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.
When we ended, it was warm.
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.
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.
And he kept working it, for a long time.
He got blisters on his fingers from working the reel. I fed him food and gave him water as he worked the fish.
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.
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.
We finally got it.
Once we got the shot, we started harvesting.
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.
I did one side of the fish cutting it into ~10 pound filet chunks.
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.
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.
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.
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?