01:49 It takes me a solid minute to remember what day it is. This past week has been full of planning and the days seem to jam together into one and yet, at the same time, the seem to expand over more time than they actually consumed.
The day before yesterday we had a stunning dive over this massive boulder. We moved our way through the underwater over hangs while dodging octopus. There wasn't much in the way of sharks. Although I am taking my time in overcoming my initial reticence when confronted with one of these underwater killing machines that patrol the waters beneath us while we snorkel on the surface like a free happy meal, I was a little disappointed in their lack of appearance. I have, however, found the cheetahs and leopards I have worked with to be far less intimidating.
The rest of the day was pretty relaxed and we started to move towards our next destination at about 16:00.
Yesterday we were on the move the whole day and the winds were cooperating with us to some degree while the current was with us all the way, giving us a steady nudge in the right direction. At about 17:00 things got interesting. We'd had the one rod trolling behind us for a solid six hours and another two hand lines in the water at the same time. All we'd had so far was our lure stolen by what we assume was either a big Wahoo or a Mako Shark. Finally we got a bite, well more accurately a fight. The Cat was moving at about 5 knots and we were nearly at the end of our line. The thing on the other end had almost reeled us out completely when Mike managed to get the sail in and slow the boat down. With no bucket for the rod I wrapped a towel around Chris's waist and he started to wrestle the fish and the current that was putting even more strain on the line that was only 120 pound test. As the boat moved, Chris decided to move around the starboard side, then followed across the bow and down the port side towards the stern again in order to better his position.
We watched intently as he managed to finally get, what we then saw was a beautiful yellow fin tuna, to the side of the boat. As he pulled the tuna in, the drag slipped and the reel got an overwind so he had to pull the rest in by hand. I've never seen a fish put up such a fight before. I had never gaffed a fish before and with it thrashing so madly I tried and failed to do so now. Eventually Mike and Chris got the 20kg fighter on board. I handed Chris a knife and took over the gaf. As he grabbed the tail, the fish wriggled out of his hands, straight off the gas and right into my legs with the hook half in and half out of its mouth. Just before it managed to flip off the boat I managed to gaf it again and held it still while Mike beat its head with the baseball bat and Chris plunged the knife into its brain. By the end of this ordeal, everything was covered in blood as it's main artery had been severed, sending sprays of blood everywhere as it had fought us. We looked like we had stepped straight out of a Tarantino movie. To add to the violence Chris and I gutted, filleted and skinned the fish quickly. First time I had gaffed a fish, first time I had filleted and skinned one too. That night we had sashimi and fresh tuna steaks with guacamole and egg fried rice.
Right now Chris and I are on watch, moving at 4 knots with a bit of a floppy Code Zero. It's so humid that it is a strain to breathe. You know it's hot when the sea temperature is reaching 31.9 degrees Celsius and you are sitting in the wind at 02:00 in a bikini and you're sweating. Though we have only had a little wind these past few days, we've managed to move quite a bit and I have learnt so much. At the moment we are just 5 people from 3 continents, floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Chris and I spend the rest of our watch examining the stars and learning new constellations as we lie beneath the mast. At about 04:00 I start to drift to sleep a bit and we trade watches with Keo.
The Code Zero is replaced with the Spinnaker in the early hours of the morning and by the time we wake up a little later, the flat horizon has been replaced with the familiar group of islands that I have come to adore.
12:30 We have been here for a day already and have just got back from a dive, got the gear cleaned and footage downloaded. It's a beautiful afternoon so we are heading into the atoll this evening for a bit of exploring and sundowners.
20:30 On the way to the atoll we went for a snorkel over the one reef and were greeted by a gorgeous mass of reef fish and clean water. Some Black Tips joined us as well as a Barracuda...Those things have some serious teeth! The Atoll was as lovely as ever. We explored parts of the islands that I haven't seen before and by the time we left the dingy was filled loaded with pieces of rope, buoys, drift wood, shells and old glass bottles. Our version of treasure hunting.
00:10 We are on our way again and making use of the small amount of wind that has picked up. We are heading back towards the main island and plan to stop at another outer island along the way.
14:00 We have dropped anchor just about 3 miles from the island and the first thing we did after lunch is jump into the water with the two massive Dogtooth Tuna we saw as we arrived. We took the flasher with us and Chris is itching for a spear gun as the fish allows him to get within 2 feet. We spent about an hour afterwards looking for a reef that doesn't seem to exist and fighting a current that makes the ocean look like a river. The dingy moves along slowly and we finally make our way back to the Cat.
10:45 So this morning we decided that we would drag behind the boat as we were sailing along slowly. We had been doing this over the past few days and it is a wonderful respite from the heat.
Chris and I grab our masks, check the line and though we aren't 100% sure about it we figure that it has been fine for the past so it should be fine with just two of us on it. We jumped in a spend about 5 minutes dragging over the channel that runs to about 3200m deep. As I reach to pull myself back towards the boat the line snaps and I watch the boat move out of our reach far too quickly. We shout to Mike and thankfully he pops his head up and sees us drifting in the middle of nowhere. With nothing but a green costume and a mask and Chris in blue board shorts and a mask we are lucky that it is a calm day and they can see us. Proud keeps her eyes on us and soon they have the sail in and they are turning around to pick us up. The rest of the day is relaxed and we spend the whole of it sailing and reading.
We arrived back on the main island this afternoon and said our goodbyes. Unfortunately it is time to head back to the real world and we have a plane to catch in a few hours. Proud Cat has been a fantastic experience and hopefully we will all meet up again soon, and so, the journey continues...