Adjusting to Life in the Tropics is Easy and Fast

DSC_0058We loved our stay in New Zealand, but we really love our time in the tropics.

It has been over 2 weeks since our arrival in Fiji, and all of our hats, fleece, pants, and down comforters have been safely stored away, potentially forever. Our readjustment to life in the tropics is pretty much complete, and it was accelerated by the fact that we had some challenging (in a good way) guest logistics after our arrival in Savusavu.

If you recall, we had a full crew on the passage up from New Zealand, consisting of the four of us plus Dan and our friends Ravi and Alison (whom forevermore shall be referred to as “Ravison”.) The morning after we cleared customs, our friends Ian and Becky (remember “Hooked”?) arrived for a 10 day visit. That means we had a minimum of a 4-5 day period where Sophie had 9 souls on board. I say minimum because whenever guests join us in the tropics, I repeatedly try to convince them that “missing” their flight in order to remain in paradise for a few more days, in the greater scheme of things, is a much better choice than going back to another 3 days of work in the office.

Anyway, this chart shows how we managed people logistics over the 2 weeks.IMG_1347

The boat icon shows where we are currently located, in Savusavu. After Ian and Becky arrived, we motored down to that little anchor icon and spent 3 days of water fun offshore from the Cousteau Resort, one of the world’s first eco-friendly family vacation spots.

Fortunately, Sophie had two new pieces of equipment to assist us in our readjustment to tropical water sport fun. The first was the “Relaxation Station” V2, the successor to a floating water toy that we used to bring with us on summer vacations in British Columbia’s Desolation Sound. We used to raft with 5 other families on their boats on those vacations. The kids would usually play on Sophie’s trampolines, and the grownups would safely move off of the boat, and, well, relax.

V2 definitely delivered.

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The second piece of equipment is something I picked up on a whim at a Mitre store on our last day in New Zealand. It is a simple water dispenser with a spigot and a frozen tube in the center.IMG_1348

I had no idea that such a simple piece of plastic would become a black hole in our liquor cabinet. The combination of this piece of plastic, 7 adults on board celebrating a successful ocean crossing, Relaxation Station V2, and some tropical sun after 6 months in New Zealand and a lifetime in gray Seattle resulted in Sophie essentially running out of booze for the first time ever. Granted, our stocks were very low, and granted, the days of our having 40 people over every Thursday night for the Downtown Sailing Series are long gone, but I have to say, it was quite an accomplishment.

Of course it didn’t help that in my ongoing attempts to provide the best possible guest experience on Sophie Adventure Cruises that I would occasionally swim a resupply out to the people on the Relaxation Station. None of the guests complained.

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I also don’t want to create the impression that all we do is drink when we have friends on board, because we actually spend most of our time swimming, playing games, cooking, talking, homeschooling, reading, and listening to music.

One of the nice things about being a day ahead of North America is that we get to listen live to Michele Myer’s Friday night radio show on Seattle’s KEXP on Saturday afternoon. When we were down at Cousteau we emailed in a request for some surf music, and Michele responded with some Dick Dale. The crowd on the trampoline approved. Leo plays an excellent air surf guitar.

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Thanks Michele!

We spend a LOT of time swimming, paddling, diving, and splashing around. For me, Jenna, and the kids, it is definitely the best part about being out here. The water temperature is 83 degrees F right now. Our guests seem to enjoy it as well.

Normally, I am the king of the Olympic dives into the water from the top of Sophie’s coach roof, but I think I have finally met my match in Alison (also known as half of Ravison).

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At sunset, Alison decided to take Hazel out for some paddleboard yoga. Hazel enjoys yoga as a means to find her inner peace. So off they paddled, with Hazel doing the driving.

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However, Hazel decided that hanging out on the Relaxation Station V2 was going to be way more fun than finding inner peace doing paddleboard yoga with Alison, so she jumped into the water for a change of venue.FJ_29829

After some sunset paddleboard yoga, Alison, good soul that she is, came around to collect Hazel and bring her back to Sophie.

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One challenge Jenna and I faced that weekend was trying to figure out how to pull together meals that met the various dietary requirements of everyone on board. For starters, Ravison are strict vegans, which means they don’t eat meat, fish, or any animal product like milk or cheese.

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According to one of my favorite night watch movies, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” it also means that they are “better than the rest of us.” In reality, it means that they wind up eating delicious things like potato chip hummus cucumber wraps. A lot.

