Conditions: Pretty good. 15 to 20 knots on the beam. Bouncy. We stopped looking at weather forecasts a week ago. Nothing seems to change out here. It’s either windy or pretty windy. Persons aboard. One fisherman. One hell of a fisher woman. Fish count: One monster…
(Ben) And just like that it’s all over. Where did the last few weeks go? Man it’s been a long haul. Can’t wait to be there and get a full nights sleep. But at the same time I love it out here. Gazing into the sky for hours at night. Being a complete sloth and watching entire TV series while on shift. We haven’t seen a single vessel in over two weeks.
We’re now exactly 24 hours away from land and will actually slow this vessel down in order to arrive during daylight. The destination? It’s called “The Bay of Penises.” Sounds interesting.
The charts have been scouted and marked for all sea mounts. Fishing lines will be at the ready at first light. Crew will be prepped and anticipating the big one to bite. We will slay the monster. There will be a blood bath on Nahoa. And we will share this monster Yellowfin with all the locals.
Daylight arrives and nothing. Not a bite. Noon arrives and “pop, fizzzzz.” A pre-celebratory beer has been cracked. If we’re not going to hook into that monster after all we might as well celebrate our almost-arrival. We have almost crossed the Pacific Ocean. What a milestone. What a momentous occasion.
Time for a nap I suppose (can’t be related to that brew). Just a few minutes of shut-eye. And like clock work I awake to the screams of Ashley. “FISH ON. FISH ON!!!!”
I jump out of bed. Grab my nickers and head on deck. It’s complete chaos. One rod & reel is hooked up. Two handlines are ziiinging with tension and the other reel is getting spooled. I increase the drag and “ping”. That one is gone. Would have been gone anyways I suppose once it inevitably ran out of line. Next up is the first handline. Hrrmmmm. It’s gone slack too. Sure enough, the swivel broke. That’s significant because no small fish breaks a swivel. Over to the other side of the boat now. I grab my gloves and start on the second handline. Wow! There is some sort of beast on the end of this. Slowly. Ever so slowly we gain a bit of line back. It won’t show itself quite yet. Hand over hand the monster comes closer. And then it surfaces. Expletives exit our mouths. “Holy *&*!. Shit. F*@! That is Insane!” It’s HUGE. It is truly huge. We have hooked into the biggest yellowfin Tuna I have ever seen. Bigger than I have ever dreamed of. It’s a small whale. Excitement gives way to strategic moves. Ever so carefully we bring it closer. Just about until it’s at the back step. I grab the gaff and “smack”, the deal is done. We have just landed an 80 pound monster yellowfin. The boat erupts in laughter, hoots and jubilation. Pictures are taken. Blood is everywhere. I’m covered from head to toe. But it’s pure adrenaline. An experience of a lifetime.
PS. The grand prize goes to the homemade lure made from a Laphroig scotch cork. Unbelievable. A $3 investment turned into $1500?
(Ash) I can’t believe it’s all over! Well almost. It’s been one hell of a last day! My fish, the baby fish, or rather the second biggest yellow fin tuna we have caught was also a beauty and surprising hard to reel in. It’s not all the time I get to reel in the fish, my fisher husband usually has the honors. After he landed the mother of all Tunas on the hand line though, I got my turn! It’s pretty exhilarating to fight a fish on a rod and tougher than it looks :). We kept both fish. It’s a lot of fish. Our fish processing plant finally shut down around 8pm tonight. Vacuum bagged and in the freezer. The freezer is jammed packed… again. Dinner was made, a huge, gorgeous yellow fin steak with a watermelon salad. A perfect last night.
We are less than 50 miles from land I am both extremely happy to know this is my last night shift and also a little sad. Tonight was a night for reflection and peace on the high seas. With reefs in the sails and the boat moving slow (on purpose for a change), it was nice to just be able to chill out and star gaze. I will miss this for sure. But I am also looking forward to a full nights sleep, that celebratory bottle of champagne and a calm anchorage.