Pan-Pacific Adventure 16

I just have to tell you all about today! But first let me set the scene: it
has been a placid two days- next to no wind for 48 hours through this little
high and very calm seas which are only just starting to show the first signs
of larger swells from the big low. We have had serious anglers frustration
experimenting with different lures and hooks. In fact we have hooked 4 or 5
fish since Hawaii and all have escaped.

0500 am, I am on watch and get a taste of wind. Upon putting out the #1 jib
I am pleasantly surprised to find the boat pulling along at 7 knots and
thereafter turn off the engine for the first time in 36 hours; bless it. The
crew surfaces around 0700 and we raised the #2 spinnaker but soon after
opted to hoist the larger kite. During the take-down though the sail got wet
so we did a quick re-hoist to dry it out again. That’s when the fan hit the
shit. There weren’t enough wraps on the winch so when the kite got to the
mast head and filled it pulled right through and, trying to stop, it myself
and one of the other guys incurred 2nd degree rope burns. Never mind though
because by this point the whole kite was billowing underwater completely
“shrimped” and about to tear so we blew the halyard, skied it and pulled the
entire sodden mess out of the water (1200 square feet of sail cloth).
Problem: halyard is streaming out behind the boat and has wrapped in the
prop! We immediately run forward to get the dive gear after stopping the
boat only to find the watertight hatch containing all our gear is jammed!
Bashing about in the trades had lodged our deflated dinghy against one of
the handles and we were considering breaking the plexi. Luckily the drifting
boat allowed the halyard to sink off the pro and we retrieved it without
further grievance. Furthermore, after some careful prying and with the help
of our good old friend the “lever” we were able to pop the hatch free and
re-stow all of our stuff.

By this point all the wind had died and we gave up hope of flying a
spinnaker anyways, and were about to sit down for some cornflakes when
*ZIIIIIIIIIIIIING* “FISH ON!” This was it, the big Mahi – not getting away
from us this time! I had to play it for ages while it jumped and flipped
right out of the water and dove and finally we landed our first fish of this
leg and had a well deserved sashimi lunch. Happy hour rolled around with no
new remarkable developments except the welcome discovery of a bag of
baby-bells. A bottle of wine, a fine reggiano-risotto, and roughly zero
knots of wind later we finally came into the breeze and are now sailing
happily into the night.

I forgot to mention how much garbage is out here! From New Zealand to Tahiti
we saw maybe 2 chunks of styrofoam in 2300 miles… we see some piece of
flotsam about every half hour. Bouys, bottles, cans, and, most
disconcertingly, coils of rope float past us in a constant streaming
reminder of the human footprint. Even out here in the vast expanse of the
pacific one cannot utter the word “pristine”, without a coke bottle floating
sadly by. Ever seen a landfill? Ever read Zuess’s “Lorax”? Ever walked the
isolated beaches of an coral atoll deep in the south pacific only to find
it’s melancholy shores marred by the ugly blight of a thousand discarded
water bottles? I certainly have and it sure doesn’t make me feel very proud.

Musings aside though, this trip is great. Excellent company/sea-mates,
fantastic food and an fast boat stepping into some lovely tail-winds. Cant
ask for much more.

I’m sure little has changed back home, but I will find out in less than 2
weeks! Still aiming to be dockside before Aug 4th!

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