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Ian and Becky are gluten-free, which means we have to read the label for anything we might potentially cook with.

On the other extreme are people like me and Dan who can spend all day eating stuff like this.

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Jenna, as usual, played the role of happy medium who brought everyone together in a harmonious and respectful way. It turns out that we all agreed that vegan food tastes really good, and some dishes Ravison shared with us are now Sophie staples. The important thing is that we cooked together and ate well.

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Unfortunately, our weekend off Cousteau had to come to an end. We failed in our attempt to get Dan or Ravison to “miss” their flights. When I took Dan to the airport, he shocked us by breaking out his light blue Bermuda travel shorts. Where were those in New Zealand, dude?

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For Ravison’s departure the next day, I figured that they could enjoy some donuts without actually eating them.

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Dan, Ravi and Alison, you were wonderful crew and guests. We miss you so much and cannot wait until you re-join us.

Ian and Becky still had another 8 or so days with us. We wanted to head 40 miles east towards Taveuni Island, and area with excellent snorkeling that is on the right side of the map.

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Unfortunately, we ran into a low pressure system with strong winds from the east which forced us to hole up off of Cousteau in the rain for 2 days. (This low forced 24 boats heading north from New Zealand to hide out in Minerva Reef in 40 knot winds halfway up — we are hearing that it was a very, very rough passage for the boats that left a week after we did.)

On one of the days we tried to poke around the corner and see if we could make it, but we pounded into a very steep chop for five minutes. One of the screws holding a support arm for our starboard windmill post worked loose, causing the windmill to fall forward into the main sheet and snap off a blade. Fortunately it missed Ian’s head! (Barely.) We have ordered replacements.

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We also started to hear the “Water is seeping into the space between the two gaskets of the saildrive” alarm. This was a first for us and somewhat more disturbing, especially since we had just pulled the boat in New Zealand and that the Yanmar manual said the probable cause for the alarm were small cracks in the gasket causing seawater to leak into the boat. The repair requires hauling the boat out of the water.

The optimist part of me, which is essentially all of me, wasn’t too worried though. Our watermaker is located directly above that saildrive, and a couple of days earlier a hose inside the watermaker that feeds one of the unit’s pressure gauges had worked loose, dumping tens of gallons of water onto the saildrive and into the bilge. I had fixed the watermaker a few days earlier, but it had never occurred to me to check the saildrive. After we returned to Cousteau, I pulled the sensor that triggers the alarm, inserted a little hand pump into the space between the gaskets, and pumped the small amount of water out. The alarm hasn’t gone off since.

That is all that has broken since New Zealand, and I am so glad we don’t have to pull the boat out of the water again. Whew!

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Meanwhile, the strong easterlies continued and we had no appetite for motoring directly into them so we decided to sail 20 miles south to Namena Island, a nature preserve surrounded by a coral reef. Becky and Ian got to enjoy a 9 knot sail under a reefed main and full jib, and we all got to explore a new place for a couple of days.

The diving was excellent, and Jenna took a bunch of underwater photos diving the reef at the anchorage and also near South Save-A-Tack Pass.

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We also attracted the attention of a very small and VERY poisonous sea snake whose mouth, we hope, was too small to bite a person. We saw him on our cockpit steps (where we shower after swimming), swimming around near the boat, and even trying to climb inside our canvas engine cover for the dinghy. He apparently enjoyed our company.

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After a few days in Namena, we saw that we had a <10 knot easterly, so we decided to go for it and motor the 40 miles over to Viani Bay and Tavauni Island. It turned out to be a great call. For starters, we were treated to one of our best aerial dolphin shows, ever.

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It then got better, because as we neared our destination after a quick and calm passage, the fish began to bite, in a big way. It kicked off one of our best four day stretches of fishing we’ve ever had on Sophie. It started with Becky landing a 2 pound yellowfin tuna.

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One of our local friends described it as the smallest yellowfin he had ever heard of, but from Becky’s perspective it was enormous.

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Not to be outdone, a few minutes later Ian spotted a Spanish mackerel on one of the meat lines and we were able to get it onto the boat. It weighed in at 5 pounds

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Needless to say, this is one happy couple. And no, I am not wearing a skirt.

