Restless Atlantic Report 6

Restless of Auckland
Roland and Consie Lennox-King
Mon 21 May 2007 02:13
Hello again,
We are currently at 40:08.00N and 42:07:00W travelling at a bearing of 100 degrees at a speed of 5 knots under sail.
Well, it has been an action packed past few days on board Restless. Firstly the news from Herb was that there is a big high sitting right over the top of us and that we should expect it to stay with us until we get to the Azores. I guess there's good new and bad news in that, good is the weather is sunny and warm, bad is there isn't much wind, although when we are getting wind it is from the South and only about 10-15 knots so makes for some mint sailing! So yesterday we managed to jump over the side and have a drag. We couldn't be bothered stopping the boat so just towed a line and a crew member for a while and shampooed on the stern. Kind of felt a bit like live bait fishing.
Hmm... well speaking of fishing. After I sent the last email on Friday we had a huge strike on the rod. Since there isn't much nylon left on the reel I quickly tightened the drag and started playing this fish. After about 10 minutes the tiring fish decided to go deep and sit there as a dead weight. Roland said that apparently Livie's Mahi Mahi did the same thing. However either the fish was smarter than me or I was too eager to bring it to the surface (probably the later me think) and it spat the lure leaving 5 disappointed crew members, as some had already decided on sashimi and Mahi Mahi steaks for dinner. (Me especially) So I the took my sorrows to the kitchen and prepared chicken curry for the night!
The next morning Gilbert and I got serious! We have this 1200lb line I think I already mentioned so we made a lure up with the biggest hook in the draw (think it is probably a shark hook) and 3 strands of steel trace. We also upgraded our alarm device with beer cans to make a sound when we got a strike. So just after dinner we were sitting around the table and the rod started screaming! I jumped out and slowed the drag down until there was only about 10 feet of line left! Roland realized that we had a fish on the hand line as well and we could see a school of fish jumping about 50 feet off the stern! Roland managed to pull in the hand line in about 2 minutes and we landed a fat 25-30lb tuna! As Gilbert was tying it up on the transom and pouring coconut rum down its throat it seemed to have a fit and was violently vibrating under his feet! I managed to contain myself from wetting myself at the sight of Gilbert struggling with this fish and after about 20 minutes of playing the other fish we now had 2 25-30lb tuna on the transom!
Gilbert and I then spent the next hour or so gutting, scaling and streaking the fish laughing our heads off! We were trying to come up with as many different tuna recipes as we could, as we now have both a fridge and freezer FULL of tuna! I think the best one, in Oliver's honour was tuna with peanut butter and honey!
So this morning we had tuna steaks for breakfast and tuna sashimi (great!) and think we've got tuna for dinner. We're pleading for any good tuna recipes that you may have so let us know as we have a lot of fish to eat!
Pat and Oliver also wouldn't let me put the line back out this morning claiming that we had more than enough fish. I argued that we'd had the line out for 10 days now and only caught 2 fish so therefore an average of a fish every 5 days so I could put it out and in 5 days, by the time we finished with the tuna I'd be able to supply some more fish. They didn't take the bait and the lure remains on the boat!
So that's was our fishing excitement! I guess they'll let me put the line back out once we leave the Azores.
It hasn't all been plain sailing... on Friday night we had no wind, went to start the engine and there was nothing but a click at the starter motor. Roland and Gilbert did a midnight 3 hour marathon to try fit the spare starter motor thinking that it was the problem only to find the sleeve was the wrong size and decided instead of grinding it down to fit they'd wait until the morning. In the morning we assessed the situation and consulted the manual (A very hard thing for a man to do, but desperate times!) We checked the voltage thinking the batteries weren't holding charge. We did all sorts of tests on the starter motor and finally decided that the problem was in the connections at the main switch. We spent about an hour cleaning connection points on dodgy switches and finally once it was all back together she worked a charm! We had our happy Roland back!
We've had our visits from our friendly Atlantic dolphins and also a few whale encounters today! Gilbert was at the helm when he jumped up and screamed 'whale'. A humpback whale had surfaced about 20 feet from the stern and given Gilbert a good fright! We all ran out only to see bubbles as the whale had already gone back under... We started hassling Gilbert, saying he was seeing things and that he was going crazy and so we threatened to tie him up in his cabin for his own safety and ours. However about an hour later he was saved, as a few whales straight ahead of us were cruising along the surface. We got a few photos but I still think Gilbert was seeing things, and I'm keeping my eye on him.  ;)
Keep the emails coming! We love hearing about what's happening back on land!
Love from the crew of Restless!
P.S. FOB is Fish on Board!