We had been at sea for about 3 days when we landed this beauty. Just as he took the lure, it was at a most inconvenient time; the wind had picked up and Dois was quite busy tucking a reef in the main and then the genoa so I needed to keep the color-flashing pelagic busy. I couldn't bring him to the boat too soon because I needed Dois to help me gaff our dinner. As soon as Dois got the boat under control, he expertly gaffed him and brought him on board. All in a days work. What we did not know at that time was that the wind would continue to build over the next 3 days. The seas would grow steep and close and we would crash along in a most uncomfortable manner (albeit while gorging on delicious mahi) until we sailed into the lee of the islands of Fiji.
The night we caught Dinner (Lunch and Breakfast) I had managed to fall asleep on the settee when WHAM! ... I was slugged in the mouth! The overhead storage place for the Costco sized plastic wrap turned out to be a really bad idea. In the raucous crashing through waves that Ashika was doing that night, the heavy cling wrap roll slipped out of its box and launched like a missile right at my mouth, leaving me with a bloody split lip. Ow. And a terribly way to wake up I might add. Dois felt sorry for me and he stayed on his watch longer so I could sleep it off. He's such a good Captain.
Entering the strait between Vanua Levu, Rabi island and Bud Reef we left the wind and seas behind us. It was like sailing into another world. The bay was huge, calm and it was a beautiful sunny day. We sailed into the middle of a school of several different kinds of dolphin including some melon headed dolphins. The one at the bottom of this photo was breathing in short breaths and acting like she was in the middle of giving birth, so we quickly got out of her way. The dolphin in the background were swimming around her, perhaps keeping her safe during the delivery.
All the trees around the creek we're moored in look like they've been blown down and grew roots to hold on to land. I'm not sure that's exactly the way it happens, but I like the sentiment of growing large roots to guard against the big winds. Since this creek might be our home during the wet season, we will use creek wisdom and attach to the bottom with the strongest anchors possible.
We arrived with a couple of critical boat bits broken, but nothing as bad as our trip to Majuro. A fuel bleed valve was broken in half by the Captains overwhelming strength although he did accomplish an innovative plug to keep the engine available for emergency service. And we are still in search of parts to fix the outboard as well as we hope to find (or order) a generator impeller so we can liberate the air conditioning pump from that job. The most dire fix is really a long over due "housekeeping" item. Because we punched Ashika through quite a few waves, once or twice even taking green water all the way over the top of the house, we found every leak. Every stanchion, fill and chain-plate needs re-caulking and we are on it. We soaked the leeward settee and had water running across the salon floor. We had water find its way into the electronics panel and ruin Dois' favorite instrument; the battery/solar monitor, an expensive lesson in delayed maintenance. And the port shelf holding lots of cleaners, fluids and paints crashed during the crashing. Are we having fun yet? You betcha. Dois said it the other day; "I think that was our best sail yet!". I wanted to bop him with the cling wrap.