We spent the next 2 days with Jack, the local who owns the moorings in Viani Bay and who takes care of visiting yachties. We were the only boat in the harbor. We dodged bombies (coral heads), refilled gas, sat through a 40 knot squall, cabbed into town for supplies, discovered the beautiful “Cabbage Patch” reef, and enjoyed Jack’s stories as much as we enjoyed his papayas, bananas, and limes.

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But back to fishing.

Leo and I took Ian and Becky out trolling one morning, and we had an absolutely fabulous time. We had multiple hits and came back with an 8 pound Spanish mackerel and a 4 pound barracuda, Sophie’s first.

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Leo netted the barracuda and was proud to appear in the trophy shot.

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We gave the barracuda and the soup parts of the Spanish mackerel to Jack. On the next day we landed an 8 pound dogtooth tuna, another first for Sophie. The fish had meat so rich it almost looked like liver, but it made for a great sashimi goodbye lunch for Ian and Becky later that day.

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At this point, we were in a full-on fish frenzy. We were gently sailing downwind under main to get to the Matei airport anchorage so that Ian and Becky could avoid “missing” their flight. We had 3 big lures in the water, and we stumbled across a marlin sunning himself. I gybed the boat to chase him down and came within 10 meters of him but he avoided our offerings.

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I did use the opportunity to present a Quentin Tarantino-like hypothetical question to our guests:  Cut or Fight?

If we hook this fish, we would need to fight it for a couple of hours. You would miss your flight and be forced to stay with us for 4 more days. You would miss work, dogs, friends etc. and probably have to pay a few hundred in airline fees. But you would get a memory of a lifetime. So if we hooked a marlin, would you ask me to cut the line, or stay and fight?

One of our guests said after 30 minutes, basically “cut it”. The other said “stay and fight, OF COURSE!” (Each respondent’s identity will remain anonymous).

I posed this question earlier on Facebook and got some interesting answers.

Regardless, the fish solved the problem for us and 30 minutes later we were anchored in Matei. Ian and Becky packed, I scouted out how to get to the airport, and we then all enjoyed a nice luncheon on the flybridge. Becky tried on the mystery bra (over her shirt) and informed us that it didn’t belong to her. Our search continues.

We said our goodbyes, and then it was one more sad dinghy ride to take good friends off to the airport.

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Ian and Becky are wonderful people, and we are lucky to have them as part of our lives.

With their departure, the boat suddenly became quite quiet. We’ve had guests on board for over 3 weeks, and it was now back to just me, Jenna and the kids. We love our friends, and we also love our quiet time.

The next day we sailed 50 miles back to Savusavu. It was a beautiful and gentle sail. We hooked a big mahi mahi that we lost on the stern steps but landed a small bonito that we grilled last night.

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We’ll be on a mooring here for the next 10 days. I will fly back to the US for a week to attend my son Max’s graduation from law school. The kids have fewer distractions that can prevent them from focusing on their schoolwork (we hope).

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We also have the opportunity to run errands, South Pacific style. Like filling up on diesel directly from the fuel truck. Visiting immigration for government letters. Or going to the market every day.

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This is normally the part of the blog where I talk about how lucky we are. But it’s all not simply just luck. We have a guardian angel here on earth who watches out for us every day from her perch on our nav station.

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Gladys!

Sharing with friends like you back home, in addition to the friends who come to visit with us out here, is one of the things that makes life worth living. And that can happen regardless where you are and what you are doing. And for that we are all truly lucky.

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Recap of our New Zealand to Fiji Trip

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We completed our journey from New Zealand to Fiji 2 days ago. Overall, the 1,200 mile trip took us 6 days and 19 hours, which included a 5 hour fish stop. For those of you keeping track, we made 190 miles over our last 24 hour period, including a 9+ knot sail in a brisk easterly on Wednesday morning. We picked up the mooring at Savusavu at 2:06 PM that day.

From a physical perspective, it was remarkable how much warmer is got as we headed north. When we started, it was cold. Here is a shot of Ravi and Alison down south.

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When we ended, it was warm.

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But as much as we all enjoy photos of our friends on Sophie, I have a good feeling what all of you are looking for.

Here is a photo of the marlin after it was hooked.

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As I mentioned earlier, Dan fought bravely for FIVE HOURS. That means he was sitting on the starboard stern steps after he grabbed the rod.

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And he kept working it, for a long time.

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He got blisters on his fingers from working the reel. I fed him food and gave him water as he worked the fish.

