Monday, July 29, 2013

Fish On!

Just before sunset yesterday evening, we caught a fish that was in the tuna family---but it was only a juvenile, still quite alive, and we released it. Knowing there were tuna in the area, I had my line in the water early this morning. Around mid-morning, I looked at the line and it appeared taut. I tugged on the line: Something tugged back! This fish was a fighter! Unfortunately, we are not very sporting when it comes to procuring dinner, and Patrick gaffed the fish when I brought it alongside the boat: The fish lost, and Silhouette had landed our first albacore! And what a beautiful albacore it was. The fish was a nice size, and we ended up with about a dozen albacore steaks after we cleaned it. What an exciting start to our day! We will post a picture when we have an internet connection again.

Today was a banner day in a number of other ways. Shortly after catching the fish, we saw three whales to starboard. There appeared to be two humpback whales traveling together, along with a third and different kind of whale. The third whale was about the size of an orca, but it had a long, slender dorsal fin and was all black.

The temperature also noticeably warmed up today by just by a few degrees. We can use one less blanket on the pilot berth and wear one fewer layer on night watches. We're not in the tropics yet, but we can tell we're getting there. This passage has actually been kind to us from the weather perspective. I expected a frigid, wet passage after those last frosty cold snaps in Whangarei. It's been cool, certainly; but with a layer of long underwear, a layer of fleece, and our foul weather gear at night, we've been comfortably warm, and we haven't needed to run the diesel heater in the cabin. There's been very little rain so far (we've had only one really snotty day.)

When we checked out in Marsden Cove, the Customs officer told us that on a passage to or from New Zealand you can choose when you want to have your bad weather: at the beginning, the middle, or the end. It looks like ours will be at the end, as a low is predicted to develop at 30 S, just as we approach Rarotonga. In some ways, it might be easier to deal with bad weather when we are ALMOST THERE.

We've seen three freighters and noted a fourth on the AIS, which passed too far south of us to see. There is a lot of shipping traffic inbound for New Zealand, and we're glad we keep a watch.

We've been back on a beat the past couple of days, with variable progress of 3.5 to 5 knots, depending on the sea state. But tonight, we're maintaining a boat speed of 5 to 7 knots on a beam reach. Last night, I saw half a dozen meteors, but tonight the moon and stars are completely obscured by cloud cover as Silhouette plunges headlong through the inky night.

At dinner, we feasted on albacore seared in olive oil and garlic, along with a crunchy red cabbage salad chock-a-block full of pepper, cucumber, radish, tomato, carrot, and green onion. Life is good on the sailing vessel Silhouette.

Posted from sea via Ham Radio.