Monday, June 10, 2013

Fishing luck

Dear Friends and Family,

Jimi - The mighty fisherman – huh huh huh! O.k. Mmmm, maybe not, but he tries real hard and never gives up. Jimi caught a fish once; a really big fish,
sometime during the 90’s. He was on a commercial fishing trip in Mexico with his brother and sister-in-law. He says he used up all his fishing luck the day he caught that fish and hasn’t been able to catch anything since. This isn’t entirely true. In the Dry Tortugas he caught a fish, but it was sooo cute I had him throw it back and he’s caught so many barracuda we’ve lost count. Some of the barracuda have gotten away with our lures even. During one of his most recent barracuda fishing tales, as he began reeling the line the barracuda jumped out of the water, hook in mouth, flew over the dighy, clear over Jimi’s head and landed back in the water on the other side of the dinghy. He was then able to finish reeling it in all just to release it. We don’t eat barracuda because of ciguatera poisoning.
Even though we’ve been told barracuda is good eating and we would have loved to have a supply of fresh fish meat, we would not risk ciguatera. However, I am proud and pleased to report that Jimi caught us a nice little fish – a perfect meal. Finally we got to eat something that’s not out of a can!

We began collecting sea glass.
Sea glass is difficult to find in places others have combed, but our location on these windward shores is perfect. Of course, the terrain we had to cross getting to the beach wasn’t pretty. Razor sharp points align the tops of the coral or maybe a better description would be a bed of nails. Jimi and I are both very happy with our Crocs for these hikes though. Jimi wears the Santa Cruz and I wear the original Crocs (aka clown shoes). The rubber material protects our feet, nothing has penetrated the Croslite material yet and it flexes at the same time to allow mobility and comfort.…..woa……now I sound like a Crocs commercial and I’m supposed to be talking about sea glass. Well I just had to throw that in real quick. Sea glass: over two days we walked the beach each collecting candidates. Some we left so they could mature some more. When we returned to Sanibel we laid everything out to measure up our findings. We found that the majority of what we collected really wasn’t fully done churning with the sand and water yet. Nevertheless, we are happy with our small glass treasures and look forward to more.

We set sail with high hopes of making a fifty-six nautical mile jump to Acklins Island. The adventure began before we could even get out of the cut to Little Harbor. With a strong current moving in one direction and high winds in another direction Sanibel was fighting to stay on course. And if that wasn’t enough excitement, I set Molly in the cockpit as she was loudly voicing her opinion below deck thinking she would want to be with us. As soon as I set her on the cockpit floor she lost her breakfast; cat vomit covered a small area of the floor and as Sanibel rocked, it rolled. I grabbed the paper towels and came above proceeding to clean up the mess. As I was doing so my knee hit the auto pilot button. I had us set on a course straight for the rocks. Jimi’s trying to steer, but it’s not working -----what’s going on? In a flash he realized what had happened, turned off the autopilot and with all his strength turned the wheel to get us back on course.   It was still rough; it hadn’t calmed yet and cat vomit was still rolling. One of the best things to do when motoring to calm the motion is put up some sail – check – I took the helm fighting to stay on a course of 110° to 120° while Jimi was trying to  wrangle lines and maneuver  around in the cockpit only to find himself face to face with cat vomit every time. With life vest and harness on he went to raise the mizzen. The waves were hitting the side of our bow causing a sideways jolt; Jimi was having a hard time hanging on and putting up the mizzen. He hollered “in to the nose”, ignoring the compass, I turned our nose straight in to the waves and it was then he could raise the mizzen. He took over the helm, I cleaned up cat vomit and we bobbed around in heavy winds and high seas rest of the day (I slept in the cockpit through most of it). While all seemed well above deck below deck was another story. Salt water collected in the hallway (aka the tunnel) and the liter box tipped over spilling everywhere. Molly was calmly tucked away in my berth; she slept soundly there most of the trip. Later Jimi found that the chain and line for our extra anchor, which is mounted on the starboard side of the bow, fell over; we were dragging anchor chain and line off our starboard side. Who knows how long this went on. It’s clear the chain and line were banging on our hull side, as they are covered in toxic blue bottom paint. Last, but not least we thought something had gone awry with the wind generator. It spinned, but no energy was being produced until Jimi inspected everything the next day and found all on perfect working order. It must have been a fluke due to lack of sleep.  We arrived safely (floating and in one piece) at 1:30am; though, Jimi was a little frazzled at the intensity of the evening trip. It was dark…I mean real dark. No lantern hanging in the sky this night and the stars were barely visible. Jimi had to navigate and sail dealing with not only the seas, winds and potential obstacles, but without light.

We’re here in Acklins Island – another secluded location of the Bahamas. Originally we thought we would leave after a good night’s sleep, but that is not going to happen. We are going to stay here a couple of days to give Jimi time to recoup and check out a few things with Sanibel.

 We think we are changing our plans. We’ve been fighting our way southeast for months now and with summer upon us I don’t think it’s going to get any easier. All would be well if we were willing to motor, but we are not. We would rather keep our dollars in the bank rather than stuffing them in a diesel tank.

We’ve come up with a few options:
1.) Head West sailing across the northern coast of Cuba.
2.) Sail North back to Georgetown, stay there for a month or so, then sail down the Jumentos and West across the northern coast of Cuba.  
3.)  Head West sailing across the northern coast of Cuba and then North to Marathon, Florida. Hang there for a few months during hurricane season.

It’s not yet decided, but I think we are looking at combing option numbers 2 and 3. Sailing back up to Georgetown, spend a couple more weeks there, then explore the Jumentos chain, cut across the northern coast of Cuba and back to Marathon for three months of the hurricane season.

We’ll let you know.

Love everybody,
Lorie & Jimi

Update: During our evening TV last night we heard a lot of splashing outside. We went outside to investigate. Fish everywhere leaping out of the water all around Sanibel. Yep….it was feeding time. Jimi said he was going to throw a spoon on a hand line to see what he could catch. Right away he caught a good size fish. We are so pleased Jimi’s fishing luck may be coming back. Molly is happy too!

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