We are a family of 5 who have done the Caribbean cruises a number of times since there’s something for our teenagers and great beaches for the parents. We are all active so quickly get bored with the cattle car tours, like Sting-ray City. Lobstering sounded different so despite the lack of competition in this activity, we thought we’d try it with Fat Fish Adventures. We’ve had lots of cruise highlights over the years but lobstering with Fat Fish stands tall among them.
First, potential fish hunters should know that Peter and Justin are not there to coddle you. Lobstering is real work and not for armchair athletes. Since your hosts want you to succeed at catching these shellfish, they pay more attention to your equipment fitting well than whether you brought enough suntan lotion with you. Bully for them. They focus on making sure you can swim well, dive about 10 feet below the surface, and hold your breath for at least 30 seconds while snorkeling. They are polite to those who would prefer to soak up the sun and drink water on the boat, but focus their attention on those who are keen on catching lobsters. Peter and Justin do the hard part of locating the lobsters, scaring them from their cover, and hopefully into your area where you are expected to deftly snare their tail before your lungs explode for lack of air. You are given this 2-3 foot long pole with a loop on the end. You are supposed to maneuver the wire behind the lobster’s tail and pull it taught to snare the crawler. It really is tough and our family felt lucky to have caught one among the 5 of us. Peter and Justin obliged, after we all tried a few times, in catching the other 5 lobsters so that we could all head for shore and lunch. Fat Fish adheres to a strict 6 lobster limit to make sure that the waters aren’t over fished. The whole boat trip takes about an hour and a half but you are tired by the time it’s over since you’ve been swimming hard. You are more than ready to move on to the eating part of the trip.
The restaurant visit was the real surprise. Peter drove us back to the Grand Cayman town and delivered us to a reserved table at a restaurant on the water. This location is right in the heart of Grand Cayman and is built on a small private pier, which means that you are really “on the water”. So it’s a pretty special place, crowded with tourists, all enjoying themselves at lunch. The deal Fat Fish has with the restaurant is that the restaurant keeps half the lobsters in exchange for cooking and serving your party the other half. What Peter is very protective of, and the restaurant honors, is that Peter dictates which lobsters are the ones you get to enjoy. Of our 6 lobsters, 2 were about twice the size (around 6 pounds each) as the others and Peter made sure those bigger ones were ours. There’s a lot of pomp and circumstances when the server brings out the big plates with the 3 lobsters, prepared 3 different ways – curried, with garlic butter, and thermidor. So when the plates arrive, they are of varied colors and quite attractive. Very shortly thereafter and predictably, the other lobsters we had brought had been spoken for by other diners. It’s hard to say which dish was the best because they were all so good. We are Maine lobster people but these lobsters rivaled anything we’ve ever had in the Boston vicinity.
We invited Peter to join us for a drink and we were delighted when he accepted. What followed was an amazing series of stories about living in the Caribbean. Peter has traveled extensively in the area, including to Cuba, and he is quite the story teller. We are still laughing about his tales. He graciously offered to pay for his drinks when he was done, which we politely declined. We waddled back to the ship and could only muster a feeble attempt at dinner that night.
In summary, for those who are looking for something slightly different, a bit strenuous, and very memorable, we can’t recommend Fat Fish enough. And for those few who would prefer to have an excursion pandering to your every touristy whims, well, that’s what the ship excursions are for.
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