A lovely day for mishaps!
23 September 2011
Initially the anchorage at Deupch Island was a bit lumpy but as the local NW seabreeze died off and the SE wind kicked in over night we fell into a deep and recharging sleep and even missed our 3:30am alarm. Luckily Chris woke at 4am to hear anchor chains of both Illusion and Scarlett so we very quickly awoke and were at action stations starting the engine and retrieved the anchor so that we too left the anchorage with our companions. On leaving Deupch Island Illusion soon were on the radio notifying that their alternator belt had failed and were forced to make sail in the fickle breeze. Bruce must have worked hard as it wasn’t long before they were back on the radio advising that they were underway again. Well done Bruce! Poor Illusion must be wondering what was next was going to happen as the first day out of Broome their water pump for the fridge failed and they had to stop motoring and change that too, plus they have had ongoing issues with their freezer. Lucky they have sufficient spares onboard for such emergencies and Bruce is able to make these repairs while en-route. The wind soon picked up leaving Dupuch Island and we had a pleasant 10-15 knots running and were making 6.5-7 knots over the ground and heading towards Dampier 65NM away. At this rate we should make the Flying Foam Passage at the slack water as planned.
Although we have a freezer full of Mackerel we figured we would put the lure out to catch a nice fresh one for Iian a friend who we had planned to catch up with in Dampier. The Nicole Kidman lure (skinny white with a red head) was out for a short time before the line went and we were hauling in a nice school Mackerel. Then the real trouble on Bella started! Getting it on board was fine as we had this procedure down packed and in the fish bucket it went so we could dispatch it and extract the lure. Kieran eagerly leapt to distangle the lure which appeared to be well impaled on both three sided hooks, one in its mouth and the other in its gills. While I went below to retrieve the fishing knife Chris stopped him before he got too close explaining how he had seen many a fisherman with a hook through their finger when the fish flicks. No sooner had Chris finished explaining this and Kieran cautiously kept his distance that the cries of help were being summoned. Chris was now attached to the fish with one of the hooks impaled up near his knuckle on his ring finger and the fish was still alive and thrashing being held by Chris’ other hand at the tail. Ouch! Right-o action stations! With fish knife in hand the fish was very quickly dispatched and restrained before it could do any more damage thrashing while attached to Chris’ hand. Then it was just the nervous reflexes we had to contain while we first tried to cut the hook using wire cutters – but no luck as I just wasn’t strong enough to get through the tough hook. The next option was to remove the hook with Chris attached to it from the lure using Kieran’s new fishing multi-tool with split ring pliers. This took a while as this was all carried out on the side deck in limited space with Chris’ hand and fish in a bucket and the line wrapped up around the rails. Kieran was quickly stepped up to watchman and skipper as we passed via Port Walcott and the container shipping line. Once detached from the fish and it was just the hook that Chris was attached to we were able to abandon the fish in its bucket and move into the cockpit and figure out how we were going to remove the hook that had embedded itself down to the bone just below his first knuckle on his right hand. Our massive medical kit that has lain dormant for over 6 years was dug out and spread over the cabin floor in search for medicated soap, sterilising solutions and surgical tools. Concerned that I would hurt Chris even more he then had the gruesome job of pushing the blunt fishing barb on the hook through the remainder of his finger and using his left hand lancing his tough skin with a scalpel to get the barb out the other side of the finger sufficiently enough that I could then get a the cable cutters to break the barb off. With all my might and the help of Chris’ free hand we finally broke the barb and the hook could then be extracted from his finger. With some comfort in knowing that I couldn’t take a knife to my husband, we applied copious amounts of chlorhexidine and Betadine before his finger was bandaged with Kieran’s bandaids at the ready. A brief consult over the radio to Doctor Craig our latest companions on Scarlett and Chris was started on a healthy dose of antibiotics to ensure no fish remains would later cause any infections. Jeez the extent to what one would do to get out of the dishes! The lure was safely stowed for the rest of the day while I had the job of repacking the medical kit, tool box, cleaning up Chris’ blood and gladly filleting the Mackerel on the foredeck. We made the Flying Foam Passage at slack water and into Dampier with little excitement apart from witnessing some awesome whale action and mating turtles. In Dampier we met Iain at the nearby Mermaid Hotel, who gently advised that he really doesn’t have a taste for Mackerel before spending a very enjoyable evening catching up. We eventually gave the Mackerel to another boat ‘Sue Sea’ a martin 49ft that hadn’t had much luck at fishing and were also returning to Fremantle after competing in the Bali race.