June 17, 2010

The one that got away

I am sure or at least I am pretty sure, that nearing the end of the 3 weeks at sea, you will see a blog post titled something like, "Get me the heck off this boat", but for right now we are all really enjoying our time out here. Seriously! Weird eh?

Each day gets easier and easier. You take the pros with the cons and eventually it just becomes life. You get use to the movement on board, high gusty winds, the odd rogue wave or two in the cockpit, holding on all the time, reading, talking, lounging, star gazing, bird watching, squalls, rainbow sightings, cooking, eating, wave riding, speed watching.......I am really surprised. Today as we sped along at over 7 knots, I actually cleaned the bathroom and washed the floors in the boat and then scrubbed down the cockpit. Life goes on.

We are all still super hungry all the time. Graham made two really fantastic meals today. The first was fresh fish sticks made with Alex's first fish of the trip. A small Mahi Mahi that he caught yesterday. He double breaded the fish fillets into sticks and did a fry. OMG it was good. The second meal was a dish called, "doubles". It is our favorite meal but it takes him quite a bit of work. It is basically a chickpea curry sandwich. He makes the curry a day ahead so it sits and gets really flavorful. Today he made up the curry bread and then fried up the bread and made up the doubles. Now they will never be as good as Mama Thackoories (say Hi to your mom for us Brian) but man did they hit the spot!

At 4 pm today we hit 1000 nms and our 1 week out mark! Very exciting. We sailed side by side with Gromit in celebration. They were so close we could talk back and forth. Probably closer than the captain would of liked :-). It was a lot of fun. It was so great to see them all up close and not just speak on the radio. I got some great pictures of them. The kids got out the air horn and fired off a couple shots.

It has been a great learning experience budding boat on such a big ocean. I don't think any of us realized how much work it would be to try and stay together. Gromits boat is 47 feet and ours is 43 feet. Our boats sail very differently and go faster based on different points of sail. Given Gromits size they could beat us in most races though. This means that we have to work at adjusting sail plans to maximize our speed and also set up their sails to match us. We check in with each other every few hours and see what our average speeds are and they try to match. When weather kicks up we reef and we check back in to see speeds etc. The first 4 days or so, there was the steep learning curve. We did a lot of cat and mouse which was a bit tiring. One night Gromit ran on only their main waiting for us and then the next night we even got way ahead and had to run on only our main. Artemo for some reason goes really fast when the wind is behind her. Anyway by day 5 I thing we had the hang of it and now we are both steering via our windvanes and we set our course based on the wind and the boats just do the rest! I am constantly surprised that Artemo is totally on the rum line to Marquesas. No matter what the wind does. It is freaky. She definitely knows the way.

Tonight as the sun was setting Graham and I were down below on the SSB radio net. Other boats that are underway to Marquesas check in and give their coordinates. As we were listening the kids start yelling they have a fish. I look up just as they lose it and then all of a sudden we see the other handline start unraveling at a crazy rate. Amelia grabs the line and almost cuts her fingers. Alex grabs the hand reel and can barely hold on as Graham scrambles up the stairs. He grabs hold and is in shock at the load on the line. Well you can just imagine the frenzy that picks up on board. We realize it is huge so I go to grab the Tequilla (still have a bit left! thanks Martha) and the gaf. I fasten the harness on Graham and the headlamp. Alex gets his harness on. We relay the play by play to Gromit and then finally the fish is close enough to the back of the boat to see it. Graham and Alex are yelling and the smiles and excitement on their faces was better than anything. They said it was at least 5 feet long and looks like a wahoo. Just as they are bracing themselves to pull it in the 300 pound test snaps and they watch as the massive fish takes a final leap in the air and is gone. SO SAD!! Unbelievably SAD. You can not imagine how hard it was to lose this fish. We spent the next hour re-living the course of events and examining the line and dreaming of the one that got away.

Tomorrow at sunset you will catch Alex out on deck fishing, convinced that he will catch that BIG ONE! Stay tuned....


  1. The Acreage - Fort MacleodJune 17, 2010 at 5:34 AM

    Alex - know just how you feel losing the fish - there will be another. Life sounds good and you guys all sound like you are not just coping but thriving. Great stuff!!!
    Dad and Cheryl

  2. I think that's the best 'one that got away story' ever! So sorry Alex. I can feel your disappointment.
    You need to catch one of those 5 feet long fish. I would LOVE to hear that story. How do you lift it? Kill it? Cook it? I can see Julie freaking out with a 5 foot long fish flopping around on deck.

  3. I think by now I would have gone stir crazy being on that boat and not seeing land. I guess its a good thing that everyone is still enjoying themselves as the half way mark still has to be reached. I have to say I felt a bit of relief when you said that fish got away. Doesnt a 5 ft fish scare the heck out of you? It does me. Sorry Alex I am sure you would have loved to have had a fish story like that..and the pic to go with it. Better luck next time.

  4. Wow! That's a big fish
    Too bad it got away!

  5. So Alex, the fish was taller and weighed more than you do. It would have been quite a fight had it got on board. If it broke the 300 pound line then I say it is better in the water than in your boat. What a story for you to retell to your children and grandchildren. Sound like all is well and everyone is happy. I can't wait to see all the pictures. love you all

  6. Oh man! Exciting blog. Too bad the fish got away. You could have ate it all the way to French poly. I will have to google that type of fish, I have never heard of it. Keep trying. It will be nice to fish with an experienced fisherman when I get down there!

    Miss ya,


  7. Wow! That's really too bad that the huge fish (whale in my mind) got away, but sounds great that Alex is making his own fish sticks!

    My mom read this blog and said the buns you guys baked look delicious!