National Geographic : 1967 Feb
Potpourri of pleasures served up by the Bahamas: Skindiver skims the clutch ing hand of a staghorn coral as he explores an iridescent realm near Grand Bahama Island that swarms with tropical fish and harbors sunken treasure. A More of Sea Than of Land: By CARLETON MITCHELL Photographs IN THE MOONLIGHT ASTERN, Gulf Stream seas loomed as rolling silver hil locks. Ahead, a beacon glimmered every ten seconds above a low silhouette of rock. Nearer, through the whine of wind in the rig ging and the slap of crests against Finisterre's hull, sounded the boom of surf. My three-man crew crouched on deck. Tom Fletcher was forward with a flashlight. Fred LaDrew stood by the main sheet. Dawson Pinder, our cook, watched anxiously as the tender towing behind us threatened to tobog gan down a wave into our cockpit. The circle of light played on jagged lime stone not much more than two boat lengths ahead. "Now!" I shouted to Tom. Grinding the wheel hard over, I jibed to parallel the coast. I had to keep within a few yards, for close offshore lay a sunken coral reef. Coming to a jutting point, we jibed again. Miraculously the sea smoothed. By passing through Gun Cay Cut, we had crossed from the Gulf Stream to the Great Bahama Bank, a vast sandy plateau, much of it less than 12 feet below the surface. Many such cuts exist; 218 entering them requires local knowledge and, Battling bonefish, taken off Andros Island, challenges sportsmen as salt water's "fight ingest" fish, pound for pound.