Sailing Adventures of Free Spear-It

The Goat

This story wasn’t to be told; mostly for fear that someone from PETA would see this and, er, get our goat. Then I realized these are the same people who gather in mass, strip naked in the streets, dowse themselves in ketchup, and then roll themselves in Saran wrap
to protest animal cruelty. It seems like a huge waste of Saran wrap to me, which isn’t biodegradable by the way, and ketchup, which probably has animal byproducts in the coloring.  But, anyway, if you’re from PETA we just want you to know that we love animals: they’re tasty – especially with ketchup.

With our Canadian guest safely on board (who was probably being tracked by the Puerto Rican Customs agents), we made an expedient departure from Puerto Plata, DR. The wind was to our backs as we made tracks to the Bahamas over the next day and a half sail. Though not particularly rough, the waves built to a height that was as large as any I have seen. I spent hours admiring the large rollers that where helping push our boat forward for the next 30 hours, all the while trying to guess the size of each wave and not coming up with any numbers that made sense – we’ll call them 15 foot waves with the occasional, ” holy crap, did you see that one!??” thrown in. These were the seas we had expected in the Mona Passage.

We landed in the perfectly clear waters of Little Inagua, all parts of the boat still attached, and all passengers still aboard. Looking around at the miles of turquoise and aqua blue waters I could only think how good it felt to be back in the Bahamas. Since this was our first landing in the Bahamas this trip, we headed to customs for check-in, only to remember that we didn’t have any cash left, having donated it all to the officials in the Dominican Republic. Luckily, Chris had brought cash with him, and covered our check-in cost. Our time on Little Inagua was short but thoroughly enjoyed. We all took a walk down to the lighthouse where we took in a spectacular view of the island. Sugar even made the climb up the spiral stairs with us. Unfortunately, she couldn’t climb the last leg which was a ladder so she missed out on the best view on the island.

We ran into, not literally (for the PETA people reading), some whales on the north end of the island. Chris and I jumped in to get some photos, but they were gone by the time we got in. Bummer. Since we were all craving goat, we decided to move on to the next island ( j/k about the goat – no one should ever crave goat, but we’re getting to that). We made a brief stop in the Northwest Cays, which is a blip in the middle of nowhere. It’s not an island, but more of an atoll with a sandbar. Jessica and I thoroughly checked the little atoll of Northwest Cays for signs of life while Chris spearfished, and though we did hear some strange sounds, we didn’t find any goats.

Plana Cays was next on our radar and an incredible island to visit. This island is uninhabited, except for a Bahamian fisherman who stays there while fishing, and the goats that live there – which we didn’t know about at the time. The barrier reef in Plana provides an excellent protected area of water for exploring the shallow reefs. Plana is splattered with healthy reefs (becoming a rarity everywhere), and still has a vibrant fish population. I could have snorkeled and shot photos of this place for weeks… instead we snorkeled and shot a fish for dinner.

The first night we all dinghied to shore, pretended to see the Green Flash (which doesn’t exist), and then had a bonfire on the beach. The next morning Chris and I took Sugar to shore for her morning romp while Jessica fixed breakfast. In the time it took us to secure the dinghy from floating away and take a good look around, Sugar had run into the foliage, located a goat and herded it back onto the beach. The next thing we see is a goat running across the beach in sheer terror with a blur of white streaking behind it.

Now, I never thought much about the intelligence of a goat, but apparently they have none. This silly creature, who would have been fine if it had only stayed in the woods, decided to run across the beach and into the ocean. One of the particular loves of a Lab is the water and they can swim like a fish. Sugar can actually out-swim me with my fins on when she’s feeling frisky. With a giant leap from shore Sugar lunged into the water after the goat. To her, the game was on. The goat, on the other hand, didn’t seem to see the fun in this game of chase.

To give credit to the goat, it swam pretty well. It never occurred to me that a goat could swim, but they can move fairly fast in the water when being chased by an over-energetic dog. Sugar wasn’t biting at the goat, she just seemed to want to corral it around a little, so we didn’t see much harm in the chase; that is, until the goat keeled over dead in the water. I was shocked. One minute he was swimming full force, the next it was dead. I guess they don’t swim that well after all.

I’d love to tell you that Sugar heroically dragged the goat back to shore, we did a little goat CPR, and it lived a happy life. That didn’t happen. It was dead as door nail and floating away. We did the only sensible thing we could do; we loaded it into the dinghy and took it back to the boat to show off Sugar’s kill. Besides, I’ve always wondered what goat taste like.

If I had had a camera I would have taken a picture of Jessica’s expression when we pulled up to the boat with a dead goat on board: it was mixture of horror and dismay – especially after we told her that her dog was the cold blooded killer.

The goat was hauled onboard and hung up for cleaning. Chris did the most intricate cleaning job imaginable, and then confused it was his first time cleaning a large mammal. Maybe they taught taxidermy at the Harvard Medical School. There wasn’t a scrap of meat wasted after he was done. I was very impressed. Too bad goat is about the most inedible meat I’ve ever had.

Jessica cooked up a goat curry for lunch using the backstrap, and that was quite tasty. The rest of the goat we BBQd over a fire on the beach. The flavor was supurb, but the meat was not chewable. It was like biting down on a BBQd tire. We tried the ribs, the legs, and all parts in between. There wasnt much that our human canines could penetrate. Sugar got most of the goat for dinners during the next few days. Nothing was wasted. Animal planet would have been proud.

 

View Photos from this adventure: Inagua, Plana

Author: Daryl Grimm

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