Saturday, 10 May 2014

Fish On!

Day 19:

Johnathan summed up today as the cockpit was quieting and we were settling into night watches: "Mom, I think that this was the best day of the passage so far - we had a great Lego game, we saw dolphins, and we caught a marlin." May I add, we flew our asymmetric, and I had a quiet moment with each child before they went to sleep.

Let me back up a bit...

Overall the day was one of light winds. We are somewhere between a beam reach and a broad reach, mostly on our course, and making between 5-6 kts over the ground. Thankfully, the current is finally in our favour, because given the winds, we weren't making huge progress on boat speed alone. When everyone was on deck in the afternoon, we hoisted the asymmetric, and this helped a bit.

Once things were quiet in the cockpit again, it was Nancy's turn to go below for a nap. She had hardly gotten into her bunk when Max said almost to himself, "Fish on". At first I wasn't sure that he really had a fish - sometimes just the tug of the line masquerades as a fish, but as he began to wind the line onto our red "yo yo" (literally a red circle about 8" in diameter that we wind the fishing line onto by hand), it was clear that he not only had a fish, but that it was a good sized one. First I called the kids to bring the camera, and took over driving the boat. At this point, we eased the sheet on the asymmetric to slow the boat down. Benjamin was getting noisy, so Johnathan handed him to me, with strict orders to stay close in case I needed to hand him off. It soon became clear that this was an evolution that would need all hands, so I called Nancy - her nap would have to wait! It was a sight to see - not only did we have one pointy fin zooming crazily behind the boat, it actually looked like we had two: whatever was on our hook as well as something that was swimming with or chasing it. Yikes!

Max had been saying for a couple of days that he wanted to catch a big fish. One of our friends had put the flying fish from his deck onto his lures and caught fish quickly that way ... we wanted a piece of that action, too. Let's just say that we got it today.

There is nothing fancy about pulling a fish aboard Fluenta - no gaffs, no nets, no extra equipment. Today there was not even a bucket to catch the fish - I offered to bring Max the Home Depot bucket that we usually use, and he just laughed and said that the fish wouldn't fit into the bucket. Yikes again. He kept winding the line onto the yo yo, Nancy came on one side of him with the knife, and Victoria was already on the other with the camera. With one quick movement, he brought a 5'4" Marlin onto our deck. (Yes, it was taller than I am - it was huge!) With beautiful blue colouring and a long pointy nose, it was an extraordinary sight flapping about on our deck. Johnathan held Benjamin, Max held the fish down by the tail, and I stabbed wildly for his brain with the point of the filleting knife; not the most elegant dispatch of a fish. He did not want to lie still, and our deck may well show the scars of my surgery. Finally, we wrestled a line around his tail and fastened him to a deck cleat just to be sure that he would stay on board!

Next came the science lesson (at this point, Benjamin and I went back to driving the boat) ... intestines (long and thick), internal organs, good meat were all examined in detail, while Max and Nancy cut and bagged the fillets. It turned out that our deck-wash fitting had corroded over, so the kids got their exercise carrying buckets of salt water up from the galley where we have a foot pump so we could wash the meat and later wash the deck (the boat was travelling too fast to dip a bucket overboard).

Even after eating a huge portion for supper, we have a big ziplock of meat in the fridge and several dinner-sized packs in our freezer (thank goodness it has been working reliably!). Delicious ... I cooked gently it in the frying pan in butter, salt & pepper, and served it with mashed potatoes, canned corn, and some more of our jicama/beet slaw (we are now out of carrots).

Oh yes, all this excitement and we had dolphins as well - a huge field of them came again doing acrobatics from as far as our eyes could see, then swimming fast and furiously next to the boat once they got here. For whatever reason, we also had swarms of little birds out fishing. We have no idea how they go so far - we are about 600 miles from just about anywhere.

Now we are into the night watch - tonight we have a mostly starry sky with large clouds here and there that I am watching for squall characteristics. So far they have all been benign. Soon I will hand over to Nancy and head to bed.

If you are curious about our watch rotation, here is what has been working - I generally take the first night watch (after supper/radio nets/dishes/tidying the cabin/reading to the kids, which translates to sometime between 8pm and 10pm) and stay on watch until about 1:30 or 2:00. This means that I can sleep until Benjamin wakes in the morning and function reasonably well with one nap with him during the day. I took the middle watch one time, and Benjamin was awake and full of beans when I was meant to be sleeping the next day - that didn't work so well at all! Since then, Max and Nancy have been alternating the middle watch and the early morning watch, and everyone sleeps a few hours during the day. Max & Nancy usually take the cockpit watches and I do mostly downstairs jobs, although we have shared lunch, dishes, and laundry duties. We basically trade around so that there is always someone in the cockpit and everyone gets a sleep at some point in the day. Dinner at 6pm works the best, which means that I head for the galley around 4:30 (barring fishing and spinnakers!) ... this means that we can eat before the nets, tidy the boat while it is still daylight, and get everything quiet just after dark.

Well, there you have it ... a day in the life of Fluenta ... and I have to agree with Johnathan, one of the best days on passage so far.

At 5/10/2014 7:59 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 03°30.00'S 132°08.00'W

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1 comment:

  1. This is indeed a great day. Can't wait to see the pictures of that monster you caught. (John and Christa)


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