Monday, December 9, 2013

Fannng to Hilo, Day 12: Wa-hoo! We Caught a Wahoo

After cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I emerged from the companionway into the cockpit to see a fish on the end of my line! I had put the lines in the water when my watch started at sun-up. It was my first real fishing effort in three or four days, because it had been too rough: not too rough to fish, just too rough to deal with a fish should we catch one.

As I pulled the fish in hand-over-hand, I could tell from its pointy snout that it was either a tuna or a wahoo: definitely not a mahi mahi. As the fish got closer to the boat, I could see the unmistakable colors of a wahoo. Wa hoo! We finally caught a wahoo! Patrick grabbed the wire leader and tried to lift the fish over the lifelines, but those wahoo are darned heavy! The fish was struggling, and I didn't want to lose our very first wahoo, so I quickly thrust my hand under the gill cover and grabbed the gills to help haul the fish on board.

It was a nice sized wahoo for our-sized refrigerator: a meter long before I removed the long, pointy head and short tail. It wasn't much fun cleaning the fish in a rolling cockpit in 18 knots of wind; but Patrick steered the boat downwind for a less violent action while I cleaned, and we got her done. I should say, we got "him" done, because the wahoo was a male. Now, we have retired the trolling lines for the rest of the passage. The wahoo will provide us with about five generous meal's worth of fresh fish: more than enough to see us to Hilo.

The menu for Day 12? Wahoo fish sandwiches with garlic mayo for lunch and wahoo steaks with leftover pasta alfredo for dinner. Vegetables? What's a vegetable?

The conditions are still rough, but we are out of the lightning and most of the rain. The forecast shows no precipitation, but we still have about 80 percent cloud cover, and some of these clouds are holding rain. Winds are variable---16 to 25 knots with gusts to 28 (the forecast says 18 knots)---and the swells are still big and still steep. However, since the wind has been more from the east, we have been on a beam reach and have been able to maintain an average speed of five knots or better. (This also means the cockpit is very wet, as we occasionally get hit broadside by a wave whose top falls right into our cockpit.) It's looking good for our arrival at Hilo on Wednesday.

Posted from sea via Ham Radio.

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