The Triumphant Fisherman and arrival in Tahiti
Sat 31 May 2014 20:12
We set sail from Hakatea Bay (a long 3 and a half miles from the main Town!) at 8.30am, Monday 26th May and headed out into big seas, made even bigger by the bounce back off the high cliffs, winds were forecast 15-20 knots. The 2 Genoas went up (good old Turin Shroud + newly mended one) no mainsail and we were flying. Out went both fishing lines (optimistic!), dusk came on the first day and we started to pull in the lines, the pull on the first line said BIG fish and as Syd hauled the line in in the fading light we could just make out a very large shape which appeared to be wrapped up in the other line. The hauling continued and at the same time the wind started picking up, gusting 25 knots so with the boat leaping about Syd bravely did battle with this monster of the deep, as it got closer we realised it was bigger than we had thought and well and truly wrapped up in fishing line. After several attempts Syd hauled the fish onto the deck where it thrashed around, keeping clear of it's massive jaw he tied it to the boat and attempted to retrieve lure, hook and 2 lines. The light was fading fast, the wind was blowing harder and harder and the sea was getting very big. I was dispatched to get the largest hammer possible and the next part was pretty gruesome as Syd Dundee wrestled with this 44" long 10kg weght monster. It was dark when the victor emerged and the prize catch remained tied to the back of the boat for the night while all attention went to reefing sails to get us through the night squalls safely. We scoured the bible Saltwater Fishing Made Easy to identify the catch, bad bad news it was definitely a Giant Baracuda not recommended for eating as they can carry Ciguatera poisoning and having read the symptoms we both decided we did not want to take the chance! So it seemed there were to be no fish suppers for the rest of the voyage and sadly the whole struggle took on a rather pointless and very tiring waste of time.
The next day there was no fishing, the 25+ knot winds continued and the sea was big, weather forecasting does not seem to be very accurate here! 3rd day The Fisherman (more or less recovered) with newly constructed home made lure, put out one line. Later in the day I spotted the line straining and excitement and trepidation started building. It was another BIG one, the line strained and Syd got prepared for battle once again. Slowly the catch was hauled in, it looked horribly like yet another Giant Baracuda, but as it got closer we could see the colour was different. After about 3 attempts the second monster of the deep was hauled over the rails and great news it was a very large Wahoo and extremely edible. The battle continued and thankfully soon, several freezer bags full of plump meaty fish were deposited in the freezer - food at last!
Spirits were high despite the continuing horrendous squalls day and night and we sailed on towards The Tuomotos (a group of not very well charted coral atols, notorious for ship wrecks), we had decided to try going into 2 at the most North Eastern end of the group, Ahe and Rangiroa but were leaving the final decision dependent on wind, sea and time of day we arrived (all the atols have to be accessed through the reef entrance at slack water, so only 2 suitable times each day! We neared them late Thursday night (bad timing) but the mountainous seas and strong winds made the decision for us so we passed! Thursday midnight we changed course (almost due South) and with the wind 10 degrees off being close-hauled we were on direct course to go round the end of the Tuomotos and head for Tahiti in the Society Islands. The change of direction made for a pretty uncomfortable and very wet sail. Tahiti came into view with the dawn Saturday morning and we very thankfully headed in behind the reef to the safety of a lovely sheltered anchorage off Maeva Beach along with hundreds of other yachts of very varying sizes including about 6 Superyachts moored in nearby Taina Marina. We have spent the last week recovering, cleaning salt off absolutely everything and stocking up in Carrefour (commonly referred to as the Temple!). We are hoping to head off in the next couple of days to the islands Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora but a very nasty front is passing over at the moment with very heavy rain and strong winds (you would'nt think it possible in paradise!!!!!).