1200 on 22nd May 2009 In position 24:12.36N, 074:56.68W
Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Fri 22 May 2009 17:48
All ok onboard. We are sailing along steadily with a 25 knt breeze from just south of east with boisterous seas. We are now slowly ticking off the various off lying islands of the Bahamas as we work our way northwest towards Florida. Last night we spent some time dodging rain squalls and the odd ship (Thank god for the AIS yet again).
This mornings drama is fish related. Skipper finished his watch at 0600 and headed for bed as usual, but has been putting the fishing line (squid lure) out with the instructions to bang on the cabin top if we should be so fortunate to hook something. At 0800 that something arrived in the shape of a large Dorado, one of nature's most beautifully coloured and instantly identifiable offshore predators.This was a female of around 14 + lbs (You can tell by the shape of the head - the male has an almost square looking head, the female (naturally more good looking) has a more rounded head. Either is good eating and are ferocious fighters when hooked. When landed their bodies go through incredible colour changes, bright yellows and greens, then just before death a most vivid blue colour appears along its back.
Skip was duly awakened by frantic banging on the cabin top with the cry 'quick, I cant hold it much longer'. Was I just dreaming of my loved one up to no good behind my back. Of course not, she was engaged in a struggle with our next four nights supper on the aft deck, and the 'supper' wasn't much interested in joining us for supper. Add another player to this titanic struggle - a very large seabird that was also sensing a meal in the offing - our meal, and the scene at the back of the boat was pure drama. It immediately turned into comedy playhouse as skipper had indeed come on deck as quickly as possible - to the exclusion of any item of clothing whatsoever. Naked as a Jaybird as the Ray Stevens song goes. The fish was now close to the back steps and whether through resignation of a lost battle for shares in the Dorado or shock at the recent addition to the fight of one naked skipper, the bird broke off manoeuvres, but continued to circle - perhaps hoping for any small morsels that might come its way - no not that type of morsel! Having now landed a very angry Dorado, which was all of a metre long and stuffed it into our plastic holding crate it jumped straight out and, instinctively not wanting to give the fish back to the sea or the bird for that matter, Skipper half threw and half stumbled towards the fish ending up spread-eagled across the aft cabin roof. Nikki's attentions now turned acutely to the lack of clothing and No.1 was told in no uncertain terms by No.2 to go get your clothes on! The fish was shoved back into the plastic crate which holds any fish until they expire or in this case whilst Skip put some shorts and shoes on. The Dorado then thrashed out with its tail and shattered the side of the box into dozens of pieces making an almost perfect tail shaped slot in the process. Finally after another 10 minutes the fight was over and shortly afterwards steaks and larger portions were being cut up and bagged ready for cooking. The cockpit clean up took an hour and a half with all the mess, but we look forward to our dinner tonight.