avalon to eat. The end of the week is quickly approaching and we’re all becoming more aware of exactly how few hours we have left on the water and we want to make the most of it. Suliet said it would not be a problem. She would instruct Eduardo to make up some sandwiches in the morning and she would tell the guides that we would go out fishing after a morning dive and stay out the entire day.

The boys got back from diving around ten and by ten-thirty we were back out on the water fishing for bonefish. In the past we have had our lunches on an old lobster barge parked in the mangroves but the last hurricane that came through the Jardines a couple of years ago sank the barge. Instead the guides had decided that we would gather around one or so on a little island where there was once a fisherman’s hut, built long, long ago. The guides have carved out an area on the white sand where the hut was and have used the scrap to set up a little impromptu benches and a table. They’ve also hung a couple of hammocks from trees in the shade right down on the beach.

Cam snoozes after lunch on the island. Photo by David Lansing.

I was fishing with Cam and Fletch was with Greg. Hardy and Nick were off somewhere with Jimmi, looking for tarpon, and we weren’t sure they’d make it back to the island so they took their own lunches and sure enough we didn’t see them. It was a fine spot for a picnic. There was just enough speckled shade to keep the hot sun off of you and the sand beneath our feet was white and fine. By the time Cam and I got there, Fletch and Greg were already eating. We had some cheese sandwiches and rice with chicken and cold Kristal beers. After eating, Fletch and Cam made hollow spots in the sand and stretched out under the shade. Keko and Coki swung in the hammocks, chattering in Spanish, talking about the areas they’d taken us to go fishing and what we’d seen. A couple of hermit crabs came by while everyone was taking a little siesta, carrying their homes on their backs, looking for scraps from our sandwiches.

I was just about ready to fall asleep in the shade when Coki came up and said it was time to go. “Five minutes more,” I said, keeping my eyes closed. He looked at the rest of the boys who were all conked out as well. “Okay,” said Coki. “Just five minutes.”

And sure enough, in exactly five minutes Coki was back, gathering up the garbage and the leftovers from our lunch. Time to go, he said. We are here to fish, not sleep. We gathered up our packs, helped load the garbage into the skiffs, and pushed off from the island. “Now, my friend,” said Coki over the roar of the outboard engine, “we go for tarpon.”

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