Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Monday 14th April
3:30am and I am on watch, a solid wind has us sailing at around 8 knots and should see us hit Minerva reef today around 1-3pm. I shouldn’t say ‘hit’ actually, we should ‘arrive’!  A couple of very eventful days at sea, I can’t really remember what happened Friday night, I think it was another calm one, but Saturday was a wild watch.  Rough seas, constantly changing wind and a bit of rain saw me actually having to do some real work while on watch.
I spent the whole night on deck changing course, adjusting sails, getting wet and freezing my ass off, I did have a tiny little bird hitching a ride with us to keep me company though. He sat all night, buried in his own feathers in a little ball nestled a meter away from the helm.  The seas stayed fairly rough most of the day and I actually got a couple hours of sleep in during the day.
During my afternoon watch the sea was still messy and I was about to bring my lure in, thinking that even if I did hook something, it was gonna be too wild to try land anything anyway.  A mere 2 minutes later my reel was screaming, bent right over with the unmistakable signs of a solid fish and once again, the other 2 were sleeping!
A few bangs on the roof of Jean-Paul’s cabin and he was quickly on deck, followed by George not long after, with conditions like this we had to keep sailing and I just fought the beast while we were still cruising at over 6 knots!  It probably only took me about 10-15 minutes to land but we finally got my first Mahi Mahi on board, a decent one weighing 11kg. 
That is not a heavy fish really by my standards, but these things are thin, sleek and powerful, he was well over a meter.  After getting bashed around on the back steps (my work station) I finally had him filleted and bagged up, we had meat again!  After trying to instruct ME on filleting?! (wtf) George felt it necessary to go and weigh the fillets before once again telling me that ‘it’s not much for a fish that big’.  I just asked him how many fish he has ever filleted…  (yeah, 1)  I’m guessing that at market value it was probably $300 of fillets.
While we’re on the subject of things he does to piss me off… hehe.  After my long, cold, wet night of no food or barely a drink, he gets up in the morning, tips my cordial out and makes himself a coffee in the mug I hadn’t finished with?!  Plus only boils enough water for 1 cup and I have to burn precious gas again to make a hot drink for myself.  He’s been in a warm bed all night and HE needs the hot drink?!  Just totally self absorbed and inconsiderate. 
Once again, to the reader, yes these are small things, but living together like this and after a shift like that, it’s just not cool, you have to be more socially aware than that.  I’m the type of person that would make somebody else the hot drink, knowing that they had had a shitty night and would really appreciate it.
I had to laugh though later in the day, he wound his handline in and the hook was gone, I quickly asked him if that was the same hook I had warned him not to use!  Haha.   Sorry I will try and keep to the story and not just pay out on George, but he brings it on himself, plus, hell, there isn’t much else going on out here, it is part of my daily life and my story.
As usual we have had odd jobs to do here and there, plus cooking and basic living really.  On Sunday I had a shower and shave out on the back deck, the sea was beautifully calm, calm enough that I decided to put a lure out.  We didn’t have room for any more fish in the limited fridge space on board, but I figured with conditions like this I could release a fish fairly easily.
I had just changed my lure over and was about to put one out when I looked down and saw what I believe was a small Marlin swimming not more than a meter off the back of the boat, I put my lure right past him but he declined after a quick inspection.  It wouldn’t have looked natural as it was getting fed out, and after a minute or so he swam off, another opportunity missed!
Only a couple of hours later I was working up the front of the boat for a while and when I came back to the cockpit I could see my rod bent over.  I hurried over for a look and every bit of line was gone from the spool!?  F@#*!  Luckily my knot at the spool was good and somehow had stayed connected, though it had caused some minor damage to the reel.  A plug too, for the boys at Tel O Mac Tackle Shop, Nick had just re-spooled my reel and his join knot held up extremely well.  Thanks mate, I would be missing 300 meters of 50lb braid otherwise.
There was so much pressure on the line that it had actually gouged a couple of grooves into the hardened plastic of my level wind. I couldn’t believe the line hadn’t come free.  I wound ALL that line back in and found I had lost another fish and another lure.  Goddammit, I thought somebody was in the cockpit while I was working up front.  I’m just lucky that I didn’t lose all that line or worse, though I do have my rod and reel tied to the boat.
Anyway, I think that is all the news for now, plenty of beautiful night skies, sunsets, sunrises, full moon.  Oh we did pass 2 bouys today which was odd really, this far out in open ocean and we happened to go past 2 of them about a mile apart, maybe some sort of weather beacons?  In true testament to the effectiveness of FAD’s, there were fish around them.
Strange but cool cloud formation

Yee-Ha,  PB Mahi Mahi

Cool rainbow while filleting
My stowaway mate for the night, cute little bugger