Our adventure to South Andros got off to a shaky start. I wish I would have known it was going to end even worse. During our departure date a severe thunderstorm blanketed Ft. Lauderdale. As the relentless storm raged on all around the airport, our pilot nervously walked into the small holding area where we were instructed to wait. He introduced himself and claimed that in a matter of minutes we would be cleared for take off and would be boarding the plane. Standing no more than 5’2″ with a clean-shaven baby face, he appeared to be in his late teens. Without even a mention of severe weather he was by no means reassuring.
Before long we were escorted to the tarmac where an aging commuter plane greeted us. The weathered aircraft appeared to have survived a recent crash landing. A door hinge was shorn completely off, torn cushions were bandaged with duct tape, and the ventilation system was out of whack. But hey, hungry schools of bonefish were waiting and I wasn’t going to let a silly little plane spoil our fun.
With a Snap-On tool chest for a medical cabinet and sterilization still a foreign concept, the good ole doctor proceeded to tear my chin open with a hacksaw…
As we taxied to runway four-niner, with my knees crunched up against the back of the young pilot’s backrest, I could clearly see him flipping the pages of some sort of manual while simultaneously flicking switches and pushing buttons. At this stage, I was alarmed and couldn’t help but ask, “Have you flown this airplane before? Actually, have you flown any airplane before?”
Long story short, we made it safely to Bimini where we dropped off two passengers before commencing on the final leg of our journey to South Andros. My wife and I were certainly relieved when our feet were firmly planted on Terra firma.
Once on the island, we were whisked to the lodge and greeted with a warm welcome of Bahamian hospitality. It’s amazing how quickly fresh conch fritters and a pitcher of Goomba punch can calm your nerves.
After two frustrating days dodging thunderstorms on the flats, a relaxing Sunday was welcomed. However, since I can never seem to get enough I decided to walk the shoreline at dawn with fly rod in hand. Somehow I had convinced myself that I might be able to pick off a couple of stray bones cruising the trough. As I walked down the stairs of our waterfront cottage I was greeted by a steady 20-knot breeze and light drizzle. This alone should have been a clear indication to call it quits. Instead, I proceeded to make my way to the beach where I peeled off a bunch of line in preparation of my first cast. Not thinking, I drove the fly directly into the wind in an attempt to get the wrinkles out. Just as I completed my backcast, out in the distance I could clearly see my pretty Clouser rocketing right back towards my face at the speed of sound! Before I could even react, the fly literally drilled itself into my chin. Ouch!
Firmly implanted, I cut the fly off and headed back to the cottage where I stood in front of a mirror with pliers in hand for nearly an hour. Twisting and turning, pulling and yanking…the fly was stuck! Did I mention my supportive wife couldn’t stop laughing?
With no other option, I called the front desk for assistance and before long I was driven to a remote part of Andros where the island witch doctor was gracious enough to see me in his home office. With a Snap-on tool chest for a medical cabinet and sterilization still a foreign concept, the good ole doctor proceeded to tear my chin open with a hacksaw before ultimately removing the tiny fly with a pair of rusty channel locks.
As the doctor’s wife collected my hundred-dollar donation, she asked if I had ever heard of the Bahamian bonefish myth. What myth? No one ever told me anything about any bonefish myth. Evidently there is an unspoken rule across the Bahamian archipelago. NEVER attempt to go bonefishing anywhere in The Bahamas without hiring a local guide, or risk the wrath of black magic.