The cyclone off the coast of Madagascar has been sending swell our way for the past couple of days. The 5-7 footers have been rolling into the south side of the island and the boys have been indulging while I've been beach bound due to a head injury. Last week I decided that a deep take off in about 1 foot of water was a good idea. My board and my face battled it out in the barrel and unfortunately my face didn't get off as easily as my board. My fin struck my nose and came out of the board and the rail got dinged into my forehead but apart from that, not even a reef cut. Stitches, and a week later it's nearly healed with only bruises and scars left to prove it happened at all. Not too bad in all fairness.
During this beach bound weekend we met a great couple, Mike and Proud, sailing their 46ft Lagoon Catamaran, Proud Cat, around the world and we got to chatting while I filmed Chris and Matt charging the dredging beach break. We started talking about the cost of eating out in the Seychelles and it was decided that a pizza evening was in short order. Due to the large amount of swell pulling into the bay, Proud and Mike were having a tricky time making it past the back wash and the sets. Chris and Matt gave them a hand getting past the backline. Mike went back to the Cat to get the tender to fetch Proud from the water and nearly missed her while navigating the surf. We stood on the beach pointing and shouting and trying to reunite them and eventually all was well again and I made my way to lunch with two broken and battered young men.
We decided to do this on Monday and with is came the wind and rain. We waited patiently, making pizza bases and baking them while we waited for a break in the rain. Our opportunity arrived and 5 of us jumped on the small tender and made our way from Mahe, across that bay, to the lee of Cerf Island. After a tour of the most idyllic Cat, the Gin and Tonics started flowing along with the pizzas, and stories exchanged of diving, surfing, fishing and sailing. It's funny how similar mindsets draw people together and it can be as simply described as a passion for the simple life, and being drawn by the love of the sea.
Yesterday we made our way to Praslin on the Proud Cat and after 28.8 nautical miles at an average of 6 knots of free wind propulsion (sailing only) we arrived in a bay and dropped the anchor.
Trawling was a great success and we managed to catch a Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo and 2 Bonito, part of which made up our dinner. The Wahoo put up a noble fight as Matt and I pulled it in on the hand line we had swimming off the stern of the sailing Cat. Chris and Matt then wrestled the massive fish with razors for teeth onto the deck and it was quickly gutted, skinned and filleted. That evening we prepared the Wahoo fillets in lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic and grilled them between a skillet and the flame. I'd never eaten Wahoo before but according to Chris, it's his favorite fish and I can without a doubt say that it has become mine too.
Mike is from America and Proud is from Thailand and I jumped at the opportunity to learn to cook Thai food properly. She and I got to cooking, well, more accurately I got to learning this time around, and I am incredibly stoked to know how to make egg fried rice correctly! We have been trading cooking methods as I teach her the Western ways and she teaches me Eastern. She showed me how she release certain flavours, and which methods she prefers to use in order to do so, as well as which herbs are the right ones to use for certain dishes. After Eastern food we had a Western dessert of chocolate brownies and vanilla ice-cream and politics became the discussion of the evening. This is particularly interesting when you are 3 South Africans, 2 Australians, 1 Thai, and 2 Americans on board. Trevor Noah would have had a field day!
The next morning I woke up to the sound of the anchor being hoisted. It was somewhere between 4am and 5am and the moon looked eclipsed with nothing but a sliver of light. The only proof that there were any boats around us were the single lights on top of their masts and we switched the radar on for good measure as small fishing boats, common to this area, wouldn't be seen at all.
Before we knew it we were back on dry land and still felt like we were swaying. The boys scored cooking left hand barrels that evening and as usual we are relishing all our time in and on the ocean... What can we say, our direction is seaward.
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