Terry Nelson

Founder Member of S.L.A.T.ECharity


Our position is 08deg 14minutes S, 130deg 29minutes W.
We have 571 miles to go! This would have taken us just over two days at the speed we had at the start, however now, we are predicting a Saturday landfall.
The wind is strengthening from during the night and we have the engine on to charge the batteries, we may still make Friday!

Earlier today we had the fishing line out and lo and behold it went zinging, that's the sound when the fish takes the lure and pulls out more line, we dive to action station. Izzi on the helm to slow the boat by bringing her closer to the wind and she starts the engine. Colin to the rod to reel the fish in, me to the stern with the gaff to spear the fish.......we can see it jumping, it's on top of the water, it's... Only a small Dorado! And it slips the hook just as we lift it out of the water, probably just as well, too small anyway!

We reset and get the boat back on course and up to speed.....zing, it's away again, we move faster this time but once again the fish slips away off the hook.

We settle down waiting for it to go again, but it is all quiet, and we prepare the tea, we can't be that lucky to get another strike today after all the days of nothing!
Zing, we are away, Colin is reeling in and we can see it, another small Dorado, and he manages to land on the deck. Too small, I get the hook out of its mouth and throw it back and we stop trying for the night.
3 fish on the line, 1 landed, none kept....... Disappointing, but now we know we can do better tomorrow.

The next day.

Success.... Another fish, this time a medium sized Dorado, it's quickly killed and filleted and Izzi has it in the freezer quick as a flash, think it's only the junior fish we are allowed to catch, no big fish in sight.

I settle down to write an email home and as I am doing so, I hear the call FISH!! And it's a big one. We jump to action, Colin is on the reel but can't slow it down, there's a lot of line going out, Izzi is on the helm and spins the boat to windward with some encouragement from Colin, the boat slows and he starts to reel in.

Izzi shouts back at him, “take your time, tire it out......” The rod is bending, this is a big fish, Colin reels it in, the fish has taken out the same length of line as we had out originally it's going to be a monster task to land this big boy!

He winds it in, stops, winds in again, we don't want to lose this one, we see a flash in the water to stern, I get in position, lying flat sticking out under the pushpit, ready with the gaff, I can see it in the water, it's a monster, OMG! Colin plays it to bring it alongside,

it dives to the other side, easy, easy.... Colin has the rod out of the holder and walks back, the fish is below me, I'll only get one chance at this and reach out and .... Stab, got it, and haul it up, Colin shouts, “through the rail not over”, and I drag it up the side of the boat and pass the gaff through the rail. Colin shouts, “it's a blue Marlin”, as I try to get it over the rail, but it's head is large, with its spear, got to keep hold of the gaff, try again, it slips over and with an almighty heave it is on the deck, thrashing about madly.

I need to keep the gaff upwards to hold the fish, it's huge, we try the alcohol in the gills to kill it,but can't get enough in, Colin grabs the knife and stabs it in the head, it is in its death throes and is thrashing and crashing, I'm holding onto the gaff while trying to keep the fish at arms length, one swipe with its spike and well......
Get the tape measure, can't believe this is so big, it measures 1.8metres, that's 6feet in old money! Get the cameras; it is so heavy I can hardly lift it for the photo.
What a fish, blue grey in colour with a fan dorsal fin, and 6 inch spike, beautiful fish.

Colin sets to work with the knife to butcher the fish, with his surgical skills, we strip off both sides and cut them up into manageable pieces, we have 13 large portions, enough for 4persons each, that's 27 meals from this for Colin and Izzi.

Catching the fish is a bit gruesome, with a lot of blood, and obviously the act of landing and killing it. We now have to clean the decks and then ourselves as we are covered in blood and gore.

Think we deserve a beer after that.
While we get cleaned up, Izzi has the fish trimmed and into the freezer in portions.

Sailing here in the Pacific is wonderful, with blue skies and steady winds, which are a bit lighter now, but still steady.The seas have calmed down and there is little waves or swell compared to the first few days of the crossing, the boat is zipping along with a few course corrections as the wind direction changes, but it is idyllic, today there is even less clouds, and we look forward to another beautiful sunset. What a day.

As we were sitting with our sundowners, we hear a ping and something hitting the deck, another small equipment failure, the dynema rope which secures the metal ring to the spinnaker boom had chaffed through and parted, this is used to hold the fore and aft preventers to allow the boom to be positioned.
Colin quickly assesses what is wrong and what's needed to fix and we lower the pole onto the foredeck, running away the genny. A quick loop and a couple of knots and we are back in business, thank goodness it went now and not during the night. We had been hearing a strange ratcheting sound coming from the pole, but could not place it, now we know.

© 2019 Terry Nelson


A Pacific Adventure.