End of the line on Ambergris Caye. Tranquility Bay Resort, the edge of Basil Jones Cut, Robles Point and the north end of the island in general.
The elusive Rocky Point Reef, 1987
by Jayson Forman
It was a Saturday morning and I was pretending to still be asleep while my dad called out my name repeatedly with no response.. then I heard him whisper, “I guess he doesn’t want to go to Rocky Point!”
I’d never jumped out of bed so fast after hearing that…
“What time are we leaving dad?”
“Oh, so you are awake?”
I’d always dreamed of going to see the legend of the “reef momentarily kissing the shore” but never had the chance to get there. This was to be my first trip there.
He explained to me that there was no guarantee because he wasn’t sure what wind conditions would be like.
Sure enough, as we approached the Robles Point area, the winds picked up and my dad announced that we would be stopping at Robles Point because visibility conditions further north would not be favorable.
I was so disappointed that I didn’t feel like scuba diving with them anymore. I decided to snorkel alone. My dad warned me that there are reef sharks in the area so I took the spear gun with me pretending that I knew how to use one.
So I’m snorkeling by myself many yards away from the dive crew and couldn’t help notice how many schools of hogfish were in the area. I then remembered how good it tasted when my uncle Alan Forman had barbecued them during a family picnic so I aimed my spear gun & caught one on the first try. It’s not that I was skilled at it. I had never used a speargun before. There were just so many that it would have been hard not to catch one.
They’re surprisingly sturdy and it wouldn’t slow down once I caught it. I started making my way back to the boat while dragging the squirmy fish at the end of the spear. I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye but didn’t see anything when I turned around. I kept swimming when I felt a tug on the spear. Looked around and that’s when I saw a giant moray eel trying to eat the hogfish. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was close to the boat by then.
Next thing I saw was the hogfish maneuvering all different directions trying to avoid the eel when it suddenly swam upside down and towards my direction with the eel picking up speed and now they’re both coming towards me.
I don’t think I’ve ever swam so fast in my life. I even considered dropping the speargun but was so close to the boat that I decided to take a gamble.
I climbed up the ladder with the gun in hand and as I pulled up the line with the spear, I had a big grin on my face seeing the hogfish still attached as it was about to break the surface….. Yey!!!
Then my grin turned to disappointment when I saw that the rest of the fish was missing….. I still got to enjoy about 60% of the hogfish but Mr. Giant Moray eel kept the rest.
When my dad and the crew finally arrived, I told my dad what happened and he had the audacity to ask,
“So I see you’ve met Charlie then?”
“The 4 foot eel. I forgot to mention it.”
“How do you forget a beast like that?”
“Oh, I didn’t forget about Charlie. I just forgot to mention it”
Then he showed me his index finger and upon closer inspection, I saw the old scars from what looked like 2 puncture wounds.
“Consider the hogfish a small price to pay son.”
I never did get a chance to go to Rocky Point but, just like my dad, I’ve never forgotten about Charlie..
Photograph by Conch Creative
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