We were diving off a small, remote island called Mayaguana, the easternmost island in the district of the Bahamas. The diving there wasn’t that good. There’s about 30 local residents and not much in the way of services. They have medical folks who show up about once a month. I’m swimming along and there’s a good size Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) walking across the sand so I grabbed him. He didn’t make it to the dinner table, I let him go.
The wreck of the ‘Hermes‘ is also a popular Bermuda wreck site. There was a large Lion Fish waiting for me when I arrived. Shortly after that he was speared and later met me for lunch. Lion fish are delicious! The ‘Hermes’ was a U.S. Coast Guard WWII buoy tender that was sunk as an artificial reef in 1985.
Fore more information about Lion Fish in Bermuda, check out the Lion Fish Task Force.
Here’s a drink recipe I learned about while in Bora Bora. It was very popular there as it is in many other tropical places. It’s a very refreshing drink for the heat of the South Pacific.
- 3 oz. White Rum
- 1 oz. Triple Sec
- 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
- Two slices pineapple
- Four or five lime wedges
- Six to eight mint leaves
- One mint sprig for garnish
Muddle the pineapple, lime and mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add the other ingredients (the liquor), shake well and strain into a highball glass. Add the mint sprig for garnish. Enjoy!
This is another Catalina favorite… think of it as a milkshake for adults! There are several bars on the island that make this drink and the recipe can vary a little. As you can see, there is no buffalo milk in the drink… I don’t think I would even try to milk a buffalo! I understand they get pissed off easily!
- 1/2 shot Crème de Cacao dark
- 1/2 shot Crème de Cacao white
- 1/2 shot Kahlua
- 1 shot vodka
- 1/2 shot cream
- 1/2 piece of a fresh banana
- 1 sprinkle of nutmeg
- 1 whipped cream topping
Add everything except the last two items in a blender half full of ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a glass. Add a dab of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg on top.
I thought it might be fun to include some photos from a variety of hunting and fishing adventures to the web site. In doing so, I realize there are many people who oppose hunting. If that’s your position that’s fine, you are welcome to do as you wish with your life… and I will do as I wish with mine.
Hunting has been a part of the history of this country since the beginning. There have been times in the past when the approach to hunting was wrong. Hunting the buffalo to near extinction… hunters just shooting from moving trains was unethical and just wrong, even when looked at from the context of the times they lived. Today, hunters payfor the privilege to hunt and support a thriving outdoor industry by paying license fees and buying expensive equipment. Just go into a Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop outlet and see the crowds of people spending money or go down to your local harbor. Think about the cost of those boats, the upkeep and maintenance, the fishing equipment, the permits and fees… all so they can go out on the water and catch a few fish. I’m not talking about commercial fishing; I’m talking about the guy who is allowed to catch two salmon.
Hunters and fisherman are conservationists involved in a recreational activity. They support laws to protect the wilderness and want to see the animals they hunt managed so they can thrive. Hunting and fishing should be viewed as the harvest of animals for consumption. In other words, if you shoot it you should eat it. Obey the rules and take only what is allowed.
There are unethical hunters out there… poachers, who give hunting a bad name. They break the rules, hunt out of season, take more game than allowed, don’t purchase their hunting/fishing license, etc. These are the people who should be reported and prosecuted because they are destroying a valuable natural resource.
My relatives owned ranches where deer and other animals were a supplemental food source. They were not always available and they were not to be wasted. That philosophy was handed down to me and so I don’t hunt animals that don’t end up on the dinner table. This is an ethical view of hunting in my opinion because the animal is not being wasted. Many people view hunting as killing and that it’s cruel. I don’t believe there is any way to take any animal’s life that doesn’t involve some level of cruelty. Just go to a slaughter house to see how cows or pigs are killed and butchered if you don’t believe me. Yet the very people who might turn down a deer burger based on misplaced moral objections will gladly eat a steak or pork rib. Maybe it’s easier when you’re removed from the process. Meat comes from animals. It’s not just an item packaged in cellophane at the local grocery store.
While the end product is a dead animal, the majority of time hunting does not result in the taking of game. It’s not as simple as just walking out into the woods and shooting something. It takes a great deal of skill, training, and practice to become a successful hunter. Most hunts are just that… a hunt to find something to shoot, often without a shot even being fired. The same philosophy applies to fishing. If you’re not going to eat it, let it go. There is nothing wrong with catch and release. I have been on fishing trips where I have caught several trout and released all but a few that were cooked for dinner.
Enjoy hunting and fishing responsibly.
When I sit and write it’s always important to stay well hydrated and have a good cigar. My favorite cigar is the Arturo Fuentes Hemingway Signature and as far as drinks go… anything with rum or Jack Daniels will do! Sometimes when people come over and get to experimenting with concoctions at my bar we come up with some tasty drinks. Here’s a few to try out.
2 oz. Jack Daniels
4 oz. Pepsi (use the Pepsi made with REAL sugar)
Splash of Grenadine
Serve over ice
Mix the Jack and Coke over ice, add a splash of grenadine and a cherry. Done!
The Catalina Cocktail
I was shopping at my local Safeway/Vons store and saw a product in the juice section. It was a mix of Orange, Peach and Mango. I looked at that container and it seemed to just cry out, “ADD RUM!” So I bought it and brought it home. It can make this quick tropical drink and is named for Catalina Island where I spend a great deal of time.
4 oz. Rum
4 oz. Orange, Peach & Mango Juice
Get a glass of any size… preferably large (at least 12 oz.) and fill it with ice. Fill it half way with rum and the other half juice. Mix and garnish with a lime wedge.
* I always use dark rum, usually Cruzan, Meyers, or Plantation. If you like the spiced rums then it’s Sailor Jerry or Kraken… and if you want, you can always add a float of Bacardi 151.
This juice makes a great smoothie as well… which you can also add rum to.
1 ½ cups of juice
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen Non Fat Vanilla Yogurt
Blend in the blender until frothy… add rum to taste!
Lizard Key Mojito
The Pirate Mojito
When I wrote Lizard Key I wanted to give the pirate, Nick Roberts, a signature drink. Just as James Bond has his vodka martini ‘shaken, not stirred’ Nick Roberts has his mojito, ‘dark rum, not too sweet’… sort of like a pirate’s soul.
2 oz. DARK rum (Gosling’s Black Rum or a dark rum of your choice)
Two mint sprigs
Juice of ½ a fresh lime
½ oz. sugar cane syrup… remember, not too sweet.
Place the mint, lime juice and cane syrup in a 12 oz. tumbler (make sure it’s a sturdy glass!) Gently muddle the mix with a wooden muddler… not too hard, you don’t want to shred the leaves just bruise them to release the essential oils. Add some ice and rum, briefly shake and top it off with the club soda. Add mint leave or lime wedge as a garnish.
One of my friends in Key West is Bahama Bob Leonard. As it turned out Bob and I went to rival High Schools across town from each other in California and at one time were both SCCA racecar drivers. Bob has written two books which I consider the definitive works on cocktails… especially tropical cocktails; Cocktails and Tales and Cocktails and Tales Too. Great receipts and great history stories. If you’re ever in Key West stop in at the Rum Bar on Duval Street and have him mix you a drink or check him out at BahamaBobLeonard.com.