Thursday, 17 November 2016

Fishing Drought is Over

Greetings!

We don't get many days much better than today.

The winds were predicted to drop off all morning, but the kids and I managed to keep the boat moving right through until after lunch (moving being loosely defined as a boat speed above 2 kts and the sails drawing ..). The water and the sky were both glorious shades of blue: a deep aquamarine for the sea and a rich royal blue for the sky. We used the slow speed as an excuse to do some real-life math: how many hours could we sail at 3 kts before motoring at 6 kts in order to arrive mid-morning tomorrow? Using her own iterative approach, Victoria determined that we could sail for about 10 hours before motoring; as it turned out, the wind kept cooperating, and we kept delaying when we would start the engine.

Max took over the watch in the early afternoon, and I settled in for my nap. Long before I expected to be woken up, I was shaken with one word: "Marlin!" We last caught one of these huge fish in 2014, and here we were again with another on our lure. (Max will have to add the technical details of the lure for the fishing aficionados...) I quickly went upstairs and found that Max and the kids had furled the genoa and Max was bringing in the port line hand over hand onto the yoyo. I tried to see the fish over the side deck, but it turned out that it had swum behind Fluenta. Just as I suggested to the kids that they bring in the other fishing line, we realized that he had hooked one lure and tangled the other! It was extraordinary to see this beautiful fish swimming in the clear blue water and flashing in the sunshine.

Bringing the fish onboard turned into a family affair. (Thankfully, Benjamin's role was to enjoy the last 10 min of his nap downstairs!). Victoria and Johnathan were on camera and knife-fetching duties. Learning from the mahimahi who got away earlier in the passage, and given the massive size of this fish, we used our gaff for the first time in several years (we usually bring fish aboard by hand with the big fishing hooks and heavy line). I normally just watch as Max brings the fish aboard (my job starts when the fish reaches the galley), but since Max couldn't both hold the line and gaff the fish, and there was *no* way that I was going to try out my luck with the huge fish and the gaff, that left Max on the gaff and me holding the fishing line. The fish had done some big dives and diversions as Max was reeling it in, but now at the side of the boat it was surprisingly calm, and Max was able to gaff it without too much difficulty. Still, it was so big that on the first attem
pt to bring it up, the bill got caught in the bimini frame behind him, and Max had to heave a second time to land the fish. In what seemed like ages, but was in fact a matter of seconds, the massive fish was flopping on our deck and Max was calling to Johnathan for the knife. Next it was time for Victoria to bring out our fish chart and identify our catch. We knew it would be either a marlin or a sailfish, and one look at the dorsal area confirmed that we had a massive sailfish on our deck: once measured, it was 83" (2.1m). We tried to weigh it, but we broke our luggage scale; Max guessed it to be around 75 lbs. Benjamin's eyes were bulging out of his head when he came up from his nap to see what was on the deck!

We finished the day with seven large bags of fish in our fridge and one yummy dinner in our tummies :) Ceviche is on the menu (using Granny's limes from Taveuni) tomorrow.

Now, as we approach midnight, the messy squalliness that threatened at sunset has turned into a clear sky and gentle (8-10 kts close reach) sail. We will likely motor eventually to get to Tuvalu, but we are not motoring yet :)

Love to all,
Elizabeth

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At 2016-11-15 12:02 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 0929.57'S 17918.27'E
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