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Emily Morgan - Day 17 - Fishy Tales

Tuesday 7th December Noon Position: 15 degrees 10 minutes; North 56 degrees 32 minutes.
Day's run: 183 nautical miles

Helming on Emily Morgan has now become a much more intense task. Our course for St Lucia is 277 degrees and at this relatively near distance a few degrees either way will have a major impact. If we steer too far above or below this course, we will miss the island! When you're helming you have to pay attention to the steering compass, the wind direction and the sail setting, the wind speed and the rudder position. Fine tuning these during the day for a three-hour watch requires attention but at night you can get cross-eyed trying to steer an accurate course and it can be quite tiring if the wind is strong. With only three sailing days to go we are beginning a count down. 'Last 0300 - 0600 watch!' 'Last dinner duty!'

Our dinner menu for today took a sudden turn when the fishing line began whizzing in mid-afternoon. We hadn't caught a fish in a thousand miles! There is a trolling line put out every morning at the stern of the boat and reeled back in back with disappointment every evening. Every now and then we found a small flying fish on the deck or we saw what appeared to be small birds flying close to the water and realised it was a shoal of flying fish skimming across the waves. These are remarkable fish. Their fins have evolved to resemble wings and when a predator is chasing them they leap out of the water and fly above the surface. They use the up-draught from the pressure on the air beneath their wings to glide for long distances and can even turn mid-flight. They are fascinating to watch but are too small to eat. Aside from two small Mahi Mahi which we caught over a week ago, there has been nothing on the trolling line except one escapee. Today though, our fish came in! It was a Wahoo, a member of the mackerel family. Brodie reeled it in and successfully got it on board. It was a fine specimen, about a metre long with a torpedo shaped body, vicious teeth and blue and silver markings on its back and golden underneath. Anna brought the knives to the aft deck and she and Brodie set about cleaning the fish. After de-heading, gutting and de-tailing the Wahoo they got eight large fish steaks and two enormous filets. Fresh fish for dinner tonight (and two other evening meals). A Caribbean delicacy!



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