Every now and then I am lucky enough to have an experience that I know will stay as a vivid memory in my mind for the rest of my life. I had one of these on my most recent Caribbean press trip to the Four Seasons St Nevis. The resort were keen for me to experience the very best of what they have to offer, including their ‘Dive and Dive’ experience package.
The challenge was to dive down to the bottom of the seabed and catch a Caribbean Spiny Lobster for lunch. This had to be by hand using a lasso, a traditional Nevisian fishing technique that has been used by local fishermen for years. The reward was having your fresh ‘catch of the day’ cooked in front of you by the resort’s Executive Chef Kai in your own private cabana on the beach. In other words, the most luxurious beach BBQ you’ll probably ever have. Despite not having dived in 4 years, I am a certified PADI Open Water Diver, which means I am licensed to dive anywhere in the world. So was I up for the challenge? Of course I was!
After a big breakfast (I needed my energy), I headed down to the resort pier where lovely Divemaster Valerie and Chef Kai met me. The diving boat was loaded up with the equipment and ready to go, so all that was left to do was jump into the boat and set sail! As we headed off to our first dive site (only 15 minutes away from the resort’s pier) we started to get our gear on. By this point I was started to feel a little nervous about my challenge, but tried not to think about it too much!
Before I knew it, I was stepping off the back of the boat into the water, regulator and mask in hand. As we made our decent down the anchor line, it all came back to me very quickly. Breathing under water is such a strange concept that takes a few minutes to get your head around. I was joined on the dive by Valerie and Chef Kai. It was such a unique touch having the chef join us on the dive, which further added to the ‘foodie’ experience. Once we were almost at the seabed, we began our search for lobsters.
15 minutes into the first dive we spotted our first victim; a small spiny lobster hiding within a coral reef. Kai used a stick to tease the lobster out, so I got in position to catch him with the lasso. Despite trying my best, the lobster got away and slipped out through the lasso into another crevice of the coral reef. Onto the next one we went!
Another 10 minutes into the dive, Kai spotted something lurking under a cave-like rock on the seabed. The first thing I could see were 2 huge antennas poking out. They were so long, I could only imagine how big the whole thing was! As Kai coaxed the lobster out, I was startled by the size of it. IT WAS HUGE. I never even realized lobsters could be that big! But sure enough, Valerie and Kai instructed me to try and catch the thing. Oh my god, here goes.
Gingerly I approached the ‘beast’ from behind and began to slip the lasso round it’s body. Once firmly in place, there was nothing left but to do but pull tight in a sudden motion. The pull startled the lobster and it swam away, with lasso intact. I had caught it! I couldn’t believe it. I let out an almighty scream through my regulator, which everyone heard through the water. I was in genuine disbelief that I had caught it. Kai put the lobster into a large net bag and we continued our dive.
After our first dive we stopped for a break on the boat and enjoyed a Four Seasons lunch to go. There was plenty to choose from, but my big breakfast meant I wasn’t too hungry and was still running on adrenaline from my big catch!
By the time we began to kit up for our second and final dive of the day, I felt a lot more relaxed as the first dive went so well. The pressure was off as I had already caught my lobster, so I excited to get back into the water and enjoy more of a relaxing dive.
This time Kai brought 2 water spears with him to catch some Lion Fish. Locals actively encourage all Lion Fish to be caught and killed as their territorial behavior is having devastating effects on the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Lion Fish infestation is a growing problem in the area, so we were also doing our bit to save the reef. Plus, it tastes damn good too, so is a win win situation. Kai caught 2 lion fish on the dive with the spear . They’re incredibly easy to kill as they remain completely still in the water and just ‘hover’, making them really easy targets.
When we got back on to the boat, I was told my lobster was a whopping 10lbs. Even the guys on the boat were impressed and told me they rarely see lobsters that big. As we arrived back at the pier, we were greeted by some of the resort staff who all congratulated me on my catch. It was such an exciting moment and I felt a huge sense of achievement, not only for catching the lobster but also successfully completing both dives despite being a very rusty diver. It was one of those moments that I will never forget!
What did you think of my Dive and Dine experience? Are you a keen diver or would you love to do something similar? I’d to hear your thoughts about the experience and if you would give it a go yourself? Please leave me a comment in the box below, I reply to all of them!
Want to know what happened next? Stay tuned for the Part 2 blog post of my Dive & Dine Experience at the Four Seasons Nevis
Want to read more about my Caribbean adventure? Check out my post about hiking through the Nevis rainforest
Disclaimer: The Dive and Dine experience was offered to me complimentary as part of my press trip itinerary with Four Seasons