Nuku Hiva to Takaroa – Days 2 and 3


23 May 2010 | Between the French Marqueses and Tuomotus

Friday and Saturday were pretty similar days, covering 114 and 113 miles, respectively. Just under the 5 knot average that we were shooting for. Both days, light winds warranted the use of the spinnaker to help us along and when the wind got really light, we had to start the motor and motor sail. We try to avoid motoring at all cost, but due to the nature of the atolls and the small windows for entrance, we don’t want to have to sit out at sea for an entire day if we don’t make the window on Sunday. We met some guys from Vancouver that are sailing on a boat called Mojumbo. It’s a group of three 22 year old guys that all decided a few years ago to sail around the world and surf. They spent almost four years working as commercial fisherman and saving up to buy a boat together pretty amazing that they all stuck to it and are living out their dream. Anyway, they know a thing or two about catching tuna and told us that we need to put out teasers to attract the fish. They said anything that will disturb the water and make bubbles will usually work. The fish see the bubbles and motion and then hit the bait that you drag behind it. With this in mind, I tried nearly every piece of junk we have on the boat to create something that would cause bubbles which is tougher than you might think. I eventually had some broken DVDs on a line that seemed to bounce around well and I thought they’d also reflect light well. Unfortunately, they kept bouncing into our fishing line and made a huge tangle in the line right before 4 on Friday. I had to cut off nearly half the line on the reel, but rather than fill the spool, I just tied the lure back on for the rest of the sunlight. I had also jimmy rigged a sort of alarm out of a beer can because the drag on the reel we have doesn’t make a sound to alert us a fish is on anymore. Anyway, I rigged it up so that when a fish hits the can will drop and rattle. There is an engineering competition in which the premise is to contrive the most complex way to do a simple task. My final setup probably resembled an entrance to this competition…suffice to say that I probably could have found an easier way to do these things, but the mousetrap/trash contraptions I built suprisingly functioned. Right after sunset, we were all sitting in the cockpit and the can dropped. The line was flying out of the reel. I jumped up to grab it immediately and just before I grabbed it, the rod exploded and the line snapped. There was a slight tangle near the end of the line on the reel and the monster that grabbed the bait stripped out the little line we had on to get to that point. The snap was so violent that the eyelet at the end of the rod broke off. I’m not sure how big the fish was that, but to break 80 lb test and nearly snap a stiff rod in half had to take a monster. I was sitting less than 5 feet for the rod and it was able to snap the line before I could get my hands on the rod. I spent most of the day Saturday trying to devise better systems of teasers, but didn’t have any action. We should reach Takaroa around noon on Sunday and due to the light wind, it looks like we’ll be motoring through the night.

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