Thursday, October 15, 2009

Catch and release

Exactly and precisely as we were settling down for lunch, with steaks
cooked as required, mashed potatoes ready on the table, ssssttttrrriiikkke !
All hand on deck, stove still burning cooking my steak, task at hand
being to stop the boat and collect the fish. In the manoeuver (lousy
one at that), my steak became coal before we could switch off the gaz.
In my haste to stop the boat and come to heave to, since we had the
genoa on the pole, I started the engine and managed to get the line
underneath the boat and probably in the propeller.
After almost an hour of trying to clear the line, Jean-Francois and
Claude decided to give it up and cut the line. So they did it and we got
ready to resume lunch. That's when Jean-Francois decided to go back at
the stern and secure the gaz bottle in their locker. Doing that, he saw
the fish being trailed behind the boat. So, one more time. But this
time, on only rolled up the genoa to slow down, and our two fishermen
did their level best to try and catch the line with boat hooks without
much success. As they were about to give up again, the line got caught
in Claude's hook and they were able to recover he end of the line going
from the prop to the fish. In no time, the fish was aboard enjoying its
last sip of cherry liquor. But it looked very much like a barracuda and
we were definitely undecided. While Claude started cleaning the fish, I
looked into my books to see if I had drawings of fish in the Pacific and
yes, it was a Barracuda. I still have vivid memories of the year spent
to get rid of the ciguaterra, and although this one was caught in deep
water, we decided to send it back to were it came from and to keep the
photos. And all that happened in a non moment in time, just after I had
pushed the clocks back one hour and the calendar forward one day.
Apart from that, the wind continues to blow at more than 25 knots and we
are still going too fast. We will probably have to drift for a while
before going into Neiafu. We only have maybe one third of the genoa and
no main and still we are going at more than 5 knots.
At noon (UTC-10) we had covered 118 miles, closing on Neiafu by 112 with
84 to go. To get there at 7 local time, we need to do no more than 4.2
knots. We'll keep the foot on the brake pedal. . .

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