Fenix 25.11 Fish

Fenix II ARC
Liz/Steve Rakoczy
Thu 25 Nov 2010 17:42

25.11.2010      Fish?    394NM                        “20:59N 19:50W”


We are slowly settling into a routine on Fenix. The sharing of the watches, the cooking and cleaning duties are working well and everybody is in an agreeable mood. During the last two days we were sitting in a low wind area offering little pleasure of sailing. Most of the time we struggled to reach 4knts. Anyway I was in a bad mood as I managed to import some “Spanish flue” from Las Palmas. To match our hapless situation, last night, in the middle of our dinner accompanied with some red wine, suddenly it became pitch dark. The moon, just like the wind, was slow on its feet and forgot to rise. A couple of stars made a pathetic effort to sparkle without any conviction. It felt like traveling in a pirate-ship under the cover of a moonless night. By the time my watch came the moon was up but it was pale and the stars all but disappeared. We were painstakingly going forward at a speed of 2-3 knots in a milky substance covered with grey haze. I was profoundly unhappy with our situation as I remembered the big blue windless patch on our GRIB file display covering hundreds of nms. Having plenty of time on my hand I calculated that it would take approx.47 days to make the 2,800nm to St Lucia. What about Xmas?

The only reasonable option was to start the engine and motor out of this misery. During the day we dismissed this option as: inappropriate for sailors (Kynan), too early (me), using up fuel (Steve). Of course on a yacht equipped with a main sail and an asymmetrical spinnaker motoring is not a simple matter of switching on the engine.  It required waking up everyone and facing their grumpiness. I downloaded the latest weather reports - the GRIB files - and waited for the next watch, Steve (skipper), with my suggestion. Now, he is not very receptive to any news at 1.00 am and it took him over an hour to make the decision. At the end the spinnaker came down and the motor was switched on. Now the task of deciding the best way out of the misery, waited for us. There are two schools on Fenix (i) go West and (ii) go South. For the time being we decided to go South. After couple of hours the wind arrived and we started to move ahead with 5-6 kts.


Encouraged by this good move we put out our fishing line which had not brought too much pleasure previously, in spite of assurances from our friend Jose that we will definitely catch fish. One of our lures was taken yesterday just to prove that all those warnings about diminishing fish populations were wrong. There is at least couple of fish left in the Atlantic. With a sarcastic smile on my face I went to the aft cabin when I heard a hesitant noise from the reel. Then, it started to run. Yes, we caught a fish! I ran to grab the video and managed to catch the glorious recovery of a Mahi-Mahi, around a fisherman’s meter long, 90kg (with Kynan and the gaff), glittering in the morning sun with a beautiful golden glow. The men jumped into action, mainly issuing orders but no one knew what to do. Poor creature was hit with a hammer on the head. This brought him back to life and managed to wriggle off the gaff. We were totally paralyzed and someone suggested going back and ending his sufferings. But again the spinnaker was in our way and anyway with all that bleeding he had no more than minutes to live.


I have always dreaded the moment when we catch a fish as we have no idea how to kill them. Mark is supposed to be our fishing expert but he reckons that on the tuna boats he worked he never had to kill anything. Someone was suggesting cutting the throat of the fish to bleed them to death. Kosher anyone? L