We continue on to the Marquesas and all is well on board. We just ended the thirteenth day and are on schedule to make it in 25 days or so based on our average speed for the first half of the trip. Since sailboats are limited to hull speed based on length and sailing speed based on sail plans its hard for us to go too much faster. We did have a record 166 mile day this week but were sailing for the whole 24 hours just below the limit for shortening sail; we also had a significant current boost.
The boat continues to do well. I’ve now spent a day of the first week and a day of the second week working on a recalcitrant toilet, but we won’t go into that – it’s fixed now. The wind vane has been steering for the 10 days since or 2-day spinnaker run and is doing well. Our water maker is keeping us in drinking water, the charging systems are doing ok although with overcast skies we have run the main engine a few hours to recharge. Our overnight power usage is higher than I expected but only because I didn’t do the math. Adding to the refrigeration is the radar, AIS, instruments, radio, GPS (two), auto pilot display, tri-color navigation light, fans, and other assorted lights and power draws. Our wind generator would do marvelously in 15 knots of wind, unfortunately we are sailing downwind and when you subtract our 5 knots forward speed from the wind we are only feeling 10 knots or so – not enough for the wind generator to keep up.
Fishing has been great. We were warned it would be hard to catch fish in the deep water, one every three or four days would be good. We didn’t fish while flying the spinnaker or on days the first week when our day-time speed was very slow. We don’t fish at night. Also no fishing on days when I worked on the toilet, it just doesn’t sound right, does it? So out of our 13 days so far we’ve fished 7. We’ve had 6 mahi-mahi (Dorado) on the hook, landed 4. Two slipped the hook as we lifted them out of the water but we’re getting better. Tony mentioned that mahi-mahi often strike in pairs and it’s something we’ve noticed before. We always have two hand lines out and half of our mahi strikes this year have been on both lines simultaneously.
Incidentally, in case you were wondering why we only catch mahi-mahi, it’s because we sort of target them. First of all mahi-mahi are surface feeders and we are surface fishing – no lures that dive or are excessively weighted. Also we are trolling with hand lines fairly close to the boat, certainly within 100 feet. Mahi-mahi are curious fish and will approach very close to a boat. No surprise we catch a lot of mahi, although I would expect the occasional wahoo or tuna.
We are working our way through our fish recipes, how many ways can we prepare mahi-mahi between here and the Marquesas?