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One of my yet-to-meet-in-person Facebookfriends” recently described the Mayaguana passage as “one of the gateways to hell.” He cautioned the readers of that post to take their seasickness medicine before traversing it. Fortunately, the wind didn’t make it as such for us although it was a bumpier ride than we had anticipated. Regardless, even though we had to motorsail into headwinds for the entire trip, we made it from Rum Cay to Mayaguana in a little better than 24 hours.

What does one do to pass the time on such a passage? Fish, of course! As the title suggests though, we really are the Abbott and Costello of fishing. Back in Georgetown, our friend Tim gave us 5 new lures. As I wrote before, we already lost two of those around our prop as we sailed to Conception Island. For the math-challenged reading, this still left us with three, more than enough to catch us some fish.

It wasn’t too long after getting the lines out that we had a hit on one them. I think the fish was a Wahoo but as we brought him nearby the boat, he did a nice little flip in the air and freed himself from the lure. Fish number two was a good-sized Dorado. I know this because we had him right alongside before he did some similar fish-trickery. This time though, he not only freed himself from the line but also took our nice lure with him! We ultimately determined that the swivel holding the lure to the line broke. I hate equipment failures!

Fish number 2 on the hook. We already had what I believe was a Wahoo get off the hook just shy of our transom. This guy did the same but to make matters worse, he took our good lure with him. How? The swivel that the lure was attached to broke! 🙁

No more fish were interested in hitting our lures that day and as the sun set, we brought them in. Pork chops for dinner, instead of fresh fish, it was then.

The night went well with Rebecca and I trading off 3 hour shifts on watch. We each kept ourselves occupied by watching movies on the laptop in the cockpit, stopping every 10 minutes to have a look around (we set a little cooking timer to remind us to do so). There wasn’t a ton of action through the night although we did pass several large cruise ships on reciprocal courses. Apparently they could see us because it appeared that they made early course corrections to avoid smashing us. We appreciated that.

A new day dawns.

We had a lot more wind than was forecast. Here we are motorsailing pretty close to the wind.

Lines were back in the water early the next morning and as the passage was drawing to an end, we finally got a hit. This time we were determined to land him. I took my time bringing this guy close, letting him wear himself out in the process. When we finally got him alongside, the comedy really broke out. While Rebecca held the reel, I hit him with the gaff. Although he was pretty chilled out before this occurred, he apparently did not like that very much. The next minute or so saw that fish jump off the gaff, get hooked again, jump off the gaff and get hooked again. On the third hit, I tossed him into the dinghy which was up on the davits. Not having enough foresight to realize the danger in trying to gaff a large, flopping fish in an expensive inflatable dinghy, I continued to try to hook him so that I could get him out of the dinghy and onto deck. Of course, just to make matters more fun, the lure, still in his mouth, had also now well attached itself to our dinghy’s painter (a painter is the line which you use to tie up the dinghy). The comedy ultimately drew to an end and the fish was dragged into the cockpit. A little bit of “Fire in da Hole” rum poured into his gills and he was once again chilled out. Thank God! That fish will be feeding us for the next week!

As soon as it was bright enough, we had the lines back in the water. It took us quite some time before we got this hit.

Score! A 44″ Mahi Mahi, aka Dorado, aka Dolphin, aka Dinner!

Although she hasn’t had a lot of practice here, Rebecca did a great job of cleaning the fish. Of course, our boat looked as if an axe murder had taken place after it was all said and done.

Landing that fish was not without injury. Mystery scrape on the arm and my hand is currently all swollen after smashing on something during the fish-landing fiasco.

By the time our week’s dinner had been cleaned, we were ready to enter the Abraham’s Bay anchorage. We have come to realize that there can often still be quite a bit of travel time remaining after reaching the outer waypoints, as there was in this case. The bay is almost 5 miles long and is quite shallow in places with multiple coral heads scattered throughout it. Although the charts show routes through the heads, they also have disclaimers placed on every page which state:

VPR (Visual Piloting Rules) apply in areas covered on this chart. Good weather, sunlight, bottom reading and piloting skills required.

What that is basically saying is that you’d better have someone forward, in this case Rebecca, watching to make sure you don’t bump into something that may not be on the chart! Got it.

Even after making it to the outer waypoint at Mayaguana, we still had close to an hour of motoring to do to get to our anchoring spot, much of it through coral heads. Here Rebecca is spotting from the mast, helping to get us safely through them. Fortunately we timed our arrival perfectly, getting there at 12:30 PM with excellent sun.

