Pete's Blog, part 2

Lars Alfredson
Fri 5 Feb 2021 09:23

Updated 02.45hrs Friday 05.02.21

Another steady 24 hours.

The evening meal was a yummy Chicken dish with Rice and the even better news was that there was a portion left so I again volunteered to do the midnight to 8am night watch with the proviso that the “extra portion” would be designated as my supper.

The wind dropped to 5 - 8kts during the night and speed reduced dramatically to a crawl of about 3.5kts then at about 4am a small rain shower came through and created a very fluky wind pattern that kept causing the sails to back and tension the boom preventer/restrainer to such an extent that the creaking woke Capt. Lars from his slumbers. I had been changing course by up to 10 degrees in each direction in order to keep the wind in the sails, but Capt. Lars decided speed over track was the best option and so a 30 degree turn to port was initiated and he then returned to his slumbers. About an hour later the wind had lifted and shifted again and so I was able to steadily bring us back to our initial 321 degrees course and maintain 6 – 7kts SOG (Speed over Ground).


I was joined at 6am by early riser Jeremy and by 7.30am it was all hands on deck, so I retired to my bed.

I awoke at about 10.30am to discover that Capt. Lars had effected a very tidy repair to my damaged (since October and held together by elastic bands since Christmas) glasses frame.

Wow – complete 360° vision and no “blind spot” – “Thanks Boss”.

Lars had also deployed a second “trolling” (fishing) line using a very fancy looking fluorescent green fishing lure. Unfortunately, the reel on the second rod didn’t function properly so he had rigged up some sort of “fish alarm” using an empty beer can – apparently a well - tested and used system taught at the Viking School of Fishing.

Just after “Beer O’clock” (mid day) Kenneth prepared lunch – Bacon Pancakes. Delicious and enhanced by Kenneth and I with Lee and Perrins, quite why the Captain chose blackcurrant jam I don’t know, but each to their own. We were just deciding what to do with the extra pancake (now decided – my night watch supper) when the “Fish Alarm” beer can was activated.

Much excitement and then disappointment as we all realized that whatever had been nibbling on the lure had not “taken the bait” (more on why – later), but then seconds later the unmistakable high pitch scream of the reel on the other fishing rod which was already bent in half and flexing wildly ……. It must be a North Korean submarine !!!!

I went to assist Lars who was muttering Swedish Expletives because the clutch/brake on the reel would not tighten and said monster from the deep was disappearing at high speed taking all our line with it. Yet more Viking School of Fishing brilliance from Lars and I had fashioned a “brake” using a piece of rope wrapped half a dozen times around the rod and line, and then tightened. This had the effect of controlling the monster who we let tire himself for 10 minutes or so before Lars started reeling him in. After 5 minutes, of what appeared to be non-stop reeling, a very sweaty Lars handed over “reeling in” duties to Jeremy who with the flair of Crocodile Dundee soon had the monster under control and breaking the surface. My initial fears that we had somehow hooked a Bottlenose Dolphin or similar were cast aside when we saw that it was a beautiful Skipjack Tuna (Oceanic Bonito). Jeremy played the fish like a “Pro”. A pro what I don’t know, but he had a grin from ear to ear.

Jeremy and I landed the fish on the rear swim platform and then brought all 10kgs of it aboard where Kenneth quickly dispatched it with a HUGE mallet. He then set about gutting and filleting with a similar skill set to those of a very competent pathologist. For volunteering to clean the decks of the blood and guts left by Dr. Jekyll (Kenneth) I was rewarded with some pieces of raw meat from our recent kill – Fresh Fish at its best.

Oh yes – and the reason why the fluorescent green lure hadn’t done its job – Guess who hadn’t removed the silicon safety cover from the hook? Probably not a subject taught at the “Viking School of Fishing”

As you might guess – the evening meal was a delicious starter of raw tuna pieces with lemon juice and black pepper followed by Butter fried Tuna Steaks and some Wok fried veggies. The evening was further enhanced by a lovely sunset and the discovery that the cheap red plonk we had stocked up with, in Namibia, is actually very glug-able.

News from St Helena, where we hope to arrive late tonight (Friday) is that our friend Nikolas has managed to source the parts he needs to repair his water maker and he will probably still be there when we arrive. Due to Covid restrictions we will not be allowed ashore and must stay at anchor on the boat, however recent contact with the very friendly and helpful Harbour Master, Steve Kirk, suggests that we should be able to refuel (not that we need much), take on fresh water and rest out for 24 hours or so. Hopefully we will also be able to get some “internet ability” so we can contact friends and family and catch up with what has happened in the World this last week.

So subject to final editing by Capt. Lars – with the time at 03.54hrs and our position S.16.32.728 and W.003.42.375 this is “Deck Hand Pete” wishing all the readers of this nonsense – a very peaceful, “Safe, Steady and Smiley” weekend.