How fresh is your fish? How sustainable is the fish you eat? The crews from ‘Sipi’, ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Karyato’ talk Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna and even Flying Fish!
The marina at Mindelo, Cape Verde is a thriving hubbub of chatter, emotion and story-swapping, as 74 of the 92 boat ARC+ fleet arrived over the last 48 hours. As new crews arrive, boats they may have shared a pontoon with in Las Palmas, 5 days earlier rush to greet them and hear their news. Children from the family boats are reunited, and parents (who have seen their children run off with their new friends) ask ‘should I deal with the ship’s papers, or find my children first?!’.
Wandering past the boats, it is easy to overhear snippets of conversation about minor repairs to be made, the weather conditions, watchkeeping schedules and fishing. The repairs are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and weather and watchkeeping has been a major feature for the last few days. However, it is the topic of fish that really lights up everyone’s faces.
Of course, the fastest boats across wouldn’t suffer the penalties associated with dragging a fishing line for 900 nautical miles, but those arriving mid fleet were fishing in earnest! ‘Sipi’, a Nauticat 42, started fishing two hours after the start line in Gran Canaria, and Skipper Santeri Kinnunen almost immediately hooked a Wahoo - a huge and very fast member of the Scombrid family (mackerel), but a lot bigger than a mackerel! For about three days, the crew ate very well, with sashimi, sushi, ceviche, steaks and managed to put about 10kgs of fillets in the freezer for their crossing to Grenada. At one point during the journey, they had three lines off the stern, with a skipjack tuna on each. A seafood lover’s paradise.
It wasn’t all fishing and relaxation for the crew of Sipi. About an hour after catching their Wahoo, they hung the fish off their transom to prepare it, and attracted a fantastic specimen just off their stern - a hammerhead shark! Not willing to share their lunch with the shark, the Wahoo was rapidly removed from the transom and prepared. The shark was treated to an easy lunch of fish trimmings.
The crew from Sipi made friends with the crew from a one-off Dixon 44 named ‘Sweet Dreams’ whilst on the pontoons in Las Palmas, and Anton (crew on Sipi) put together some fishing equipment for them. Roz Preston, who hand built her boat over the course of some 7 years, was absolutely delighted to have caught two Mahi-Mahi (one of which could be landed), and said that ‘after tasting fresh fish like that, we were absolutely hooked!’ Pun (I’m sorry to say) very much intended.
Most of the boats in the fleet experienced the joy of dolphins, and the surprise thud of flying fish ambushing their boat! Whilst many boats delicately removed the fish from their decks, Marta Kviberg, of ‘Karyato’ (a TRT 1200 catamaran) said ‘We had four or five flying fish [landing on the deck] every day and it was really good! We ate all of them!’
Certainly, flying fish landing on the deck must be the most sustainable fishing method known. However, very little else beats individually line-caught fish for sustainability, especially when catching just enough to feed the crew of a sailing boat.