Days 6-7 Hot Cross Buns and Mahi-Mahi

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Monday 28 April 2014

So Adina is now 7 degrees south of the Equator and we have turned west heading for Hiva Oa, one of the Marquesas Islands which form part of French Polynesia.

Being further south, the holiday brochure promised favourable current, no more rain, waves on the aft quarter, sunshine and flying the spinnaker. Ever read a holiday brochure that delivers everything it says? To be fair, we found ourselves in some good current and thankfully it has stopped raining. But the awkward sea state is there and is just aft off our beam so we jolt along. Having acquired our sea legs it’s not too bad, just a little annoying at times. The apparent wind angle became 90-110 degrees. That’s just a little bit too high to fly our Parasailor as we really need the wind coming from about 140 degrees for it to be effective. The winds lightened somewhat and slowed our speed but we’re still hitting the 6 knots average we want to get there in 21 days. All three of us work on the sail trim discussing ways amongst us as to how we think we could make Adina go faster without putting too much pressure on the rigging.

Friday was Good Friday and in advance of our crossing Susie’s mum, Ros, had shown Susie how to make Hot Cross Buns making it clear we should make them on passage. It’s one thing making them in a nice flat anchorage, a completely different thing making them in a lumpy sea. But we all know Susie, nothing is going to stop her and she didn’t want to let her Mum down. The boys meanwhile decided we’d been at sea enough days to get our sea legs and it was time for caffeine and some good Ecuadorian filter coffee to go with the Hot Cross Buns. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and baking Hot Cross Buns with cinnamon – divine. Out came the Hot Cross Buns and they were simply the best Hot Cross Buns we’ve ever tasted. The author is not biased and James agreed. Thank you Ros for the idea and recipe.

The route we have been doing since leaving Panama is dubbed the coconut milk run and given everyone is going the same way, you tend to keep bumping into the same boats. We’ve met a bunch of friendly Australians and Americans. Two American Catamarans, Field Trip and Dafne, left shortly just after us and we have been maintaining contact. Onboard Adina we’ve been thinking we’re going a little too fast for a fishing line but they had been fishing with various degrees of success. Tom needed little persuasion and in went the lure. Two hours later the rod bent and we were into fishing mode. The autopilot (mechanism that automatically steers the boat) goes on, Susie furls away the genoa to slow the boat, Tom makes a mad dash for the fishing rod and James runs for the gaff which is needed to hopefully secure the fish. We could soon see on the surface that it was a colourful Mahi-Mahi (also known as Dorado or Dolphin Fish). This has been on top of Tom’s most wanted fish list for some time so he was soon barking orders as it came in. Another strategy we adopted from the Atlantic crossing is to use a plastic basket to secure the fish once we’ve hauled it in, particularly necessary in the case of Mahi-Mahi who are slippery customers and often come off the hook on being landed and get away – ask us, we know! Susie pulled the final bit of line in by hand and James expertly bagged it in the basket. On deck it came and a nip of whisky in the gills to see it off before celebrations could begin! Elation! That night we simply steamed it and its firm white flesh tasted wonderful. Going into our night watch were three happy people.

Easter Saturday and finally we saw some blue sky with spells of warm sunshine. The winds lightened, the sea state subsided somewhat and Adina sailed a little slower. We went about our day either doing chores, helming, reading a book, or doing something food related. Everybody content in their own way.

Landing a decent sized Mahi Mahi

Landing a decent sized Mahi Mahi

Feeling the success of yesterday’s fishing, back in went the lure. A few hours later Susie shouted that the rod was bent. Back into fishing mode then! The reel was still playing out and we couldn’t even see what it was. It was time for a good work out. Tom hauled it in, it fought back and took off. Three of these in and out battles and Tom was slowly but surely winning the war. We could just see a bright royal blue fin and knew it was another magnificent Mahi-Mahi – but this time a lot bigger. In it came, James managed with a well-aimed blow to gaff it. By now all three of us were sitting on the transom of Adina, still moving along with the Pacific Ocean splashing right at our feet. Out came the basket – but it was never going to work as the basket was simply too small. By now the fish had got off the hook and was only secured by the gaff. Tom had to subdue it with a knife (think gory mess!) and we slowly but surely got it in and administered more than a few nips of whisky (no panic, its cheap stuff kept in case we need to bribe officials). When weighed it was 9kg / 20 pounds, our best catch to date. A real team effort and we were on a high. What to do with so much fish?

In the afternoon we played music and prepared the evening meal. Tom and James worked away at making some Ceviche for sundowners while Susie took advantage of a calm sea state and cooked some more meals. With the sun shining, music playing, preparing fresh fish, sailing nicely we were smiling and living the dream. Tom has been working hard at getting his Ceviche right and this time it was spot on. Then we steamed the fish in an Asian style with a recipe from a friend Natalie Vernazza back home. Tasted delicious – thank you Natalie!

So three happy sailors continue on their way. The fishing rod will be put away for a day or two. More wind is forecast so we hope to make some good progress. A little bit of sunshine will do nicely thank you. Happy Easter everyone!

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