26th Oct 2017
Friends and Family,

Today has been a day of great progress on the water – despite the winds being relatively light we have had good wind angles and good current and some assistance with good ‘ole trusty Perkins (85 quality diesel horsepower). Right now we have the main and reacher filling with wind on the starboard aft quarter and are moving at 8 knots on a flat sea with virtually no rolling – gorgeous! It’s our first Starboard tack since Vanuatu.

Earlier today we were enjoying a calm sea when Cam noticed a large piece of white flotsam ahead – we headed over for a look while Rob enthusiastically lunged for the fishing line and had a lure in before you could say “who farted?”. On approach we could see that it was a large single use canvas bag and there were a few little fish hanging around under its shade. Suddenly we noticed some large flashes of colour below and Rob just went off – “Mahi Mahi ohhh look at that they are GORGEOUS ohhh”.

Mahi Mahi or Dorado or Dolphinfish are a deep sea fish known for their extreme beauty and great eating – their fins are iridescent blue, they are blue / purple on top with metallic gold sides with blue dots, these fish were about 1.2m long. They are known for living in groups up to 100 around even small pieces of flotsam – they are stunning really, look them up. They are a real prize for fisherman and Rob has been dreaming about them for ever. After a few laps around the bag Rob latched onto one and was reeling it in. It fought hard and jumped into the air several times. After a while he stopped winding and we had a go at wearing out the fish by driving the boat forward for 10 minutes or so. Eventually it was lying on its side so we got in to the boat, onto the gaff and on board. We tried the method of sedation using rum over the gills, and it worked a treat. After a photo shoot Rob spent about 2 hours preparing what is a lot of fresh fish, which we enjoyed tonight.

We stopped for another swim today – more amazing blue that seems to go for ever. This was after our more mature folk had a water fight with buckets on the deck.

Our Chief cook Gwylim has been treating us to a great variety of food so far including curried fish, chunky beef on pasta, vegetarian on pasta, coleslaw tuna salad, green salad, bangers and mash with onion gravy and Sri Lankan ‘Hoppers’ this morning – a combo of pancakes and fried egg. Today we baked some fresh bread and had hot bread and jam for lunch.

My sailing history is in dinghies, windsurfers and cats with a bit of yacht sailing with relatives in Sydney so this has been a real learning experience. It’s been great to sail with blokes who have raced the oceans and cruised the world and they are wise and patient in their teaching. I’ve learned about different bits and pieces like running back stays, the boom preventer and the barber hauler (which is not someone who pulls your hair out).

We are aiming for an arrival in Sydney before a Southerly which is forecast for Tuesday morning – will keep you posted.

This image showing the Chimere doing 9kts, which must be close to maximum. I think they are riding the EAC … dudes!
Rob Latimer