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The Wily Jewfish

"On one of his daily dives in the late 1960's, Clint, Jr. spotted a giant jewfish in 30 feet of water peering out of a large, dark cavern formed by the surrounding reef structure. The largest member of the grouper family, a jewfish can grow up to eight feet in length and 600-700 pounds in weight, and this specimen appeared to be every bit that large. No one had ever spotted a jewfish in the waters
Bahamas Spanish Cay
off Spanish Cay, and the sighting, along with the fish's staggering size, caused a great hullabaloo among the dive party. Moments after he began filming the monster, Clint, Jr. was joined by a bevy of young divers, equipped only with goggles and flippers, who repeatedly dove from the water's surface to the cavern and back again after catching a quick glimpse of the creature.

One particularly corpulent young man was too buoyant to free dive to the cave. Instead he had two extra-heavy, lead-weighted diving belts strapped around his waist and was outfitted with the black mask. This supplied him with a constant flow of air through a long clear hose running from a connection on the mask to an air compressor on board the Jumper.

So equipped the young diver entered the water and quickly sank, and at his companions' urging, swam directly to the fish's hiding place. Once there, instead of observing from the periphery of the cavern's entrance as the others had warily done, to everyone's shock and surprise, he swam directly into its dark interior. He slowly approached the fish until the two ended up face to face only inches apart. The fish was unfazed by the presence of his new found friend and made no effort to flee or escape. Instead, it remained sphinx-like and immobile except for the slow, stabilizing undulation of its pectoral fins. It was a classic face-off of man against fish that seemed to go on for hours even though it lasted mere seconds.

Then just as the astonished observers were ready to concede that the diver was a goner, destined to be inhaled by the great fish, the young man slowly backed out of the cave and turned to swim back to the dive boat.

Back onboard the Jumper, he did his best to ignore the exclamations and questions of the horde of fellow divers while he fumbled to retrieve his thick-lensed eyeglasses (left on the boat during the dive). Finally, grinning sheepishly, he quietly and courageously admitted that because he had not been able to wear his glasses diving, he had actually never seen this fish, the mother of all fishes. This revelation was met by a moment of silence followed by a long, loud howl of laughter..."

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Bahamas Spanish Cay
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