Day 27 of Pacific Crossing
23 May 2012 | 01 36.531'S:132 08.763'W
Day 27: 70 nms. Miles to go: 648 A long read but it was a long boring night watch so I typed a lot. Like you wanted to do work today instead?
Today started like most others, with Monica waking me for my first morning shift. But it ended with full bellies. Mahi’s like their meals to be trolled at 4-6 kts which poses a problem for us in our crippled state of sail. Our best speeds are presently 5kts, but only in a 20kt breeze, usually we ghost along around 3kts (you probably walk faster) and this must be carefully managed so fishing for the last two weeks has been frustrating. We have had schools of Mahi swimming with us for the past few days laughing at every lure we threw at them, but a few have bit. Most get off either by breaking the line or by spitting the hook at us. One lucky 20 pounder even got gaffed aboard only to flop off the gaff, land on deck, stick up his middle fin at us and flop right back into the water.
We watch the Mahi feed on flying fish all day. By the way, if you were light enough, you could walk from Mexico to the South Pacific on the backs of the flying fish. There are gazillions of them. When Mahi feed on them; the Mahi will chase the fish from the water then follow them till they land and then consume. The speed that the Mahi swims to accomplish this is impressive.
We had been assaulted by a couple flocks of flying fish during the night, and five of these brave souls chose to land and attempt to chase us off as they dried with a very smelly death. In all, 5 fish landed aboard last night so we filled up the bait can (an empty coffee can) with the spoils and got to rigging up the death stick. Until this point, we had been discarding the dead fish each morning and using lures (we never claimed to be bright). So in goes the first flying fish, on a hook the size of a bluegill; sure enough 30 seconds later, whamo! He was wise though; he wrapped it around the rudder before I could get him clear and snapped the line.
The second attempt was much more fruitful. Within 5 seconds of the bait hitting the water, it was hit and spinning the drag out. Fish On is the call we use to alert us into our respective duties; mine is to keep the fish busy while Monica brings us into a hove to position (putting Tanga in park). After we were hove to, the fight lasted about twenty minutes until we could get him close enough for Monica to lean over the side and gaff him. So during the first pass she gets a good gaff in him and starts lifting; it’s at this point we realize we hooked a lot more fish than we intended, she couldn't lift him over the lifelines at the angle she was at so she attempted to reposition and he flopped off the gaff, but the hook stayed in (all praise Neptune). So another 5-10 minutes trying to bring him close to the boat, this time when he saw the boat he would run, guess he didn't appreciate a hook being run through his body the first time? The second try at gaffing him, Monica has a good position and makes a perfect strike, she hoist him up and over the lifelines and sure enough, he flops off the gaff again and jumps back in the frickin water, tangling the line around rigging and lifelines, but the dang hook still stays in! (We think Neptune felt guilty for the way he has been testing us on this voyage so he worked with us on the Mahi) This time it only took a couple minutes of fighting to get him back to the side of the boat as he was pretty fatigued by now. Again, Monica makes a perfect gaff and up he comes over the lifelines, and wouldn't you know, it he flops off again! Except this time, we both jump on him like he's the last piece of candy from a piñata and pin him down with our best wrestling moves as he tries to return to the water. We were able to keep him held down until we could manage to get him into the cockpit. Once there, I got the pliers out to remove the hook, opened his mouth and there it was, just laying freely on his tongue!
He weighed forty pounds before cleaning and he filled our fridge with fresh fish after being fillet. Thank you ma, pa, and my aunt and uncle for teaching me to fillet so well as a kid, the lessons paid off.
Monica cooked up some of him by deep frying nuggets in a batter given to us by a friend of hers in Phoenix; it was AWESOME!! Thanks Debbie, for the "A$$ Kickin" (name brand) fish batter. For the next few days we will be eating Mahi and expect to be very tired of it by the time we hit the islands.
In all it took us 4 hours to catch, clean, clean up, cook, and eat before we were under way again, but well worth the delay. Photos when we get Wi-Fi.
Posted via satellite phone.
---- This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using GMPCS's Speed Mail software. Please be kind and keep your replies short.