Friday, May 11, 2007

Tuesday 8th May

At sea

12 29.980 N
71 38.380 W (at 09.00 hrs)

The morning dawned hazy and overcast, we hoped that the day would bring some rain so that it would wash off the deck of the boat; this orange dust is getting everywhere, inside and out. The winds were all over the place and we could only fly the main sail and roll from side to side. I again threw the fishing line in the water – ever hopeful! Gerry decided that we had spread enough of the orange dust into the cockpit and decided to “wash” the decks down with buckets of sea water. Having sloshed the water everywhere, including getting the seats in the cockpit wet he decided to go and have a short sleep; whilst he was gone it began to rain a little – not quite enough to clean the salt off but it was a start at least. By the time he reappeared the rain had stopped and the wind had died away to almost nothing. “We could try the spinnaker again” said he who thinks he’s Captain Bligh. I tried to sound up beat about it, dreading the cursing and shouting that was bound to accompany the raising of the sail. We attached all the hardware for it and began the process of unsheathing it by pulling the sock up over the sail, it got stuck, it twisted, we lowered the sock, we raised the sock, it got stuck, the shouting and foul language deteriorated as only salty sailors’ language can. We did eventually manage to get it raised and it filled with wind, then collapsed, then filled, then wrapped around the forestay at which point Gerry decided that we were fighting a loosing battle and we doused the sail and packed it back away. Exhausted from the exertion, we lolled about in the cockpit until we both recovered, and then the fish on line alarm went off. Gerry’s “Oh *@#!” wasn’t the joy you would expect from catching our dinner, I said not to get too excited as the line didn’t feel too heavy. I reeled the line in and was delighted to find a good size blue fin tuna on the hook identified by the fishing cheat sheet – thanks for that Dale and Lorie!. Determined not to loose this one I gaffed it and poured the alcohol down its gills then pithed it with the filleting knife (well that’s what I attempted to do, it died so I guess I must have hit something right – either that or it gave up in disgust!), and finally bled it - all over the back end of the boat. I really had no idea how much a fish can bleed before now – it makes one heck of a mess. Gerry attached his harness and climbed out on to the transom where he expertly filleted the tuna and released the remains back to the deep. He did very well, getting good fillets from both sides – enough for 4 people (or as it turned out 2 very greedy people!) I skinned the fillets and tidied them up whilst Gerry washed the blood off the back end of the boat. Having caught dinner we packed the fishing gear away for the night. We had planned to bar b que the fish but the swell was so rolly that I ended up baking it in the oven with some vegetables, it was delicious! As night fell we began the 3 hour watches, the winds became more erratic and seemed to come from every direction but were still very light, it began to rain and we had to close up the curtains in the cockpit; the main banged and flapped necessitating a preventer being put out, but even this proved ineffectual in the end and we had to put the main away. Whilst Gerry was sleeping I watched the wind die away even further and our speed dropped and dropped until at 1.2knots I decided to turn on the motor, I tried to wake Gerry to let him know what I was about to do but he was well in the land of nod. The engine noise had him awake within half an hour and back out on deck where I explained that I didn’t want a 3 nights / 3 day trip to turn into a 7 night / 7 day one – hence the motor, luckily he agreed. We continued to just motor for the rest of the night, making up some of the time we had lost due to light winds. Lightening broke up the skyline all around us but we didn’t get the heavy rain fall that we had thought was going to accompany it.



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