The one that got away (and the one that didn't!)
John and I were mulling over the previous 24 hours passage as we shared this morning’s five o’clock watch. We had had a steady wind from the SSW at force 4 for most of the time, only dropping to force 3 overnight. We had had a fabulous sail in the sunshine with the cruising chute up but nothing of any particular import had happened. Even the dolphins had deserted us and we supposed that we were getting too far North to have a chance of catching any fish. We were being treated however, to a spectacular show of aerobatics by about a dozen shearwaters, who accompanied us for over an hour. Why, we mused, should they be interested in us – were we just passing through their patch of ocean? As the sun rose, we thought we might as well get a fishing line out.
Within minutes it was clear why the shearwaters were there. The reel started screaming, and we were into a very big fish which took almost all of the line off the reel. John started laboriously winding it in. We never did see the fish. After twenty minutes, the line went slack, and the bait came back. We were slightly relieved, as it must have been far too big for us to cope with. We put the line out again, settled down in the cockpit when, bang, we had another fish on. This one we did get in and it is a record for the boat, a tuna of at least 15 pounds, quite probably more, three quarters of which is now in the freezer. Obviously we were sailing through a large shoal of tuna. To cap it all, shortly after this, we saw whales spouting about a mile away from us. We didn’t see the whales themselves, but we knew they were there, so it was still a special moment.
We made what we thought would be our final turn towards England heading towards the Lizard which was only 590 miles away. Unfortunately, when we opened the latest grib files, we saw that the high pressure was not only still firmly established but had expanded across the whole of the Western Approaches, giving us not only very little wind from Saturday onwards, but what wind there was dead against us. We have therefore decided to continue going North East, giving ourselves the best chance of keeping hold of a favourable wind. It is clear however, that we are likely to be faced with a considerable amount of motoring, so we will be taking careful stock of our fuel consumption over the next few days.