The big swells have continued and now all of our days and nights have blurred together. Day has turned into night as we have crossed three time zones but stayed on boat time. We have been sailing at an easy 8 knots and often 10 knots as we surf down waves.
My watch partner and I set out a fishing line at 6 am and I feel mixed about catching a fish but we have been out of fresh food for days and I don’t really think that we will catch anything. We are a few days away from the finish and I understand from land that we are steadily making our way up the pack. We have made good steady progress and overtaken other boats that we have not seen even. All this despite the fact that we have sailed conservatively at times especially during the night in heavy weather.
Around 2pm we notice a flash of green on the line and we have a fish on the end of the hook. My heart sinks a bit. There is a lot of excitement on the boat and everyone comes onto the deck to see the fish being reeled in. It is a 25 LB mahi mahi or dorado as they are often called. A strange looking fish, a creature from the deep or outer space even. It thrashes on the line and I can see that it’s jaw has been badly torn. I knew it was a brutal lure when I saw it clipped on to the line. I don’t want to watch the ending for this poor creature who was earlier swimming with such freedom. I feel slightly ill at the scene, my private agony about being involved in a killing. We are meat starved barbarians, taking the life of this strange looking creature. I turn away, I turn back, I turn away, I turn back, now I am the photographer, I am a bystander and therefore complicit.
Once the fish is on deck my watch partner pulls out a diving knife and within minutes she has filleted the fish. She has definitely done this before I am thinking.
We eat sushi for lunch and then later fish and chips for dinner.
The fish was exquisite, I try not to think about what we have done. I thank the fish for feeding us and the others follow suit. “ Thank you fish” five times which helps to soften the blow or the guilt I’m not sure which. The catch was a real highlight for the crew but I end up feeling a bit sad about it for the rest of the day. As my duty this day is cockpit, I use bucket after bucket of salt water to clean the cockpit of fish blood, guts and scales and say one final “thank you fish.”
With the trauma of the mahi mahi episode behind us the evening brings another beautiful night of sailing under the stars, moon and big rolly swells. There are some squally cumulus clouds off to the north but they don’t give us any trouble.
As with most nights the phosphorescence is incredible leaving trails of sparkly light off either side of the bow. It leaves the stern with a huge final blast of glittering light in our wake as we slip through the water. What a perfect was to spend a night.