We got up relatively early today to head to Puerto Los Gatos, 28 nautical miles away. Had breakfast, secured the boat, checked the vital fluids and were underway at about 0910. It was a beautiful morning with just a little bit of a breeze out of the north. We were headed NW-ish and probably could have sailed but, as the wind was light, it would have been slow and besides, we needed to run the engine to charge the batteries and make water.
About the time we straightened out our course after leaving the bahia, I decided to let out our trolling handline, the one on the yo-yo reel that was given to us by a circumnavigator named Davey while we were still in Newport. I've dragged it behind the boat before but never got so much as a nibble, at least that I knew of. Of course, since the line is umpteen-hundred pound test (looks a lot like weedeater cord), it'd take a pretty good hit to notice. This time I drug a Rapala lure that is supposed to represent a baby dorado, think. It was given to me as a 60th birthday present by Chuck on s/v Jacaranda. I don't think the lure was in the water for 10 minutes before I heard something. I turned and looked and the surgical tubing that is used as a shock absorber on the line was stretched taut. Then, the ages old, rotten tubing parted but fortunately there's a line running inside it. I gave a tentative pull on the line and there was definitely something heavy at the other end. I slowed the boat and hollered to Lulu to bring my some gloves as I started to pull the line in. She asked if I wanted the net and I said that maybe the gaff hook would be better so she got that too.
Whatever it was wasn't putting up much of a fight but maybe getting drug along through the water at 4 knots takes the fight out of you. Finally got the fish near the boat. Couldn't quite make out what it was as it was still under water. At first I thought it was a shark, then a dorado, then a yellowfin tuna. When I finally got it right alongside the boat it was obvious it was none of these. Probably some sort of jack. Time enough to look it up once he'd been boated. Drug him along a little longer to thoroughly tire him out and then, when the time seemed right, I gaffed him. Tough skin! I got him right behind the gill and it seemed to be a solid connection. Drug him aboard and laid him out on the side deck.
This was a pretty darn big fish. It was close to 30" long and had to weigh 30-35 lbs. While I was sending him to his great reward, Lulu looked him up in our fish book and determined that he was a Crevalle Jack, and a pretty large example of one, too. Although the book says that its edibility is "fair" and that some folks object to the taste of the larger jacks, we decided to try it anyway. I cut off 2 huge slabs of meat and then tossed the carcass overboard. Now the fun began.
Big fish make a big mess. I managed to keep most of it to the side deck but still… However, I eventually got all the blood washed overboard and things back to normal. Decided that, with that much fish aboard it was time to hang up the handline for awhile.
The remainder of the trip was very uneventful. Lulu worked on a modification to the hatch screens so that she could add a layer of no-see-um proof screen when necessary. I mostly read and watched the scenery go by. We arrived at Puerto Los Gatos at 1600. Managed to bring the batteries back up to 82% (85% is our normal goal) and make 42 gallons of drinking water. The first place we anchored ended up being in the Great Los Gatos Garbage Gyre. We were right in the middle of a big raft of seaweed with dead fish and such floating in it. Decided that would be a sucky place to try to take a dip so we moved to a new spot. This was pretty easy as there was only one other boat here and it was anchored at the other end of the bay.
Once we re-anchored, we started noticing a few bees. We quickly put the screens in place, made sure there was NO fresh water on deck, and started swatting, hoping to kill the scout(s). Then, being as it was sweltering and we were both WAY hot, we decided to take a dip to cool off. The water was very comfortable and not even a little bit of a shock, temperature-wise. After 20 minutes or so, we climbed back aboard, thoroughly cooled down.
Although I don't really mind if salt water dries on my skin, it makes Lulu itch. That meant a freshwater rinse-off was in order and that meant: BEES! I stood by with the flyswatter while she rushed through her shower. Then she dashed below and I sluiced the deck down with salt water to get rid of any trace of fresh. The bees came anyway. Not a huge number but enough to keep me busy swatting. Eventually they must have gotten the idea that there was no available fresh water here as their visits began to wind down. Of course, this may have also had something to do with the fact it was nearing sunset. We were both really glad that we had put the effort in to get the screens done before we got here.
For dinner, I fired up the charcoal grill and baked a couple spuds, grilled some carrots and peppers and then cooked both the jack and some triggerfish filets that Dave (Kievit) had given us. The reason I cooked so much fish was because we wanted to try the jack to see if we wanted to keep the rest. The meat is bright red and looks for all the world like beef. Once it's cooked, it turns brown and still looks like beef. Maybe this is what people object to. I'm not sure as we liked it just fine. Lulu seasoned it with our no-fail fish condiment: garlic salt and lemon pepper. She had cut the 2 slabs in to 3 pieces each and I cooked just one. It was still huge. Looked like a small roast. Cooked it skin-side down over the coals for about 1/2 hour. Should have gone a few more minutes but most of it was done. We tried it and decided it tasted just like fish. So, it looks like we have fish for dinner for at least the next 3 days. The skin and the not-quite-done portions went overboard and the local sergeant majors, puffers, and needle fish were quite happy about it.
We're not sure we want to fish for big fish like this anymore, though. Guess it depends on how lucky I am landing smaller pan-size fish at anchor. We don't want to waste fish and this much is almost too much for just the two of us. And they do make a big mess. However, better big fish than no fish so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Tomorrow we'll get up at a more leisurely hour and wend our way 18 nautical miles to Agua Verde, new territory for us.
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