An Homage to Invasives

Perceptive Travel, which has been publishing great travel writing since the internet first came out…or at least for a very long time…published an adapted chapter from my new book. “Lionfish Hunters of Tom Owen’s Caye.” I’m honored to be included.

The book launches next month.

Here’s how the story starts…

My daughter drifted up to the fish with her arm extended, gripping the sling-spear near its forked tip. The rubber loop affixed to the butt end and hooked around her thumb was stretched, the contraption loaded with tension. The fish, the size of a cantaloupe, was achingly gorgeous, candy striped and trimmed in ribbons of fins and venomous spines. It hovered with indifference above the grooves of a giant brain coral. Maybe it sensed the novice hunter was an uncertain shot. Maybe it felt secure in its pincushion armor.

But arrogance was its downfall. Bailey released her grip. The spear flew, skewering the fish, which unspooled threads of blood into the water. She’d found her first victim. The other divers pressed their hands together in underwater applause.

We’d come to Belize to kill fish and save corals. One of the most beautiful creatures on the world’s second longest barrier reef also causes the most damage, so Bailey and I had joined a strike team of spear-wielding conservationists on lethal expeditions to deep coral canyons in order to hunt down these lovely fish.

And eat them.

In this way we learned that conservation could be both delicious and fun. Especially when your base of operations is a tiny jewel of an island set in gradients of Caribbean turquoise, fully equipped with a dozen hammocks, a volleyball net, and a professional chef.

Read the whole story here…

A freshly speared lionfish in Belize

Published by David

Writer (Vintage), filmmaker (Three Days of Glory and Saving Atlantis), bookreader.

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