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I also ran the boat in reverse with both engines in order to relieve pressure on the fishing line. After the first hour, we turned the motors off and drifted for the rest of the fight.

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The marlin spent the last hour within 100 feet of Sophie. When Dan finally got it near the transom, we realized that it was a) tired b) a striped marlin and c) small enough to bring on board. (If it was a 500 pound fish, we would have let it go. As I mentioned earlier, we were able to freeze all of the meat off the fish.)

We spent some time hoisting the fish to get the right trophy shot.

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We finally got it.

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Once we got the shot, we started harvesting.

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Dan at this point was pretty tired, understandably so, so I did most of the work. Fortunately, we had watched some guys on a boat in Tutukaka carve a broadbilled swordfish, so I had a general sense of what to do.

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I did one side of the fish cutting it into ~10 pound filet chunks.

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Just for the heck of it, I cut the entire other side of the fish as a single filet. You are looking at about 50 pounds of marlin here. If you assume that fresh marlin at a place like Whole Foods in the U.S. can go for $30/pound, well, you can do the math.

NZ1_9586 (683x1024)This is a shot of me holding a five gallon bucket filled with marlin meat. The fish produced two of these, and we put 100 pounds of marlin steaks into our freezer.

OK, I know I have joked a lot about “catching a marlin”, and the concept has been a core theme of this blog over the last year. Also I know that I am, by nature, an aggressive optimist. But I never thought we would actually catch one. I kind of thought it was an ongoing joke. When we finally got on the internet today, I even had some emails from some of you saying things like “I hope you catch that marlin!”

Well, we did.

What have I learned from all of this? It’s a relatively simple lesson:

If you don’t try, it will never happen. Period. Hopefully some of this learning will rub off on Hazel and Leo.

Beyond the marlin, it was an extremely uneventful trip. We made fast time in light air over a long distance. The kids had some fun time on the trampolines.

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We also increasingly enjoyed the warmer weather as we headed north, and even broke out a celebratory bottle of bubbly when we neared our destination.

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We loved our stay in New Zealand, but now that we are back up in the tropics we re-learned how much we REALLY like it up here. I don’t think Sophie will be in an area where we require fleece on our bodies and down comforters on our beds for the next few years.

The cool thing is that we are back among coral reefs, with a lot of friends on board, with a freezer-load of fish.

Have I mentioned lately how lucky we are?

 

 

 

 

 

NZ to Fiji Day 6: Time for the Truck Driving Music

We’ve had fluky wind over the last 24 hours. We started the evening with a nice run under full jib and mainsail, and I woke up at midnight to help Alison tuck a reef into the main after we started seeing gusts into the twenties. But during my watch at 4:00 AM, our sailing speed was down to 5 knots.

So I made a decision. I turned on a motor, put on a song, and broke out into a big grin.

“Well I pulled out of Pittsburgh, rolling down that eastern seaboard,
I’ve got my diesel wound up and she’s a running like a never before,
There’s a speed zone ahead, but alright,
I don’t see a cop in sight,
Six days on the road and I’m a gonna make it home tonight”

Yup, after 50 hours of sailing, it’s diesel time. Technically we won’t make it home tonight, but I am grinning because we are in great shape. Our noontime position is 28.51S 176.24E. Only 198 miles separate us from SavuSavu. We’ve covered 957 miles since leaving Tutukaka and 174 miles over the last 24 hours. Most importantly, we still have over half of our fuel left. We are currently making 8.2 knots with both sails up and both engines running at 2500 RPMs. We’ll make the customs dock tomorrow afternoon and hope to catch a peak of Kandavu before sunset.

It’s so hot and humid right now that it has become uncomfortable to sit in the sun. There is a very light cloud cover, there is very little wind, and there is a decent sized swell coming at us from the stern. I am sure the boards are out at Cloud Break. Jenna is running Sophie school, Dan is taking a nap, Alison is cooking lunch, and Ravi is driving. We haven’t caught any fish, but the water looks fishy. Hopefully we’ll get something as we pass by the Great Astrolabe Reef.

Lunch and dinner today will include vegetables, vegetables, vegetables, and maybe some fruit. We brought too much. We also might snag some Internet coverage as we pass by Vitu Levu. If so, I will try to post some marlin photos. Stay tuned.

This is turning into one of our easiest passages ever.

