Tuesday 17 September 2013

Still at sea, west coast Santo

As we continue to plug south the 185 miles to Luganville, the highlight of today would have to be the landing of a 10kg Wahoo, or MahiMahi.

The seas were calm and the wind had got up to the point that we’d turned the engine off – we were doing about 6-7 knots and all of a sudden the line in the fishing rod went … zzzzzzzzzzzzz … it caught everyone’s attention because it’s the first time we’ve heard that sound on this mission … in fact on any mission from what I understand.

I grabbed the fishing rod and after untying it from the side rail tried to wind it in but the line kept racing out – a good sign of a big fish, but then I saw I was running out of line and pretty soon there’d be a problem.  Matt at the helm brought us up into the wind and Sally hauled on the sheets to slow our progress.  Gibson donned some gloves and began hauling on the line to make it easier for me to wind the reel, while Bob and Cathy raced forward for the gaff … “what’s a gaff?,” called Cathy … “In the anchor locker … long pole with a hook on the end”, I yelled … Bob held up the boat hook,  “No, in the locker, for landing fish !!”

By this time Chimere was wallowing in the sea with Gibson and I wrestling the line onto the reel, little bit by little bit.  David had his camera in hand and after rustling through the anchor well Bob returned with the gaff and stood expectantly on the stern platform.  The fish came to the surface, all greens and yellows – all very beautiful … and tasty.  Bob lifted it aboard with the gaff …

There’s the dinner bell … I’ll be back

Mmmm, that fish tasted good … with sweet potato and island cabbage

Getting back to the landing of the fish … Bob and Gibson took charge of the cleaning and filleting with everyone having some involvement, so it was very much a fish by committee.

In other news, we got through last night pretty well with David and Sally – husband and wife team – taking the first 3 hours, followed by Matt and Cathy and so on.  My job was to sleep, try and send the evening’s Ships Log on HF radio on SailMail (which after trying for hours caused me to give up) and be available for sail and other work as required.

Early morning revealed we were in sight of the top of the island of Espiritu Santo (Santo) and miraculously I had an active internet signal, so I took advantage by sending off the Ships Log.  Since then, there’s been no coverage all the way down the west coast of the island.

All day we’ve been heading down the coast with the mountain range on our left and sea on our right.  The sun was out and things were pretty warm, especially when the wind died off.

Bob and Gibson made up a shelter on the foredeck in front of the dinghies with a small tarp and slept, played the guitar and sang for much of the time.  For Matt, Cathy, David and Sally, it was much the same, with sleep being one of my favourite things – catching up on the deficiency of the past couple of weeks.

With just 7 aboard it seems kind of quiet now that the medical team have said their farewells.  No doubt they are all finding their way home as I type.

There’s not a lot more to report.  I’m just hoping I can send this off on the airwaves tonight – if not, I expect to have internet access by tomorrow morning.  There are some wonderful photos from the past couple of weeks too which we’d like to share with you and once we drop anchor in Luganville – hopefully tomorrow morning – I’ll send them away.

The seas are currently slight, but the 10-15kt breeze is on the nose, so we are motoring into it at and making about 5kts.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and we had fish tonight

Rob Latimer

www.msm.org.au