Let’s not even talk about the fish tally. It is utterly dismal. I’m disgusted with myself. A juvenile Barracuda as we left the Bahamas and that’s it. Just a bunch of weed. It’s an epidemic out here. Literally carpets of seaweed. And this isn’t just in the last day. Oh no. There have been steady carpets of the same crappy seaweed since the Bahamas. It’s so bad that you can’t even leave your lure down for five minutes before it’s covered. I think whoever is responsible for managing this seaweed needs to spray some roundup out here.
I was originally stoked to be going up the gulf stream. Lots of fish in the gulf stream but none that have seaweed on their menu. I’d literally given up this morning. Ashley didn’t seem to care much for my annoyance. (Nore does she clear the lines of seaweed much). Off she goes and puts all the lines in the water. All the lures are down; Two hand lines and two rods. I look at her skeptically and continue on. Ten minutes later and the biggest rod & reel goes off. It’s just screaming like a banshee. Line ripping off of it like there’s no tomorrow. The words “FISH ON!!!” can be heard for miles around. I look back and holy effin shit! After five days of nothing a Marlin the size of Ashley is charging out of the water. Angry as can be. Making a hell of a scene a few yards from our boat. It’s sword pointed skyward as it tail walks across the surface. We man our stations; I on the rod Ashley on the sails and engines. Before we get the sails down this beast goes for a run and almost spools me. I must have had just a few yards left on the reel as we gun the engines and catch up. With line back on the reel it now sounds – It goes deep. Real deep. I hadn’t even had time to process what was going to happen next. How are we going to get this beast on board? How are we going to kill it? How do I keep it from killing me? It’s the size of Ashley! We were guessing 150+ pounds. I need gloves! I need a rope to tie around it’s sword to stop it from killing me. Well it turns out I didn’t have to worry about anything. My undersize line went snap and that was that. This one got away.
The lure that (almost) caught the big one: Pink squid. Go figure. I think I’ll listen to Ashley next time we’re picking out lures in the store. I’m all outta pink lures now.
First watch starts at 2200. Ends at 0300 hours. I had the first watch and first order of business is to survey the cloud formations before it goes pitch black. The moon is coming out later now somewhere around 11pm. That’s when we finally get some visual reference other than our radar. It looked pretty decent. Just some white puffy clouds on the horizon. Maybe, just maybe, this was not going to be a repeat of last night – Squall central.
Ashley went to bed and just like that, the radar screen lights up. At first just a small blob to the left. Then the right. I see a massive towering black cloud that’s puking rain and wind out the bottom. Bearing down on my ass. What to do, what to do? I start the engines and try to outrun it to starboard. No dice. It’s following me. This thing has personality! Then to port. Near full throttle. Quick check on the radar and right in front of me – two more squalls have developed right in my path. I resign myself. Maybe this is the time we can’t evade the hatred coming our way. I quickly throw a second reef in the main sail. Reduce the genoa to 30%, throw on a life jacket and wait. Then nothing. I have managed to squeeze in amongst six squals; three to the right, three to the left. I finally get it. A light bulb turns on – They all travel in the same direction. 045 degrees north. They’re all trucking up the coast of Florida in the same direction as the gulf stream. I’m going 045 degrees. All I need to do is find an open lane and stick in it.
Mr Toads wild ride…