This mornin' I got up and figured hey I can't use my camera anymore so I might as well just try to distribute the photos I've already taken. Within an hour I had my photos up on the Australian/New Zealand National Geographic Website.
Then at lunch I tell Alex about my camera, he tells me to not worry because his Pa has a spare battery that will fit my camera. Huh? Okay. Weird. Thanks man. Nevermind the blog vacation, life is a vacation. Way off in the distance are two small bouys. They are the end points of the net the researchers set up in the mornin.
After lunch we prepare to catch stingrays. Why and how are we catching stingrays? Check out Alex's website at http://www.belizestingrays.org/Belize_Stingrays/Welcome.html Over the last few weeks they have caught 6 females just by luck. Alex wants to study the males too in comparison to female activity so we need to catch a male and tag it to track his movements.
We got one! Everyone was smiling.
He's a little guy. I held the net and prayed his barb didn't get hold of me like it my dads ankle in North Carolina ;) If you get stuck by a ray, put warm water on it... pee on it if you have to. Then remove any traces of the barb carefully.
To be safe Alex decided to clip the barb off. This is not permanent damage to the ray, it's more like losing a fingernail. It will grow back soon enough.
On board we decided to take it back to the dock to get it under some shelter.
At the dock Alex put together a tag.
His dad read the serial on it as Bry Guy wrote the info down. We also recorded a few basic measurements on the ray and the location of catch.
Could be worse ray, I had my tongue pierced at age 19 because some girl in Canada dared me to do it haha.
Thank you come again.
He instantly went right beneath the boat to get some shelter and was breathing hard. Alex jumped down to keep eye on him and said he was just a little shocked. Probably felt like an alien abduction.
Gertrude the Lion Fish had been watching the whole thing all morning in disbelief. I think he was wasted.
I caught a camera battery and Alex caught a male stingray, what else can we catch? It was about 3 PM and I went to the kitchen to see if the chicken had thawed yet in the fridge. Renata yells from below, "Hey Cody there's fish at the dock." Duh Rena. I walk outside and then she explains a few local fishermen are here and they need gas. They are willing to trade red snapper for gas. I haven't had fish for weeks, heck ya. Thanks Rena. We went to the dock and bargained 15 lbs. of fresh snapper for about 6 gallons of gas.
This is not hypocrisy, this is sustainable cuisine. These fish were caught with a hand net, outside the no take fishing zone. They have their fish permits. They are not seeking to exploit and catch too much, all they want is to make an easy living doing what they like to do, fish. Being a conservation guru chef I find it well worthy to buy from local legal fishermen and hunters and gatherers. Support your local community and buy locally. Not only will the goods taste fresher but it will keep you aware of your environment and provide you with an incentive to protect your local natural resources.
Habenero Pico de Gallo.
Roasted pumpkin and the snapper. They way I cooked the snapper was I cut it into 8-10 ounce steaks and just lightly battered each piece in a spicy flour. Then pan fried 4 pieces at a time in an inch of coconut oil. I started with a recipe calling for Creamed Corn Creole Sauce and Panfried Red Snapper, but like I always do I changed up a few of the ingredients with local ingredients to make it original and sustainable.
Here is the plate I made for myself. A bed of white rice tweaked with chopped green pepper, garlic and onion. Surrounding the rice is a ring of the corn sauce, which I made spicy and chipotle-like. Above part of the sauce I put a few tablespoons of the salsa, and next to that tortilla chips. Above the rice bed are three cuts of the roasted pumpkin which are seasoned with garlic and smoked chili powder. Ontop the pumpkin is a 6 ounce piece of the red snapper lightly battered and pan fried in coconut oil. Top with a few cilantro sprigs and sprinkle more chili powder around the edges. Soooo good. For dessert I made fried plantain custard with coconut rum and cream, topped with shredded coconut and a dash of ground nutmeg.