Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 22 DP - Turning the corner

It was a looooooonnnnnnngggggg day yesterday.  I pulled out all the stops and with some cooperative weather I was able to go spearfishing in the afternoon.  It was pretty awesome too.  I saw lots of fish - big striped bass.  I shot 2 of them and probably saw another 10 as well as some blackfish and some sting rays.  I think it's time for me to store away my fishing rods in the garage indefinitely because they just don't work for me.
I had a really fun time for over 2 hours but afterwards it felt like someone knocked me over with a sledge hammer.  The water was super calm as you can see from the 5 minute video - but there was a very strange and quite strong current moving everything out to sea and down the beach.  Yikes!  I didn't even realize it until I was pretty far away from where I had started.

It took a lot of energy and strength to get back to shore.  And guess what folks - when you haven't eaten much for 21 days your energy and strength levels are certainly not at their peek.  I never felt like I was in danger at any point.  My wetsuit is more buoyant than any life jacket and there were plenty of boats out there if I needed assistance.
For my first dive of the year I think I did very well.  For those who don't know, when I spearfish I freedive - which means I hold my breath and dive all the way to the bottom and then try to stay there for as long as I can.  I was touching down on the bottom in about 27 feet of water and getting about 40 seconds per dive.  I started in my usual location off Monmouth Beach in about 18 feet of water but as the currents stated moving me off my regular spot I found myself in unfamiliar, deeper water.  I didn't mind so much because there were fish around on almost all of my dives.  I saw striped bass, blackfish, sting rays and starfish.  I also saw a baby fluke but he shot off before I could get a good look at him.
The diving conditions (other than being super calm) were quite poor.  It was a chilly 54 degrees and even colder at the bottom.  The visibility in the ocean here in New Jersey is about 5 feet max.  And that's on a good day.  It really sucks to be quite honest.  I'd hate to be a fish living in that murk all the time.  The only time it clears up a bit is when you get right on the bottom.  There's a layer of clear water from the bottom to about 4 feet up.  I think that is from the muscles and other filter feeders down there - they clean the water.  Hopefully, if the water stays calm and we don't get hit with any more storms, it will clear up a bit more.

It's Day 22 and these two nice sized bass (about 34 inches each) are helping me turn the corner on what was looking like a very difficult Survivor Diet Challenge.  Things will be looking up from here - I just know it.  I packed the fish on ice (Thanks to Pat and his wonderful ice machine!) and they will be ready to carve up when I get home from work later today.  I will be very careful to preserve all of the meat and even use the head and bones for a fish stock.  I have several plans for these fish - the first of which is a fresh sashimi dinner for myself tonight.
Hard work paid off
 It was the start of week 4 today and my reward is supposed to be a basket of fresh vegetables.  I'm not overly excited about this right now and I'm considering trading this reward in for a "Special Occasion Reward" as outlined in the Official Guidelines.  I had an opportunity to do that last night when we all went out to the restaurant for Mother's Day.  I REALLY wanted the bread and butter and steak and soup and salad etc. etc. etc.  But I persevered and sat there with my bottle of water - watching Ty order the $30 Filet Mignon dinner only to eat half of his steak and none of the veggies or garlic smashed Yukon gold potatoes.  The waitress was just about to take away his plate when I intervened.  I just couldn't watch all of that food get tossed in the trash.  I grabbed it from the waitress and asked for a doggie bag.  My plan was to vacuum freeze this meal just like I did with my dad's turkey dinner - and eat it after the SDC is over.  So that's what I did.  Bagged it, sealed it, froze it.  For another day.
Ok so this was a long day yesterday and after getting beat up in the ocean and playing ball and fishing, and doing the radio show, and going out for dinner - I was ready to CRASH.  In bed at 9:30.  Took me about 3 minutes to fall asleep.  Some Mother's Day - huh?
Today at work I had a breakfast/lunch of rice and dandelion greens.  I finally started eating the dandelions - thanks to Debbie.  She got fed up with the weeds in the backyard and did a lot of picking yesterday.  I tried to "hide" them by chopping the steamed greens up as small as possible and mixing them in with the rice and butter and salt.  Other than the texture - which is a bit hard to get used to, I really didn't taste a lot of the bitterness in them.  Debbie sent me a little write up on the nutritional benefits of dandelions so I'll share that here with anyone interested:

One of the first and easiest spring delicacies to take advantage of right in your backyard is the dandelion green. What you may perceive as a bothersome weed is actually one of the most nutrient rich plants. In Chinese herbal medicine the dandelion is highly regarded for its overall healing power, which includes purification of the blood, preventing/lowering high blood pressure, cleansing the skin, lowering serum cholesterol, regulating bowel function, preventing/curing liver diseases and assisting in weight reduction/maintenance. Dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods.  Dandelion also contains high amounts of fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein. The nutritional richness of this plant is astonishing.  The dandelion brings together some of the most beneficial nutrients in nature and creates a powerful whole that will please your body, soul, and taste buds.

 That's all for today.  Go out an taste a dandelion.  It's good for you.

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much."

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