NZ to Fiji Day 5: Hot, Happy, and Heading for Home

Our current position is 22.52S 177.45E, which means that we covered 193 miles over the last 24 hours using various combinations of jib, reefed main, full main, and code zero. No motor! We were pushing for a 200 mile day, but the wind died on us in the last 2 hours so we have to settle for the consolation prize of achieving an 8+ knot average speed over the last 24 hours. Sophie smells the barn and is heading for home. We are 240 miles from Kandavu in South Fiji and just 372 miles from our destination in Savusavu. We have traveled 784 miles since we left Tutukaka. Given that we still have over half of our fuel remaining, as long as the weather remains the same and that nothing important breaks, we still plan to make customs dock on Wednesday.

We are having a great trip. It’s now 91 degrees in the main salon, the skies are sunny, and the seas are flat. Everyone is in t-shirts and shorts. Except Dan, who went topless for a while this morning. The stereo is on, and the kids held an interpretive trampoline bouncing contest, competing over who did the best bouncing in categories including athletic, artistic, favorite movie character, fish out of water, sleeper, grandparent, Uncle Richy (Leo’s dance involving a pantomime flying fish required an interpretation for our-out-of town judges), sprinkler dance, and vegan. Hazel won most of the competitions, but Leo’s light saber dance jump won overall best in show.

Earlier today Hazel declared that she was now strict vegan, but then later switched to vegetarian when she learned that her veganism would prevent her from eating her chocolate egg trampoline bouncing prize. We’ll see how this continues.

We have 3 meat lines in the water in the hope of landing a yellowfin tuna or mahi mahi. Dinner tonight will be steaks and vegan sausages cooked on the new barbecue. The moon is getting brighter every night, the stars are dazzling, and I am now about to enter the phase of the passage where I regret that it will soon end.

NZ to Fiji Day 4: Halfway There!

Sophie is currently sailing at ~8.5 knots with a single reefed main and full jib under sunny tropical skies in a 15 knot easterly. We’ve sailed 590 miles since our departure from Tutukaka last Wednesday evening, and we only have 565 miles between us and Savusavu. That means we reached the halfway point in our passage late this morning! Our current position is 26.01S 176.59E, and we covered 174 miles in our last 24 hours. It definitely feels like trade wind sailing right now, and the weather forecast indicates that these winds will remain constant through mid-week. At this pace we should pass within sight of Fiji’s Kandavu Island on Tuesday and then reach the customs dock in Savusavu Wednesday afternoon.

Jenna is celebrating our progress by making applesauce.

We motorsailed yesterday until midnight and then switched over to sail. I had to tie the code zero to the deck at 4:00 AM after it started to flap on its furler after a gust. We still have over half of our fuel remaining, and it is nice to be going at a 200 mile-day pace under sails alone. Despite our speed, we might have a bit of a current running against us because the knotmeter’s speed is running 2 knots faster than the GPS calculation of our speed over ground.

Other than that, everyone is lying around reading or napping. Dan and I have permission to try for a tuna or mahi mahi when we near Fiji. Dinner tonight will be vegan chili, a vegetable stir-fry, and striped marlin ceviche. And applesauce, of course.

Things are good.

NZ to Fiji Day 3

Well, things are comparatively uneventful on Sophie today after yesterday’s Marlin-palooza. Our noontime position is 28.51S 176.24E, which means we have covered 142 miles in the last 24 hours. That’s not too bad given that we spent 3 1/2 of those hours floating while we fought the fish. After we got the marlin on board, we went back to motoring on one engine until 3:00 AM, when Ravi and I put the main up. Later this morning we were making over 8 knots with jib and main and then code zero and main, but then the wind died again and we are back to motorsailing with one engine. We are making 7 knots over a glassy sea in bright sunshine. It is also beginning to feel much warmer, with the main salon temperature now at 85 degrees F. We have traveled 416 miles since we left Tutukaka Wednesday night, and have another 739 to get to Savusavu. We also have over half of our fuel remaining. So far, so good.

If any of you have a GPS in your boat or phone and keep track of waypoints, please feel free to create a new one @ 31.09S, 175.44E and label it “Dan’s Marlin.” We have done so, and it will be a permanent waypoint our GPS systems from now on.

