The Big Adventure – Day 10 Tuesday 1st May

The shipmates have been very busy building an Ark to save the animals in Key West.

They're really not likely to get a lot of sympathy from this side of the pond, two or three dampish days and the world has ended. They should have been back here in the UK during April to fully understand rain !

Admiral Marlow has been coming to the Keys for almost 40 years and never have we had so many bad weather days. Bad fishing and bad weather go hand in hand in Key West.

Day 10 saw just three boats leave City Marina, we were on them; the sailfish fleet all stayed at home for good reason. It  is May 1st and start of the Grouper season, we all know what that means, the fish also know. Not to be put off the A team soldiered on with Captain Bill aboard Coolcast. With him were Admiral Marlow and two new shipmates Dave and Ian.

The wind had dropped to a mere 30mph, which is only a breeze compared to the day before, it was raining as usual. We went to our secret yellowtail spot and soon had them queuing up behind the boat in the chum line, it was like a sea of yellow.

The Admiral had the grouper rod out but passed it over to a younger man after quickly losing 3-0 to the groupers. It looked at one time that he might be winning with one that pulled him around, it looked like he might win but no, the beast made the coral yet again. However it didn’t get any better and soon it was 10-0 to the enemy. We use 50lbs outfits for these beasts; the problem is the big coral heads where they cut you off.

After catching enough yellow tails we had a special plan B.  Captain Bill was going to take us to his secret grouper spot known only to him. A quick 15 mile run with the waves crashing over us and torrential rain, we arrived at the secret location known only to Bill and no other white men.

I now know why, we never had a bite !!. The forecast said showers but if what we had were showers I would hate to see it rain, as visibility was now down to 50 yards as we set of on Plan C to another location.

We did catch several small groupers but no keepers so it was the 20-mile run back to the barn at Key West. Another very hard day for the A team.

It was a similar story for the other team mates only they got wetter because two of them never brought their water proofs. Can’t mention names for fear of embarrassment and reprisals. Lets just say it was the sandwich makers known as Lemon Geoff and Two hooks Chris his brother. (I have to be nice because they do make brilliant sandwiches.)

We had loads of Yellowtail Fillets so tonight we were off to the Raw Bar for a fantastic dinner. We were all hoping it would be less eventful than the China Garden the night before when poor old Chief Purser has a nasty scare.

While the rest of the crew went directly to the restaurant, CP decided to get the groceries and bread for the following day’s sandwiches. After the short walk to Publix, just a few doors along, he loaded the shopping in the back of our Ford Explorer – a real pimp-mobile if we ever saw one. Then, in a fit of hyper-activity he decided to run to the restaurant to burn off some calories to make room for the feast.

After making the first 50m with no trouble he jumped up the kerb onto a gravel patch with a  palm tree growing from it. What he didn’t see, as it was dark, were 4 metal rods sticking out of the ground and he landed smack on one with his left foot. The metal went through his Croc and sliced a chunk from his foot before sliding between the little toe and the one next to it, leaving a nasty wound.

It doesn't look too bad from here !

Luckily, David’s wife Libby is a nurse and she administered first aid at the dining table. Unfortunately there was no-one to sort out the pool of blood soaking into the carpet.

Even though he was drifting in and out of consciousness, The Chief Purser still managed a grimace for the camera...a showman through and through

He is still able to walk but may never run again – not because he won’t be able to but he now realises just how stupid it is at his advanced age.

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