Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 11: 08.38.166'N 048.32.687'W, 143nm (24h)

December 18, 1200 UTC
Distance to go: 427nm
Wind and waves: NE 15-20kn, 3m
Sails: Main and genoa, port tack

What is 1,2m long, 6,6kg and on board the Pjotter in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? The beautiful, big fish that Seb caught yesterday evening (with a little help from me wielding the gaffing hook). It was 1845 (UTC -3) (which is when post-dinner rush hour starts) when the fishing rod let out a loud zzzzzing and just kept on zzzzinging! Seb put the brake on but line continued to feed out. With a glint in his eye and a look of grim determination Seb picked up the rod and stationed himself on the roof of the cockpit to begin the fight. Two days ago, the last time we had a bite on the rod, Seb spent a great deal of sweat trying to land a large fish only to have it slip the hook and swim away after 45 minutes of effort. I juggled cleaning up dinner, trying to get the monkeys to bed, taking photos and films, gathering equipment and shouting tips and words of encouragement. Emma and Macsen were having nothing of going to bed and were both determined to see the fight come to conclusion. After only 1/2 hour the fish neared the boat, Seb handed me the rod and started pulling the line in by hand. "You have to gaff him by the base of his jaw" was the only instruction I got before wielding the hook through the gills and pulling while Seb heaved the wriggling mass over the high side of the Pjotter. It was a beautiful fish and seemed enormous lying there on our deck. It's sides were a iridescent blue and it had a distinctive fan-shaped back fin and tale resembling a tuna but the flesh is white rather than red. We think it was a Wahoo. It is now a lot of lovely little filets stacked in our refrigerator. We had fish sticks for lunch (very popular with E&M) and our plan for the coming two days include sushi-ed, stir-fried, curried and grilled Wahoo. Delicious!

Our second visitor yesterday afternoon was a storm kestrel. This friendly little brown bird with webbed feet and a long bill started to fly around the boat at around 1800. It finally worked up the courage to land on the cockpit railing and rested their quietly during the entire fish catch, enduring excited points and chats from a thrilled Emma and Macsen. It stayed with us until 2200 at which point it quietly flew away.

The winds have picked up again and we seem to be enjoying the typical trade winds of 15-20 knots at 150 degrees off our targeted course. This allows us to sail at 6-7 knots and we are making very good headway.

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