Monday, December 12, 2005

Fishing in calm conditions

After yesterday's stormy weather, the weather has been perfect - for motor boats - for those of us with sails it's been a little frustrating - but at least we can enjoy the sun while trying to coax as much speed as possible out of the light winds.

We've spent the day, making between 0.5 - 3knots under twin headsails and main. Finally giving-in to the lack of wind and starting the engine around 6pm. We can't motor all the way to the Caribbean, but hear on the SSB that there's more wind further south, so that's were we're heading - hope to find these elusive trade-winds

While rigging the poles for the twin headsails we noticed some sizable TASTY looking fish swimming with us off the bows. The fishing line was out as soon as the sails were set.

We took advantage of the calm conditions to fix one of the "lazy jacks". "Lazy jacks" are lines which help to keep the mainsail under control when the main is lowered. One "lazy jack" had become untied and involved a trip 1/4 up the mast to refasten it. Even in today's calm conditions the rolling of the boat made it difficult to hang on and made for some interesting acrobatics and language, it was eventually fixed. Just as I was about to head up the mast we had to drop everything for fish drill. Fish drill should be - clear the cockpit of cushions, sheets and other lines, untie the gaff and prepare the alcohol to pour in the fish's gills to stun it. In the event, its me panicking and Ellen getting upset at the death of a beautiful fish. The result is that we have to spend the next few hours clearing up the mess. However it was worth it; once filleted and fried, Ellen declared it delicious and forgave my brutality. For the record our catch was a dolphin fish (don't panic - we didn't eat a dolphin), length about 1.25 feet.

Of more concern is the loss of Ellen's sea-legs during yesterday's rough seas. We'd hoped normal service would resume today, but we're still anxiously awaiting their return.. The current prescription is lots of water and rest. Fingers crossed for their return tomorrow.

As of local noon today (13.30 UTC):
Position: 19deg 01'N 24deg 07'W.
Daily distance run: 110nm; cumulative distance: 735:
Engine hours: 12
Distance to go: ~ 1965nm
Conditions: NE 5-8knots, slight sea with swell from NW,
1011 millibars steady

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