During this Atlantic passage sailing entry, I discuss fishing, food, a disaster with our gennaker, and worse – a disaster for me. Read on to discover what day nine of our Atlantic Crossing was like.
Atlantic crossing day 9 – I landed my first Atlantic Ocean fish!
We have more wind today! Finally out of the 3 to 4 knots and into the 5 to 6 knots. And more wind should be coming tomorrow. At this rate, we’ll hit St Lucia in 11 days. I think we’ll get more wind and be in sooner.
In the morning I took the boiled chicken carcass and removed any leftover meat. I made a stock and found some more chicken in the freezer to add to soup. Then I did some homeschooling with Sienna – we did a cutout exercise on ‘Where is the Atlantic Ocean?’ Not only did we find the ocean but we plotted our latitude and longitude on it! How many kids get to do that?!
Just as we were working on the letter ‘F’ I heard the fishing pole go.
I leaped out of the saloon and up through the cockpit to the starboard aft pole. Murray helped me pull the pole out of the holder and gave me instruction. I let the fish run and run and run. Eventually, I could reel it in. I saw it jump from far away and thought it was a Mahi Mahi.
After 25 to 30 minutes I finally got the fish in.
Now, this is true Atlantic passage sailing! Both Kenny and Murray were guiding me with what to do. Murray used the gaff and pulled the fish up. My arms were aching so bad – mostly my biceps. And I had the pole jammed into a towel over my stomach.
I was a bit worried that the fish would be a tiny thing when it arrived and I would look like a wimp.
Fortunately, it was a really nice sized fish. When I measured it, the Mahimahi was 92cm – around 3′. It may not sound like much but it will feed all of us for dinner. I’m thinking of doing a fish fry with coleslaw and perhaps some potatoes.
Once the fish was aboard we took a picture and then Kenny instructed Simon on how to fillet the fish. It’s great to think that I caught the fish, hubby filleted it and I’ll cook it. The fish doesn’t have a strong flavor…it’s so neutral – it’s so fresh. There’s absolutely no fishy smell or taste to it. Sienna is loving it.
The great thing about catching fish is that we’re not doing much to get them. When you go out on a fishing trip you sit and wait for ages. For us, we’re living life, sailing, etc and only when a fish is on the line do we have to put our fishing hats on.
I hope we get a tuna… Andrew is the only one left to pull a fish in, so the next one that goes has his name on it.
Today, for lunch we’re having pesto pasta with fresh baguettes. I am starting to worry about the food. We are one day away from having no fruit or fresh veg left. On the other hand, due to the fish meals we’ve had, we have more frozen meals left. Food, food, food – that’s all I think about!
For dinner, I took the very clean fillets from Kenny and Simon (from the fish I caught) and cut them into large serving sizes. I then rolled the fillets in flour, egg and then a combination of breadcrumbs and some spices. I fried them all (10 large chunks) in oil and lemon.
There were some small bits left so I made fish fingers for Sienna.
Also, a made a salad with cabbage, carrots, red onion and oil, vinegar and spices. Finally, I heated up two cans of peas. This being the first time I’ve cooked fish all by myself I was very worried about overcooking the fish.
Fortunately, the Mahimahi fillets came out perfect.
There was not one leftover. So – I caught the fish, Simon filleted it (with help from Kenny) and I cooked it! I felt so proud of us. Sienna doesn’t often eat what I cook so I was super happy to see her clear her plate.
After Simon and I cleaned up we grabbed Sienna and all hit the sack.
Around 1 am Simon woke me up and I had an hour with Kenny and two hours with Andrew. I enjoyed my conversation with both. At 4 am I woke Murray and went to bed. The morning started out as usual. I got up, poured myself some corn flakes, got cuddles from Sienna and entered the discussion about our position, how far we’ve come overnight and where the other boats are located.
From what I gathered it seemed that we have dropped more South n this Atlantic passage sailing than most other boats however we had more wind and were, therefore, gaining on everyone. For the past two days, we had very little wind – down to 2 knots at times. When looking at the positions of other boats we had to assume that many boats decided to use their engines (allowed in the race but must be declared) due to their progress.
We used our engine for four hours in the wee hours of the morning due to getting no wind at all. So… It’s hard to say where everyone is positioned. We have a feeling that we might pass a lot of boats now as were South enough to get the winds.
Boats that are North of us in this Atlantic passage sailing scene seem to be making very little progress.
Anyway, Kenny set the poles up, I sat around for a bit and played with Sienna. Suddenly the fishing reel went crazy! At 10:45 the reel started and by 11:20 three grown men got the fish reeled in.
Andrew started off and then it became a combined effort.
We furled the gennaker in and the genoa to slow the boat down. During the gennaker furl the top half of the sail doubled over and furled over itself – disaster. And I mean disaster.
That sail will have to be retired for the rest of the race.
I’m not sure how we fix it – perhaps on land, we can unroll it and furl it properly. So – half the team was holding down the gennaker (we lowered it to the deck) and the other half were preparing for the fish.
In the end, Simon, Andrew, and Kenny took turns reeling it in. Kenny gaffes it and lo and behold it was a great big tuna. I couldn’t believe it! A tuna – just what I ordered. Atlantic passage sailing makes fishing a breeze!
Once the Tuna was put to sleep we put it in a bag and all helped to bring the gennaker in and put out our staysail. Once we were back up to 7 knots Kenny filleted and cleaned the tuna.
We eagerly awaited our first taste of sashimi (raw fish) garnished with wasabi, ginger and soy sauce.
It was amazing! Atlantic passage sailing was Amazing!
For dinner, Simon promised Sienna ‘daddy’s special carbonara’ (pasta with a creamy cheese bacon sauce) so that’s what we’ll have tonight.
Tomorrow will be tuna steaks 🙂
Otherwise, the other thing to note is the fact that it’s day two of not taking my seasickness pills. How do I feel on this Atlantic passage sailing trip? Part of me thinks they are still wearing off. I’m more tired than I have been (pills had caffeine in them) and I feel a bit lethargic. I don’t want to do anything. Even though I took a nap and still feel blah. I just vacuumed down below and that went fine.
Looks like we might just watch a film that’s not a cartoon!
I watched part of the movie ‘Chef’ with everyone and then played Barbie’s with Sienna.
I was feeling a bit nauseous so I took my seasick pills at bedtime. An hour later I woke in excruciating pain – my left ear was blocked, ringing and full of pressure. I couldn’t put my head down. I tried everything to clear the blockage. Nothing worked. I was up until 3 or 4 pm. After taking some ibuprofen I must have passed out. The guys sorted out my night shift. When I woke the pressure was gone but the blockage remained.
What’s Next in our Atlantic Passage Sailing trip guide?
- In the next article, I describe how I become very sick. But sickness aside I still found a way to make the best of our incredible adventure. Find out what it’s like to head into the back end of Sailing Across An Ocean.
- In the previous article, I pondered about how I had so many thoughts as to what it was going to be like. Big seas, big winds, and huge skies. To my surprise, the Atlantic was actually quite calm and inviting. Check out Sail Across Atlantic Trip.
- Click here for a general overview of our Atlantic Crossing