Anyone for fish?
30 August 2018 | Santa Isabel Island, Isabel Province, Solomon Islands
The day following we had yet another busy clinic and then continued to head northwards intending of course to do so under sail but after a couple of hours of ghosting along, the wind faded and we resorted to hoisting the iron spinnaker (i.e. turning on the motor). As normal we had our trolling lines out and within an hour or so we had on a huge fish. The species and the size of what is on the other end of one's line is often a mystery until it's colour and shape make it evident when very close to the boat, but not the case with a Marlin – leaping repeatedly out of the water trying to dislodge the hooks. It was much too big for us to keep ourselves to eat but we knew that it would be appreciated by the villagers at Santa Isabel near where we would be anchored later that day. We were sceptical about eating a bill fish ourselves (too gamey??) and though we'd try for a smaller fish for ourselves but an hour later we caught yet another Marlin!! In 10 years we haven't caught any and in one afternoon we had caught two. We hummed and harred about keeping it and decided it wouldn't go to waste so we again took it in tow.
When we arrived in the vicinity of the anchorage Frances drifted in Monkey Fist and I towed one of the fish ashore to a small village where I presented it to one very happy chief surrounded by a horde of children and also took the opportunity to tell them about our Eyeglass Assist program. We then continued further into the reef strewn cove assessing the best place to anchor and had a gang of maybe twenty canoes caught up and surrounded us, filled with chattering and laughing young kids. There were two small villages (extended family groups) in the cove and many of the kids told us that is where they lived. I asked them if they thought they could take the remaining fish ashore (minus a couple of meals for us) and share it between the two villages which they readily agreed to, promising to bring my rope back. When I passed them the rope they tried to haul the fish (which weighed more than both of the kids combined) into their canoe which threatened to swamp it and so we recommended they tow it, which they did. All the children-filled canoes accompanied the marlin canoe as they struggled to paddle over to the village. I could only guess what was said when they arrived “you won't believe what I've got mum”.