Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fish Tales - Part II

On Thursday this past week, Sue put in a request that we needed to catch a Yellow Fin tuna.  “If it isn’t a Yellow Fin, then throw it back,” she said.

Around 4:00pm we heard the reel screeching from one of the fishing rods and we knew that we had another big fish on the end of the line. We had been catching a lot of Blue Marlin during the week (nothing as big as Martin’s first legendary one) but still they were pretty large.  Meredith caught a Spearfish the day before and so we thought that it might be another one (which we release since the meat on them isn’t good to eat). 
Meredith's 5-foot Spearfish. 
Now, I don’t want to sound “picky” but I’ll admit I was a little frustrated because every time we do catch a Marlin, it takes forever to reel them in and remove the hook in order to release them.  I was just hoping that it would be smart enough to pull itself off the hook, so we didn’t have to put in the time.
 Meredith helping Martin reel in the motherload.
Martin grabbed the rod and he could instantly tell from the weight and bend in the rod that this was ONE BIG FISH!  So, he started reeling it in.  It took him a good hour and 45 minutes get the fish up to the boat.  By then, Martin’s arm muscles were beyond exhausted and we were all so curious to see what it was.  We knew by then that it might not be another billfish because most of the ones that we had caught earlier would jump clean out of the water shaking their swords trying to get unhooked.  They always gave themselves away pretty quickly after getting hooked.  This fish just dove deep and took out line whenever he felt like going for a stroll.
 Our first sighting!
Finally, the “fish” came to the surface and we all caught a first glimpse of what was at the end of the rod.  All of us squealed with delight when we saw the “Yellow Fin.” Sue was especially happy.  Remembering Sue’s request earlier in the day, Martin said to her rather jokingly, “Sue, I got you your fish!”  Sue was quick to reply, “Well if you can get me a Yellow Fin that quick, I’d like to put in an order for a quart of ice cream!”  We all laughed and then got busy trying to bring the Yellow Fin on board.    That’s right around the time we noticed that this was no ordinary Yellow Fin tuna.  This guy was HUGE!

We pulled him out of the water and quickly assessed that he was approximately 90 lbs.  Then we grabbed the measuring tape and got a length of 51 ¾ inches with a girth of 37 inches.  He was the size of about 5 tunas that we had caught in the past! 

Martin and David quickly started slicing into him and cutting out beautiful 30-pound tuna filets.  Then Meredith and I started cutting them into steaks and packing them and sealing the meat in airtight bags getting them ready for the freezer.  Sue got busy making fresh sashimi and frying up some of the steaks. 

Lily slept her way through the fish frenzy.
We have been feasting on this amazing tuna for the past 4 days.  What was once a “Bananafest” has now turned into a “Tunafest” and Sue is pulling out the big guns making up different kinds of recipes that can incorporate tuna.  It’s been lovely.
 Bye-bye Bananas!
Speaking of bananas, we had a "banana ceremony” earlier that same day and threw out the remaining ripe bananas out into the deep blue.  Nothing felt more liberating than knowing we weren’t going to be eating anything laced in banana for a while.  What a relief.

Last night we celebrated being at sea for a solid two weeks.  Just as the celebration was about to begin, we saw our first ship!  We haven’t seen a single ship the entire time during this Pacific crossing.  So, we all just went up to Amara’s flybridge and watched the freighter as it came into view and passed within a half mile of us.  Then we called it up and introduced ourselves to them.  They were a Japanese car carrier coming from Peru and heading back to Japan.  For us, it was all very exciting.  Something about realizing that you AREN’T alone in the world is very comforting after not seeing anything (other than fish) for two weeks. 

Other News:
So, we decided yesterday that we were ready for land and changed course (again) and are now
heading for the Marquesas. Going there should get us in to the island of Hiva Oa on the 5th (fingers crossed).  We’ll stay there to check into customs, get some laundry done and then take off to Takaroa (which is another 3 day sail).  Takaroa is a unique island and it just so happens that our neighbor back home in Utah, Joey Buchan, owns a pearl farm there.  So, we are going there to meet his partners and watch them harvesting pearls.  We’re super excited to do this.  From Takaroa, we will head to Fakarava where we will have to say goodbye to Meredith as she heads back home to Utah.  From Fakarava we’ll head to Tahiti, so that I can finally buy my “little grass skirt.”  I can hardly wait to get back to society.  Maybe that's why they call them the Society Islands.