After 5 days and 500 upwind miles we find ourselves anchored beneath towering rugged spires with the pungent aroma of the tiare flower filling the cabin. What a surreal feeling to be back here. We are exhausted yet brimming with an overwhelming excitement, such a strange mix of wonderful emotions.
The highlight of our passage was definitely today’s leg. As we were approaching the island from windward I said to Alyssa that if we are going to catch fish on this passage it would be here that we would get the hookups. We were trailing a hand line with teaser and cedar plug and our ocean pole streaming a small squid lure. As we approached the island we started to gain speed and Ellie hurtled along above 6 knots. No less than an hour later we heard the reel screaming off line. We had a big one on! I grabbed the pole and tightened the drag. We had some difficulty heaving-to but ultimately stabilized the boat and the fight was on! There was a 4.5 foot yellow mahi jumping wildly out of the water and tearing off the last few yards of mono. The mono got tangled up and no more line would pay out so I thought he was going to snap the line and get away. I tightened the drag and started reeling him in. After what felt like an hour but was probably more like 30 minutes I had him within range of Alyssa and her gaff. She sighted up the monster and on the first shot she nailed him through the backbone just behind his head. Our adrenaline was pumping and we both lifted him on to the side deck. We were both elated and I told Alyssa to hold him down and not let go of the gaff. He was bleeding profusely as I found a line to tail wrap him. We made some more cuts and dropped him over the side to bleed out. We did it! We fought him in and won! Good thing too because we were on our last package of mahi from the beast the Alyssa caught on the way to the Tuamotus. I spent the next hour carefully processing all the meat. Let’s just say that we should have enough to last us to Hawaii!
We were only 8 miles out when we finished processing the mahi and both had showers in the cockpit to get off all the scales and blood so Alyssa didn’t want to throw the lure back out. I said “but what if we get a yellow fin tuna? I would gladly get all bloodied up again for that!” So we threw the lure back out. No less than 30 minutes later we hooked up with another huge 4-5 foot mahi! We decided to pull him along side and let him go. A few miles later, as we were closing with land and now only 2 miles out we decided to pull in the hand line and guess what … we had an f’n yellow fin tuna on the end! We got him in, I made some gill cuts, tail wrapped him and sent him over the side to bleed out. We had a more pressing issue at hand, namely the towering cliffs now only 1 mile to our lee. We paid due attention to Ellie and made final preparations to enter the bay. We dragged that poor tuna all the way into the anchorage all the while keeping a sharp eye for sharks. When we approached the anchorage Alyssa yelled from the bow “can you smell the tiare flowers?!?!”
We are both on a high from arriving here safely after a great 500 nm passage, with a fridge full of fresh mahi and tuna and plans to roll some sushi. It’s a rolly anchorage but we have the rocker-stopper out on the pole and this is nothing compared to how rough the last 48 hours have been. We’ll surely sleep like babies tonight.
We’ll inflate the dinghy tomorrow and go in to town for some provisions. We only have 7,000 francs (around $80 US) so it will not be a major shopping spree. But we are hoping to find veggies, eggs and flour. Once we spend the last of our francs it’s just a matter of watching weather for a window to depart for Hawaii, 2,000 nm north west of here.
Talk to everyone soon.
Lewis & Alyssa
October 5, 2014
Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia