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Darling on deck: Kristin Ducote on why spearfishing is the ideal yachting gift

Invited on a friend’s yacht and can’t think of a gift? Kristin Ducote says arranging a spearfishing guide could be the best gift for a yacht owner yet...

At some point every yacht owner will jump ship and join a friend’s yacht for a cruise. When you do, leave that bottle of 1982 Château Margaux at home. Today’s yachtsmen, young and old, are becoming more adventurous and spending more time outdoors with their families, not just on the water, but in it. So the next time you join a friend for a cruise, consider bringing an out-of-the-box hostess gift everyone will enjoy.

Plan ahead and ship a new water toy to the boat such as a JetSurf or SeaBob, or, better yet, co-ordinate with the captain to fly in a spearfishing guide. Most yachtsmen can manage a rod and reel, but to many spearfishing is a daring new skill set. And while not all yachts are equipped for trolling or sportfishing, any tender will work as a springboard for a spearfishing trip.

A few years ago, my husband and I were guests on a 48.8 metre Trinity in the Bahamas. On arrival we met three professional spearfishermen hired to organise excursions for our party. My husband, already an avid spearfisherman, was elated. But, surprisingly, so were some of the older and less active guests, who were excited to try something new.

The next morning we set off on a centre console and dropped anchor at one of our guide’s favourite spots. Several boats already nearby had lines in the water, and a middle-aged man on the nearest one had his feet resting on the railing, with a beer in hand, head thrown back in the sun. Maybe this wasn’t such a hot fishing spot!

We geared up and went overboard. Within minutes, we’d brought up several gleaming black grouper. Then out came a large, pink hog snapper. I’ll never forget the look of disbelief on the faces in the neighbouring boats as we surfaced fish after wriggling fish.

Fishing takes patience and perseverance and sometimes a high alcohol tolerance. Spearfishing, on the other hand, is a fast-paced contact sport. You don’t cruise above the waves, hoping to bump into fish that might possibly be interested in your bait. You dive into the deep, a hunter in a camouflage wetsuit, and bring home the sashimi.

Last year, invited to join a different group of friends in the Bahamas, we knew just what gift to bring. We flew in a world famous spearfishing guide. Our hosts’ children now love the sport, and the stories that were forged on that trip are legendary.

Go ahead, be the cool guest. Factor in adventure when planning your next hostess gift and you’ll create dinnertime legends your hosts will never forget.

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