On a recent trip to Runaway Bay, Jamaica, my husband and I had a real hankering for some freshly cooked lobsters. For us, lobster is the ultimate luxury food we like to indulge in on special occasions, and our two-week trip to this tropical island certainly fit the bill! However, the hotel we were staying at (the all-inclusive Royal Decameron Club Caribbean), did not have any lobster on the menu. Sad face. And yet, we were determined…
One afternoon, as we were swimming in one of the beautiful resort lagoon’s, my husband struck up a conversation with a local Jamaican fisherman named Bruce who was also hanging out in the balmy water, floating casually on a surf board and intermittently trying to sell impressive sea shells to other tourists. Aside from being a fisherman, Bruce was also a very experienced scuba diver. My husband and him got talking about the variety of sea life in the area, and the most interesting things he had seen on his dives. It was then that Bruce casually mentioned he would often see large lobsters while diving, and he would catch them and cook them for tourists for a fee.
We weren’t really sure if we could trust him or not – after all, it’s hard to judge someone’s credibility when they started off trying to sell you sea shells from a plastic milk crate strapped to an old surf board – but the thought of having our own private lobster feast was just too great to resist. So we paid him $60 US and agreed to meet him later that night at the Jetty Bar in our hotel. He would cook up a bunch of lobsters, sneak them onto the hotel grounds for us, and set up a private, candle light dinner for just the two of us. It sounded almost too good to be true, but why not take a chance?
“Don’t worry about a ting, man,” he said. “Bruce has got ya covered.”
We walked over to the Jetty Bar at precisely 7:30 pm, as we had agreed, but Bruce was nowhere in sight. No worries, we figured. He’s on Jamaican time. So we ordered some frosty Red Stripe’s from the bar and sat in some lounge chairs along the deck and waited. Sure enough, just a few minutes later we saw him quietly paddling a small tin boat into the resort’s harbour. The boat had no lights on it so he could sneak easily onto the property without the resort staff noticing.
Once he was a few feet from the shoreline Bruce jumped out of the boat and dragged it up onto the beach quietly. He nodded discreetly to the bar tender nearby, as if they knew each other well. Then he pulled out the good stuff: the lobsters we had been waiting all day for. And boy, did he deliver! He had caught and cooked for us, not one, not two, but six decent sized lobsters! And he had even steamed some potatoes for us too. He cooked them at his house nearby, then wrapped them into little tin foil bundles so they wouldn’t get cold while he paddled over. His plan had worked out perfectly. Well, close to perfect, anyway. Turns out he had forgotten the cutlery!
My husband and I are not shy eaters so we didn’t mind digging into those buttery tin foil bundles with our bare hands. We must have been quite a site though… butter and lobster juices dripping from our faces and down our arms. I have to admit, I have never eaten such large mouthfuls of lobster as I did that night. It’s a lot harder to savor your food slowly without a fork and knife to slow you down! But, who cares. We were on vacation and were dead set on enjoying ourselves to the max. Mission accomplished.
Of course, we didn’t eat all six lobsters to ourselves. We did give one lobster to the bartender at the Jetty Bar, and another lobster to the security guard who was patrolling the beach, but it was worth it to keep Bruce out of trouble and spread the good karma around.
Our decision to trust Bruce had paid off deliciously. If we ever go back to Runaway Bay I will definitely keep my eye out for good old Bruce again!