Who's out there?A Roughhead Blenny comes out to greet visitors at Eden Rock.
The next day, I meet up with Helen Artal — instructor at PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center Divetech — for a zip around the reef on scooters. After a succinct briefing, we cruise out to Lighthouse Reef, another of the sites on your Facebook list.
The scooter has three speed settings. Of course I abuse the fastest one until I recall Helen's warnings about draining the battery. So I promise myself I'll slow down — later. For now, I'm loving the CliffsNotes version of diving. The divemaster scuttlebutt is that it's eel mating season (that's a moray!). I'm no scientist, but I do find it odd to count four free-swimming eels during our first 15 minutes loping along the reefs. It stands to reason that these determined swimmers are hunting more than just fairy damsels.
Famished, I head back to PADI Five Star Resort Cobalt Coast and my laptop. I log in with a mission. Lionfish have become Godzillas to every tiny Caribbean coral city. Here on Grand Cayman, aggressive efforts to eradicate them seem to be working. This might sound violent, but it tastes delicious. You all recommended a handful of vigilante restaurants dishing up the killer. Pappagallo serves lionfish as ceviche, but several posts warned me to call ahead. I do, thankfully, and find that they won't have more until tomorrow. I settle on Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Camana Bay. I call ahead and confirm twice that they will indeed have lionfish on the menu, and the hostess just laughs warmly.
Sure enough, the smoked lionfish croquettes with scotch bonnet aioli are a fixture on the menu — good for reefs but perhaps a pain for servers.
"At least once a day I have to assure diners that they won't bite into spines," my server tells me. "It's mostly the bar crowd asking, getting brave after a few drinks."
She also informs me that Michael's Genuine will substitute lionfish for any whitefish on the menu. I save one wahoo from the pan, asking instead for the enemy atop whipped cauliflower, radish salsa and salsa negra — my most delicious act of altruism yet.