Taste of Cobalt Coast
Cayman isn’t just the culinary capital of the Caribbean, you know. We’ve also got some of the most beautiful and pristine diving sites in the world. Folks from all over come to the Cayman Islands to experience the world famous Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman, hang out with the iconic Nassau grouper at Bert Brothers Boulders in the Brac and explore the depths of Cayman’s newest Marine Park – the sunken U.S.S. Kittiwake off Seven Mile Beach.
One of the first things I did after moving to the Cayman Islands was become a certified open water diver. I’ve seen so many cool things down there: coral in every color imaginable, lobsters, conch with their wonky eyes, neat fish in all shapes and sizes, sharks, stingrays and moray eels bigger than me! Cayman’s reefs are home to a wonderland of beauty, mystery and adventure.
|Photo by Cobalt Coast’s Dora Valdez
Unfortunately, our reefs are under siege by this guy: the lionfish. Yea, I know…he’s very pretty. He’s also an invasive eating machine that decimates local fish populations. This Indo-Pacific Lionfish showed up in Cayman about 4 years ago and has since managed to wreak havoc on the local reef system. To fight this menace, dozens of newly-licensed lionfish cullers can now use special spearguns (illegal under normal circumstances) to help them round up a fish that has no natural predators in these waters.
Cue Cobalt Coast.
Cobalt Coast Resort & Suites
are located on the northern tip of West Bay on Grand Cayman and they know exactly how serious a threat the lionfish is to Cayman; both for to environment and to tourism. At this year’s Taste of Cayman
, Dora Valdez with Cobalt Coast will be participating in a lionfish demonstration. She’ll teach visitors how the fish are caught and how they’re safety filleted. The ‘mane’ of slender stingers that inspired the name ‘lionfish’ are also quite poisonous.
For this week’s Taste of Cayman
feature, Dora and I headed under the sea to catch us a lionfish!
|Photos by Dora Valdez
A few years ago, it was a rare treat to see a lionfish on a dive. Things have certainly changed. Within 15 minutes we spotted a monster specimen and Dora did her thing.
Despite getting proper speared, this lionfish managed to escape. I wish I could say we didn’t find any more but Dora noticed an equally gigantic one a few minutes later. This one wasn’t so lucky.
So what do you do once you’ve successfully caught an evil lionfish?
…to be continued.