..... Friday 22nd January 2010 continued
JIT (Just in time)
We gybed and turned on a more southerly course towards
Antigua. Although still in the middle of masses of open sea it
felt different. The swell was
coming from a different angle as was the sun. We commented that the last time we were
on a port tack (wind coming from the left side of the boat) we had encountered
the rowers. We wondered how they
were getting on and didn’t envy them managing in the big swells or sleeping in
such a confined space with a real possibility of being
For lunch we had a lightly curried coleslaw, tomato and onion salad
with oregano along with a selection of cold meat, pate and cheese and bread from
our penultimate loaf. (This menu was partly to deal with the result of the
vegetable inspection - slightly soft tomatoes, on the edge onions and white
cabbage which had had a little decay on one side and the carrots Bernie rescued
by peeling them and putting them in the fridge). It tasted good –
We have been receiving advice on the heron situation (yes she is
still on board) via the internet and had been told that fish is best but that if
hungry she would decide what she likes and so before we had our lunch the
skipper tried her on ham. (The finest Serrano of course). She wolfed down a
couple of pieces but turned her beak up at the remnants of the smoked ham we had
in the fridge and didn’t seem over keen on trying cheese. We felt relieved about the ham as we
still have 3 cans on board and perhaps we will get to enjoy sardines on toast
After lunch we sat in the cockpit and Bernie resumed his role of
Master of Ceremonies and we tried a few pages of questions from a book Nigel
(thanks Nigel) had given him. It’s quite a big book so I guess we won’t get
through them all by the time we get to Antigua. We also saw our first evidence for about
5 days of other human life – an aircraft trail. Peter calculated that it was off to
South America, perhaps Venezuela.
The heat and sun drove most of us below decks. The fishing lure
continued to be towed behind the boat.
It’s done the trick before but however we are in the middle of nowhere
and will only catch the passing pelagic fish if they are there as there are no
underwater features to attract them.
About an hour before sunset Andy put the line from the fishing rod
out. We were really going too fast
and the problem with using the rod is that it is difficult pulling any catches
back to the boat without being able to slow her down. The other lure is just
attached to a line one end and the boat the other and has a big rubber band in
it to absorb the shock when a fish strikes. It’s designed specifically for catching
fish whilst sailing. The danger
with the rod is if a big fish takes the lure it can pull off a lot of line
before getting tired, the pressure on the line could make it impossible to pull
back to the boat and we could a)lose the rod, b)snap the line or c)have to cut
the line and let the fish go with lots of line and a lure in it. However as things were looking desperate
in the feeding heron stakes Andy gave it a go.
After about 10minutes we both saw a fish strike. Great excitement – of course at this
stage it can all go wrong, the fish can escape as you wind in the line or come
off the hook as you try to get it on board. Fortunately it was a small skipjack tuna
(about 1kg) and we managed to get it on board where the skipper despatched it
humanely with the winch handle. Don’t know whether the crew or Charlize were
more excited. She landed on my head
as I was gutting and filleting the fish and Bernie had to keep her under control
using his rolled up BBC Newspaper (kept for this very reason and with which he
has been training her not to come into the cockpit).
The tuna had been feeding on lots of small squid and other
unidentifiable fish – Peter was surprised it had gone for a lure about 100 times
bigger than what it was eating but that’s tuna for you! In order to keep Charlize detracted he
took these small fish to the foredeck where she got a taste of things to come.
There was a short debate about how much of the fish should be for the crew and
how much for the heron but sadly for Peter (and the two tubes of wasabi and
packet of pickled ginger) the heron
won out and the tuna was all cut into small strips and portioned off for the
next 6-7 days feed. We had hoped to
catch another tuna, as they swim in shoals, but no luck today and we can’t
guarantee when the next fish will be caught. At the moment we are being very
sustainable at the rate of one a week and being a well managed boat had caught
the tuna just in time!
The sun was just setting as Andy fed the heron with a lot of
nutritious innards. He then set to
to make the crew a very tasty spaghetti bolognaise with the last of our fresh
(frozen) meat. Now there are only
two chicken breasts left in the fridge freeing compartment so plenty of room for
tuna. Andy consoled Pete at dinner time by telling him that skipjack is the
wrong kind of tuna for sashimi and he will attempt to get a yellow fin tuna
before the end of the trip!
The wind and swell got up over night and we were
speeding along with an average speed of 7 knots. I was on the dawn watch
(05.00-08.00). I think this is the best watch as you get some sleep in advance
and have the joy of seeing the sunrise.
It’s fantastic to see the colour come back into the day. Firstly the sky lightens in the east and
the less bright stars appear to have been switched off. Secondly everything
takes on an overall steely grey shade. Then the sky on the horizon turns pinky
red and any clouds in the east warm up with this colour. Today there were clouds on the horizon
so the first evidence of the sunrise were the shafts of orange sunbeams rising
up behind and upwards from the clouds.
Only when the sun has risen completely does the sky and sea turn blue -a
wonderful start to another day.