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The one with the fish..

18th March 2022
Another rough, wet night. A full moon was straining through the clouds between the showers. Even though it was not visible most of the time, it's glow kept the usual equatorial darkness at bay. A blue footed boobie landed on the biminy the evening before. Utterly unconcerned and unperturbed by us, he gamely held on all night through a very rolly sea and some heavy squalls. He should consider taking up surfing. He'd be good! The bread maker was cranked up for the first time today. Mary made a delicious sourdough bread, with helpful instruction from James. It was quickly devoured, so she baked another. Unless we run out of food, we're all going to arrive in the Marquesas considerably larger than we were at the start of the trip. Not long after dispatching the sourdough, it was time for the next meal. The avocados were getting a little ropey, so the theme for dinner was Mexican. Some mahi mahi was found in the fridge, which was just as well, as we had had no luck with fishing ourselves, so the barbecue was fired up. It was still squally, wet weather, so it was a surreal sightseeing James at the barbecue with an angry South Pacific behind him. Mr Tibbs has finally delivered some good news with his latest forecast. We should punch through the belt of squally weather within the next 36 hours. The cloud should also clear at that point. On the flight across the Atlantic to join the boat, I was dismayed to see that the entire ocean was covered with cloud, so I knew that it was not a foregone conclusion that it would disperse for us in the Pacific. So this forecast was most welcome. Log at midnight 819 nautical miles.

19th of March
Something felt different this morning. The roll of the boat had altered. When I emerged on deck, the waves appeared more even, less chaotic. The wind direction had backed about 20° to the east. We had evidently properly arrived in the trade winds. While still cloudy, it looked like the sun could
eventually break through. It had been a squally night for the guys. The sat phones and a few other vital electronics were put in the microwave, as lightening lit up the sky. Hopefully it's smoother downwind sailing from here on. We caught our first fish today. James landed a beautiful mahi mahi. He was
quite small but big enough for the barbecue. He was a stunning iridescent green. The colour quickly became duller as the life drained out of him. Such a beautiful creature. After having left over mahi mahi for breakfast, I had my third consecutive meal of this delicious fish. I could get used to this. Later, we had another heavy strike on the fishing line. This was a considerably bigger customer. James had to fight hard to slowly reel him in. I was poised with the gaff to pull him on board, Andrew had a pair of heavy groves to grab the line. Linda and Mary were on media duty, with camera and GoPro cocked for action. About 30 feet from the boat, there was a flash of silver. It was a tuna! Then it all got very confusing. There were two fish! A tuna and a swordfish. Then there was no fish. The swordfish robbed our tuna. When we got the lure back on board, we could see that the trace had been chewed throughout it's length. I was glad that the swordfish hadn't taken the lure as well. That diabolical looking device would not have been kind to his digestive tract. Now that we have the wind more behind us, the genoa was starting to slam as it was partially blanketed by the mainsail. We went up on the foredeck to rig the pole to hold it open and stabilise it. Clearing the deck of flying fish as we went forward, it was deeply impressive to see the lines of rolling waves behind the boat, disappearing towards the horizon. Today, it really felt like we were crossing an ocean. 
Log at midnight 1016 nautical miles.

20th of March
I still occasionally wake up in a panic, after a nightmare of finding myself back at school again. Today, that nightmare has become reality. I'm in sextant school. I'm sweating over a smudged page of bewildering figures and countless corrections, as I try to bluff to James that I finally get it. He's not letting me squirm out of it that easily. I've not only to get the right answer, I've to show that I understand it. He seems very disappointed to be confronted with such a dull mind, that cannot grasp the basic principles of celestial navigation. At least I appear to be getting to grips with using the sextant. At first, I struggled to get the sun in my sights. The sun! How would I ever get a fix off a star!? After spending most of the day taking three sights and working out the calculations, I got a pretty good fix. If only I could understand how I managed it. I've another 2000 miles to work it out. The sailing was spectacular today. It was sunny with a following sea, up to three meter waves and 20 to 25 kts of wind. The boat is soaking up the
miles. It is totally at home in these conditions. After a dramatic sunset, we had perhaps our first cloudless, moonless night. Lying on the aft deck (clipped on of course), we gaze in wonder at the expanse of stars. Turning over, we're treated to explosions of phosphorescence behind the transom. The keel and rudder are agitating the plankton as bursts of light deep below appear like an underwater lightning
storm. I'm on watch at the moment. The moon has risen, lighting up the tops of the breaking waves, as we continue to tear downwind. I don't want this trip to stop.
Log at midnight 1210 nautical miles.

21st of March
I caught the big one today! This morning while carrying out the usual morning chores, I set the only
fishing line that was still rigged. The last fish we hooked took the bait and we hadn't got around to rigging a new one yet. About five minutes laterthe reel suddenly started it's high pitched buzz as the line started to spin out. I was closest to the rod, so I quickly started to tighten the brake on the reel to stop the line running out, while shouting over my shoulder that we'd hooked one. I had to keep tightening the brake. This was clearly a big one!
The guys furled the genoa to slow the boat down, to make it a bit easier to reel him in. We were sailing downwind with a preventer on the mainsail, so there was only so much that we could do to slow the boat. There was about 50 or 60 meters of line out. At this point I was regretting putting so much out. It took a while to tire him enough to get anything at all in. After a while I started to feel a bit of give on each wave and took whatever I could before the line went completely taut again. Eventually, the fish started to tire. Once I got him close to the boat, Andrew and James, with gloves to hold the line, and a gaff, secured him. James asked Mary to get some spirits to calm the fish, in case he worked himself free before we landed him. Mary returned with a very fine reserve rum, which produced a cry of horror from James, who ran below to replace it with a more modest Jameson. We had just caught a wahoo. It looks like a swordfish without the sword. A beautiful fish! We didn't weigh him, but we estimate that he was somewhere between 15 and 20kg. He was by far the biggest fish I ever caught. We soaked the decks in water to avoid blood staining the teak, as I set about the grizzly task of turning him into fillets. Other stuff happened today, but I can't remember the details very well. Did I mention that I caught a huge fish?!?
Log at midnight 1407 nautical miles