S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, BLUEFIN

Tuesday, March 20
Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
N 18 degrees, 20.477 minutes
W 064 degrees, 47.628 minutes

Or maybe it was a blackfin. Regardless, the critical point here is that, yesterday, just before the sun set, we sailed right through a school of tuna that were going NUTS on the surface of the ocean. I didn't even have to alter course. There they were, right in my line, leaping far enough into the air close enough to the boat that I could identify them as tuna and pray, without having time to check, that our lure didn't have any weeds attached.

We got a hit right away, but no hookup, so Dean started playing the lure, popping the skirt out of the water. He watched three crazed fish go for it before a nice sized tuna hooked himself firmly. DINNER! We had tuna satay tonight and have put the rest of the steaks aside for Rose and Stephen, who will arrive on Friday (you do like fresh tuna, don't you?).

The rest of our 100-mile sail was not quite as exciting as those few minutes when we caught ourselves a tuna, but it was a good downwind sail, and we made excellent time from St. Martin to St. John. There was no moon, but the stars were bright enough that we could see the horizon (a big psychological boost at night). We folded up the bimini (the awning over our cockpit) so we could stare up at the Milky Way and watch for the southern cross as it popped above the horizon after midnight. Between the stars, the need to keep a close eye on our compass, and the beautiful phosphorescence in the water, I was entertained enough that I forgot to turn on the radio during my first 3-hour watch.

I am going to have to get better at stowing things below before our next long crossing, however. Until we reach the Bahamas, we'll be heading almost due east with the wind and waves directly at our back, making for some rolly passages. You might recall how much I complained, this time last year, that we were taking what the call "the thorny path," with the wind on our nose until we turned the corner in St. Martin. We motored or motor-sailed for hundreds of miles.

I'm certainly not complaining about having the wind behind us. Okay, I am, but not about the sailing part. While is a little tricky for the person at the helm to keep the sail filled and the bow pointed in the right direction with the waves trying so hard to push Delilah all over the ocean, the person who is NOT sailing has it worse, on the overnights at least. Down below our dishes clang in the cupboards, clothes fly out of their baskets, doors slam or rattle, and items that have seemed secure on every other passage suddenly launch themselves across the boat. After getting up for the hundredth time to tighten the spare halyard or secure the bag of onions or retie the bathroom door so it stays open, we'd try to lie there and pretend it wasn't maddening.

On deck things were relatively peaceful. Without the engine on and with the wind behind us, the loudest sound was the soothing hiss of Delilah making her way through the water. Occasionally a block might drag across the cabin top, or a line might creak, or the sail might slap if I'd let the boat fall off course a few degrees, but it was hardly noticeable. In the saloon the noises from the deck of our pitching boat were amplified enough that each of us, during our time off watch, was startled enough by some noise that we came up to see what happened, only to have person at the helm say everything was fine, what loud noise?

All that to say, here we are in the United States. Dean is already asleep for the night, but I drank four gallons of lemonade in order to keep my eyes open past dinner, and now I'm wide awake. I'm sure it won't last.


Blogger devin said...

Seems like just yesterday that Bridget and I were enjoying the Virgin Islands with you on Delilah. In fact, I guess it was about a year ago. Time flies... Savor the rest of your trip northward! We look forward to having you back in Boston.


ps - not sure if word got to you through Bridget, but we're having a baby boy at the end of May! So if you need any inspiration to get back on board and sail far, far away, you'll be able to come over to our place to hang out with a screaming infant for a while! Joy!

4:42 PM  

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