Our day ended with a bit of exploring, a bunch of cleaning (there was so much fish blood in our cockpit that it looked like an axe murder had taken place) and also a fuel run (thanks to Papa Charlie and Emerson for their help in this). Sleep came early for Rebecca and I in Mayaguana.

No matter how well we stow things, the boat always looks like a disaster area after a passage. This is the stuff that fell off the table, littering the salon floor.

After anchoring, and cleaning all the blood off the boat, we headed to shore to explore.

One thing we haven’t seen a lot of on most of the Bahamian islands is chickens. This rooster came out to see us to tell us that chickens do indeed live here on Mayaguana.

One of our least-pleasant jobs: jerry canning fuel to the boat. We have a LOT of jerry cans and after topping up our main tank, they were all empty. Can you say $$$$$?

29 Comments

  1. That rooster gets around. I’m pretty sure we saw the same one in Key West. We took his photo and put him on a T-shirt.

    http://www.cafepress.com/boat_t_shirts.506594391

  2. You two need a webcam if you’re going to be doing much fishing. That sounds like it would have made for a good video 😀

  3. Congrtulations! You got your fish! Love all the pics and action commentaries so we can turn our friends onto the Rum Cay Episodes (even though it tells on us for dumping the dinghy and which is why we don’t have a camera to tell our own story). Smooth sailing! M & W

  4. Sounds like our own adventures in fishing, only we never got such a fine looking fish on board.
    Word to the wise: wash that cut REALLY well with peroxide and/or bleach solution cuz there are some bad critters in sea water. I’m talking from personal experience here!

  5. Oh, we wish you would have had a video of your fish-catching charades! Would have loved to see you fighting that fish in the dinghy! =) We can imagine doing the same sort of thing. Glad ya’ll caught yourself a big one and that you and the dinghy survived without extensive damage! So, now that you’ve made it to Mayaguana with pretty good weather conditions was it all that bad? Would love to hear that it’s not all that bad! =)

  6. Wait till you get to some of the more southern islands – like the BVI’s. There are chickens EVERYWHERE. If you can figure out how to trap THEM, you’d have dinner for as long as you wanted.

    Nice fish, BTW. I laughed out loud when you described wrestling it into the dinghy and the ensuing dilemma. Live and learn – always. It seems to never end.

    Great post and fab pictures!!!

  7. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    Well done on your catch, Its good to loose a few in the beginning makes you more careful bringing the others in when you “need /want ” them & its always the first 2 mins & last to mins of hooking will tell if you are going to land them, Using hand lines isn’t easy either , one rod is far better as they are able to have a bit more of a “spring ” when they jump from the rod bending, you could always put a rop around the tail & hang it over the side to “bleed” so there is less mess for you. Either way GOOD catch & as you say fish for a while on your table 🙂

  8. Seven jerrycans, at twenty-three litres a pop, and the commodity speculators have pushed gas up to a buck-twenty-five and rising…. at least ZTC‘s outboards are small and efficient. At least the free fish is making up for the pricey fuel (and what a fish- quite a change from Lake Ontario’s perch, eh?)
    And I must say, VPR is much easier when the helmsman has a good view!

  9. LOVED your fish story! Almost sounds more like the Keystone Cops than Abbot and Costello! Glad no permanent damage was done to anyone, including the dink, except the fish! Enjoy eating him!

  10. Awesome! Great fish.

    I threw a small shark in our tender once. It happens!

    I haven’t had many throw hooks. The trick with a yo yo is to stand up and use your arms to flex and keep tension on the fish, like a pole would. It happens near the boat because you no longer have a stretchy line. You have to “be” the fishing pole.

    Also, I’ve learned that it does no harm to drag the fish for a few minutes, to wear them down. Very few get off, since the tension is steady.

    Very cool.

  11. Did you go to the Doug & Cindy School of Fishing from a Catamaran? 🙂 Sounds like it.
    Nothing better than sunrises and sunsets at sea, so magical. Enjoy your passagemaking!

  12. Ahh! The mystery cuts and bruises of sailing(or fishing from a sailboat).
    In the past while underway, I’ve gone forward so many times to complete some task and when I get back to the cockpit I’m bleeding or bruised and have no idea where or how it happened, not a clue. Truly, caught up in the moment and feeling the rush!
    Good Gawd Almighty, I can wait till I’m sailing again!

  13. You guys need some serious navigational help, that sign that said North Pole was definately NOT the North Pole. I am glad to see that Rebecca is making good use of the island ” wind/temperature gauges though.

  14. Anytime we went fishin we always brought a net with us to bring the fish out of the water once they get close to the boat. Do you have a net? Just checkin…..

  15. When you have the equipment and the education it just gets easier…and a lot more fun…congrats and keep it up.
    How did the props taste?

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