An angler survives a freak wave, thanks to her toughas-nails backpack.
➞ A tip about a spot to surf cast for jacks on Abaco led photographer Brian Grossenbacher, Alberta flyfishing guide Paula Shearer, and Michigan outfitter Mike Schultz to a stretch of eroded limestone karst where water would shoot through blowholes high into the air. After 45 minutes of observation, Schultz cast first. “I was the guinea pig,” he says. Then Shearer stepped out, and the biggest wave yet came in and slammed into her like a wall. She was thrown on her back and dragged across the jagged rocks. Schultz ran in first and lifted her to her feet. “Everyone’s yelling, Are you O.K.?” Shearer says. “They thought I was in shock. It takes a ton to faze me.” She’d been saved by her backpack, which took the brunt of the impact. Shearer checked out the damage: a deep 4-inch gash on her left thigh. “The guys got whitefaced. I felt bad because it kind of traumatized them.” Through it all, Shearer never even lost hold of the rod she was using. She had cuts and bruises and needed eight stitches. But the biggest bummer? “I had really wanted to go shark fishing after. Instead I had to get stitched.”