Bermuda to Faial

Ocean Gem
Geoff & Eileen Mander
Thu 25 May 2017 18:00
Date: Thursday 25th May 2017
Time: 19:00 (Bermuda Time)
Position: 35:16.398N 42:54.561W
Distance to Faial: 707NM

The wind blew strongly through most of Monday, typically around 30 knots with gusts up to 40 knots. And the waves were literally as big as houses. But by Tuesday they had started to subside and we were reaching under full sail again towards Faial.

We received two emergency messages from ARC Rally Control concerning a couple of the other boats in the fleet. Windara reported that she had a broken rudder and Team Geist had apparently activated their EPIRB (an emergency radio beacon). Subsequently we heard that Windara had managed to repair their damage and that Team Geist's problems were nothing more than an accidental triggering of their beacon.

We also chose Tuesday to advance our clocks forward by 1 hour to take account of our distance east. This was also the day that we saw our first dolphins since leaving BVI. In fact the only signs of any living organisms we had seen in the ocean so far had been a scattering of jellyfish, a couple of minuscule flying fish and a few pelagic birds. During the night the wind dropped considerably and we turned on the engine again.

Wednesday morning was sunny with very little wind and relatively flat seas. Perfect for fishing. I only use small lures as I don't want to catch big fish as it would be impossible for me to land them on the boat and even if I did I wouldn't be able to store the meat from a big fish. My lure had scarcely been in the water for more than 15 minutes when there was a strike and the line ran out so fast that I thought the reel was going to melt. I tightened the resistance on the reel and then I saw this massive fish jump clean out of water. I'd got Moby Dick!

It drew line at a rate that I was unable to control and every few seconds leapt clean out of the water, shaking its head and walking on it's tail on the surface. I soon realised that I had hooked a very large Marlin. I've seen such fish before when competitors in the Antigua Bill Fishing tournament brought their catch ashore and from its length I'd say that it could well have weighed at over 200lbs. Needless to say there was no way I could have brought this fish onto my boat and after a few more seconds my 50lb line snapped and the fish was on its way with a sore lip. After all that excitement we continued to motor and then sail for a while in light winds.

This morning the wind started to build again and we had an exhilarating sail on a broad reach with winds from the SW at around 25 knots. This was due to an approaching front with a deepening depression a couple of hundred miles to our north. This will probably give us more strong winds overnight so we've reeled down and are ready for what we get.