Florida, spring of 2001, the timing belt trip

Once again Olivier and me packed the car and headed for Florida. This time the ride was made difficult by the fact that I blew my timing belt in Nowhere South Carolina. After meeting with the very friendly folks of some regional militia, eating their hotdogs, drinking their soft drinks, exchanging conspiration theories and post-apocalyptic survival tips, my car got towed to Charleston (120 miles). We left the car there for repairs since no one could do the work on a weekend, rented a car and pushed south. This added six hours to the ride but we got there.

Upon arrival, we sort of noticed that the wind was blowing hard and figured that this trip was probably doomed, but why worry?

Our plan for Sunday was to attend the Longfins' BBQ at Mike Stalnaker's house. Our heads still firmly stuck in our backside, walking as in a dream because of the car ride and sleep deprivation, we met a hole lot of people, exchanged lies, looked at guns, almost got sea sick from watching the wobbling image of a Canary Island spearfishing video.

Because of the wind, not many people were thinking of going out. Fortunately, the wind direction was great for beach dives, so we dove 6-7 hours a day from shore hauling flags, fish and extra guns. My main objective for this trip was to learn to recognize the different snappers, figure out how to get them and just familiarize myself further with the conditions in Florida. I'll spare you the day by day account of the trip but will make an attempt at making an informative post.

Lessons learned:

Mutton snappers patrol patches of reef and can easily be shot if one waits on the sand long enough. The problem is that everyone must know this and consequently mutton snappers are often under the minimal legal size limit.

Gray snappers are not easy to approach and rarely turn back to give you a chance to drive a shaft into it. It helps to be comfortable with long and quick shots.

It's very hard to get a head shot on a Cero. Probably due to the size of the head and the fact that is always moving.

Hogfish are dumb as hell. They make the totaugs seem intelligent. Too bad they are so good eating.

Big margies will always use their bodies to shield other fish.

Sheepsheads are not too keen on getting speared even if they are not a major game fish.