There are a bunch of new photos in the gallery. They include photos of the 4 buddied on the boat. We go motorcycling in Luperon, see the oldest church in the New World, founded by Columbus in 1494, and catch a bunch of fish.
05/05/2009, Marathon, Florida
Fishing in the Open Water
We tow fishing lures pretty much all the time we are underway. One of the famous pelagic (deep water) fish is called Dorado. Sometimes it is called Dolphin, and sometimes Mahi-Mahi. It is the same fish. They can get up to about 90 lbs. and are known for their fighting ability. I have hooked them in the past, but haveonly gotten a few smaller ones onto the boat. Like most pelagics they are migratory and this time we were in the migration path. They travel and feed in schools sometimes, but always in pairs.
We started hooking up dorado after we left Hogsty reef in the southern Bahamas. The first one I got on the line was a real big one and took about 45 minutes to get to the boat. When we saw it we were very excited at the prospect of landing such a big fish. It was just beautiful and large. Eric got the gaff ready and took the leader in my hand and pulled the fish alongside the still moving boat. I shouted to Eric, "Just get the hook in it anywhere! There are no points for style!" Eric took me at my word and swung from over his head and got the hook firmly into the fish's belly. When he and I lifted it with some effort to the deck I realized that the fish was going to flap its way off the boat if we simply put it on the aft deck so I said "get it into the cockpit." Eric dragged it there and got it off the hook. Now the large, bleeding, dying, and wildly flapping fish started thrashing around in the cockpit and everyone jumped to the benches and started yelling "Don't fall down into the cabin".
It fell down into the cabin.
I shouted "someone go down there and sit on its head!" Of course that someone had to be me. I leaped down, Mike took a few photos,. I got an old towel and wrapped the fish's head to quiet it down and sat on it so it couldn't flap around any more. Finally it got still, but not before there was blood and guts on the sails that are below, and all over the interior.
I dragged the fish above onto deck for the task of preparing it for us to eat. I cut long fillets from the sides, and head. I tossed the bones, tail and head over for a meal for the next fish. Then I packaged the fish for the fridge for us to eat later. Of course we all took a few bites of it raw and fresh. Delicious!
It took us days to eat the fish and we never finished it all. We had dorado tacos, dorado spaghetti, fried dorado in pancake and beer batter, dorado and eggs, dorado au gratin, dorado sandwiches. We were even tempted to try dorado smoothies, but Wanderlust doesn't carry a blender.
Then we kept hooking dorado. Some were quite large again, some were smaller. We released them which meant that we had to got the hooks out of them. Since out net is not large enough to lift them, and the gaff hook will likely kill them we had to lift them on the leaders. Usually when we lifted the fish into the air it could shake the hook free. Sometimes we had to get them onto the deck and work it out. Some of the lures were lost to the fish. We caught so many dorado that we stopped even trolling lines for sport because we were all tired and sore from reeling in fish. We kept one other when the fish we had was getting low, but I ended giving it whole to another cruising boat when we arrived in port.
Just so you believe this 'fish story' I am including some photos.
05/05/2009, Marathon, Florida
The autopilot does most of actual steering we are only hear to take care of a few details that are needed. We tend the sail and check the charts but Mr. Auto keeps us going north. We passed Haiti on our port from 20 miles out on a broad reach. There has been a consistent amount of wind and we thank the Mintz family for going the hard way. We are going for 6 days of sailing with only a quick stop at the atoll. Last night we had lots of rain. We are now at Hogsty Reef. We came in here very slowly and carefully and are anchored in the lee of the atoll. We traveled for 28 hours to get here. We are 30 miles from any type land. We are at the only atoll in Western Hemisphere. The water around us is up to 12000 feet and the atoll is made up of coral and forms a nice shallow bay. We aren't actually going on the island. The atoll has many ship wrecks including a huge one with a rusted red hull we saw while coming in. We came in with a few hours of light and went snorkeling and fishing. I partially cleaned the bottom of the boat of coral and Bill caught us a small grouper for breakfast and I gutted him. Dan cooked us a great cheese green chili egg potato Frittata. Erica caught a long Barracuda but he smelled like fish and we sent him back in. We drank a cold bottle of Coke and are now resting. Our next leg takes us past Cuba and up to Florida. The moon hasn't been out until yesterday and is a quarter full tonight. Its nice to see where a little boat is going for half the night with the moon light. Its only stars after 3am. We took off for our final leg at 3am We pulled up the anchor from the sandy bottom and set off toward Cuba. This part of the journey will lack much culture it will feature much open water. We have been going for 15 hours and I am a bit board. I am down bellow and getting tossed around and nauseous It would have sucked coming over on a ship in the 17th century. Our head is clogged and my bunk is messy and damp. Maybe talking to the complaining Highland Parker's wouldn't be so bad
We just went 11 miles out of our way for 2 30 lbs Dolphin or Dorado fish. Dolphin travel and mate for life and we just hooked a pair. Big fun and I am feeling alive again. Our first one was the male and we heard the whine of the real and we began the fight. We headed into the wind to slow the boat down and furled the jib After 25 minutes we got him along side the boat and Eric gaffed him hard and tried to get him in the boat After a big fight the fish was thrown in the boat and kept going down into the cabin. We were cracking up and blood was getting everywhere. Blood on the floor. Blood on the sail bags. Blood on the deck. Blood on the stairs. The fish was squirming everywhere down bellow and was making for my bunk. Captain Bill was wrestling the fish and wanted to give him his last drink of bad rum when his mate sent our second pole reeling. Now we had a fish in our cabin and one on the hook. Eric had him on the line for half an hour. This one was a big fighter but in time our fisherman brought him along side the boat and we decided to let number 2 go free. Our fish down bellow had died and was more than enough for us to eat for the rest of the journey. Dave barked orders to Bill on how to cut up the fish and we began the debate on what ways to cook our next 6 meals. We will not be hungry. Meanwhile our boat was off course heading toward the Columbus Bank. After our 2 hour ordeal we pointed the ship in the right direction.