One of the reasons it took 5 hours to land such a relatively small marlin is that the hook was lodged in the marlin’s back right behind it’s back fin. When marlins attack they make multiple passes at a fish before they bite. Dan saw the pole go WHAM WHAM WHAM and then pause before the line started to run. We assume the fish made a pass too close to the lure, and for lack of a better word, got “hooked.” It also explains why we were able to land a marlin using a relatively small tuna lure, because he wasn’t able to bite through the leader of a lure lodged in its back. During the fight Jenna took some excellent photos of the fish launching straight up behind us and then arcing through the air as it ran parallel to Sophie during the first minute. Once we had the fish landed, we of course hoisted it up by its tail on a halyard for the classic, frameable trophy shot. The marlin produced enough meat to fill 2 five gallon buckets of steaks, which we then vacuum sealed and froze. We left NZ with our freezer half-full in the hope of filling it with fish, and we had enough room for all of the marlin steaks. Which is awesome, because we seared some for last night’s dinner and it tasted just like swordfish. Finally, I saved the marlin’s tail and will mount it to one of Sophie’s stern wind generator poles later today. Apparently, in the cruising world if you have a billfish tail on your stern it’s a sign that you are on a boat that walks the walk.

One other note from yesterday. Immediately before we hooked the marlin, we passed a series of long-line buoys used for offshore tuna factory fishing. This is increasingly becoming an environmental problem down here, and many of the biggest tuna harvesters in the South Pacific come from Spain. Well, immediately after we got the marlin on board, we were hailed by a guy with a Spanish accent. It was the captain of the tuna boat, and he wanted to know what we were doing and if we were all right. This was all in broad daylight on a windless day, and we have passed near dozens of fishing boats over the last 2 years but have never been hailed by one. We talked for a minute, I told him we had just landed a marlin and were busy. He said they weren’t catching much fish because of the moon and that he would have his long lines up in 30 minutes. A few minutes later Jenna noticed that he was 4 miles away, heading straight for us, and we all kind of wondered what was going on. My initial thought was that he was heading for the spot where we caught the fish. We were also a little concerned that he was coming over to barter for marlin, or something else. He soon stopped, and we never saw him again. Upon reflection, I now guess that he was concerned we were a Greenpeace or UN boat that was monitoring his lines, and he called to get more info.

Yesterday provided enough excitement for an entire passage, so we are looking forward to having uneventful days ahead. Since our freezer is full, we have stopped fishing. Dinner tonight will be falafel, tabouli, and Hungarian goulash. And maybe a chocolate mousse.

NZ – Fiji Day 2: We Landed a Marlin!

On the second day of our passage from New Zealand to Fiji, Dan Rogers caught a ~250 pound striped marlin after a 5 hour fight. He caught it using our trolling rod with 80 pound braided line and the small bullet-headed hoochie that Karl Riebling gave us on the passage from Seattle to San Francisco in 2012. (Yes Karl, it was a mighty fish.) The marlin ran 3 times and at one point was 1,000 feet directly beneath Sophie with less than 100 feet of line left on the reel. But Dan fished heroically, the rest of the crew worked together as a team, and Sophie now has her first marlin.

The fish measured 8 feet, 8 inches from spear to tail and it’s maximum girth was 36 inches. We’re guessing on the weight, but it seems similar in size to 120 kg striped marlins we’ve seen on the docks in NZ. The fish produced over 100 lbs. of steaks for our freezer, and Jenna has photos of the fish jumping in the air.

Needless to say, we’ve had an AWESOME DAY.

The remaining details of our passage, by comparison, are incidental. We did 158 miles over a 24 hour period, and that included stopping at 10:30 AM when the fish hit. We ran under the full spinnaker with no main for 7 hours yesterday, and the rest of the time we continue to motor on one engine @ 2400 RPMs in very light air, flat seas, and leaden skies. Our motoring speed is averaging over 7 knots due to a bit of a favorable current and Sophie’s newly-painted hull. We expect to motor for another 24 hours before a southeasterly wind kicks in. I am hopeful we will still have half of our fuel remaining when that happens.

Last night’s dinner was coq au vin with a vegetable stir fry, and tonight we will have a cauliflower mash, vegan chili, stir fried kale, MARLIN, and a homemade apple crisp.

And in case you missed it earlier in this post, please let me repeat: WE FINALLY CAUGHT A MARLIN. WHOOPEEE!!!!

Have I mentioned lately how lucky we are?