Day 5 – Alone & Near Mutiny
Perspective: We’re pretty far away from civilization now. Haven’t seen any freighters for about a day. It’s night time. 4 in the morning. It’s dark. No moon. Just stars and a big empty ocean. I lay on the front of my boat as it gently bobs up and down in the gentle rolling swell. I look up. The sky is ablaze with stars. Every minute or so a shooting star. It’s nothing like anything I’ve seen before. Stars from one horizon, all the way up, and back down to the opposite horizon. It makes you wonder about life. What’s out there? The cosmos. The grandest of mysteries. Beyond ordinary human understanding. It makes you realize how insignificant we are. Our place in the cosmos is but a piece of dust.
In order to avoid complete mutiny, the captain had to shave his beard. Regrettably. But it ain’t all bad. The captain crafted a nice little moustache out of that beard. The captain does as he pleases….until mutiny.
Things did infact get a little mutinous today. But that’s not where they started…
Ben finally fulfilled a life dream and caught his first Tuna! The cute little guy was hooked around first light and what an amazing thing!
After the excitement of catching the Tuna there was some discussion about all of the glorious things that can be done with it and that’s where things got a little mutinous. It is no secret, I am not a fan of prickly, scratchy beards rubbing in my face and the beard had not gotten softer as promised… I begged for the removal of the scritchy stuff. I pleaded. Then I started to bargain (I think this is where the mutinous behaviour comes in).
I refused to prepare the amazing little tuna until the beard was “dealt with”. Well let’s really consider this. Anyone who has met me, knows that I love food. And anyone who loves food can not ignore a freshly caught black fin tuna chillin in there fridge for too long. Luckily (**I think**), I fooled the Captain. He finally caved and disappeared into the bowels of the boat for an hour or so, for what I only could assume was beard removal… … … And I guess he did remove the beard, the nose hair, the ear hair, the stray eyebrow hair… but he carved an amazing stash. My cute adorable teddy bear was now not a cuddly (prickly) bear, but a suave and proud Tom Selleck aka Magnum PI. Actually kind of amazing. I have given up. It makes me smile just thinking about it. Uncle Sean, there was also much mention of you in this whole affair, so thanks.
Well, I caved. The little Tuna was calling to me and I spent a few hours preparing the most amazing selection of Tuna treats I could put together on this boat. I kind of even impressed myself and I have to say it was the best fish we have ever caught.
I am on second watch tonight (0300 – 0800) and the clouds have disappeared, the moon has set and the stars have come out in force! Somehow it is different out here. Maybe it’s the unobstructed view, the complete lack of light pollution, but whatever it is, the sky seems bigger, deeper and more vibrant out here. It is awe inspiring and only 150 more nautical miles to go.
Going with the ‘3 hour’ theme, the Admiral made 3 hour sushi out of my football size Black Fin Tuna. What a treat. We had Tuna tartare, tuna rolls, a tuna sushi hamburger thing and a plethora of other 5 star worthy variations of Tuna. I shoved as much, as quickly as I could down my throat. No care in the world for the waistline at this point.
Not much else happened today. We had glass calm water for parts. Just massive ocean swell. Probably 2-3 meters but so widely spaced that it felt like repeatedly slowly going up and down in one massive elevator.
Day 6 – Slow Yer Roll
(By Ben) Prior to my shift ending last night 3am I give specific instructions. Fishing instructions. Lines are to be out before first light. They are to be carefully monitored. It is critical we catch another tuna. I bounce onto deck at 8am and what do I find? A mere two out of four lines out. They are covered in weeds. And one has been switched to have a “pink” lure. Really? My crew mate did however ‘save me’ a flying fish on deck (which she did not want to touch). After careful lure selection I delicately place that guy on a lure and attentively wait. It’s only a matter of time before I slay another tuna. A bigger tuna.
The captains moustache is coming along nicely. It’s a wee bit on the short side for my liking. Nothing a few months of growth won’t fix.
The sun is setting and we’ll be approaching the Puerto Rican coast in the next 12 hours. Problem is, we need to make land fall during daylight hours. Of course, the wind comes up just after dark. The waves build and here we are, watching this big girl charge towards Puerto Rico. It’s almost as if she’s looking forward to laying at a dock for a few days. Secretly she’s probably looking forward to her freshwater wash down. We finally get her slowed down with a reef in the main and the genoa rolled in significantly. Doesn’t help much with comfort as the steep waves hit us side on. It’s been such a calm passage but tonight is not going to be one of those nights.
Regardless of weather, there’s still something special about night passages. You sit there and watch the stars. The moon. You might get a moon set. You dream. Your mind wanders.
We are so close now. I am very much looking forward to an escape to land and yet, as I sit here and watch the moon set I know I will miss the nights. It is not very often you spend a lot of time outdoors watching the wind, waves and sky in the middle of the night. I probably won’t again until our next night passage. Tonight was both beautiful and trying. Beautiful skies, fickle winds and seas. Which means I had to actually trim sails, change course and generally pay attention all in a slamming sea. Oh and I had to keep the boat going not too fast, which is not my style.
As 3am approaches and I am almost off shift the moon is setting and all is good. I know when I wake up next we will be within spitting distance of land.
I can see the glow of Puerto Rico now. At first I thought it was the sun rising. But the sun never rises in the west. We’re almost at the finish line now!
We’re charging towards land now. Nine plus knots over ground!
LAND HO!!! Hello Caribbean and Puerto Rico.
A little football Black Fin Tuna.
Becalmed in the Atlantic.
Daytime refuelling mission.
This little flying fish flew a little too far.
Fajardo, Puerto Rico.