After a day of mostly minor projects on Sunday, we decided to take the boat out for a spin on Monday. It was a nice day with light winds forecasted. The tide was low at sunrise, so we opted for a mid-morning departure. I did a morning blog post for GEB, and then started prepping the boat. This includes checking the engines (oil, belts, water), checking radios, instrument covers, rigging sails, setting up laptop, putting speed log back in place, installing safety equipment (EPIRB, lifebuoy, etc.), putting out winch handles, and more.
Once Karen was up, we prepped for departure. One of the deckhands came over to help us with lines, and we fired up the engines and cast off. Today was Karen’s chance to get some helm experience. Once we cleared the docks she took over and guided us out. I put away the fenders and lines while we headed up the ICW to the Carolina Beach inlet. The inlet was dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers recently, but we watched the sonar carefully on the way through the dredged channel. We never saw less than 9 feet (our draft is 4.5 feet).
Once out, I was expecting winds too light for a good sail. But, was pleasantly surprised with near 10 knots. We headed due east under motors for a couple of miles, then raised sail and began a southeasterly sail. We were soon regularly going 6+ knots, and 7 knots for a good while! It was better than expected, and it didn’t seem to hot either. Seas were mostly less than 2 feet, so it was smooth going.
Soon I brought out the fishing gear and had two lines in the water. I always run some lines if we’re offshore, but haven’t yet caught much off Carolina beach. I was able to ruin that record a little while later! We had some lunch, and after making 15 or so miles out we tacked to head back. A few minutes later, I heard the pleasant sound of the fishing reel going *wheeeeeeeee*. I could immediately tell we had caught something big. The fish leapt out of the water and I knew I had a game fish. Before long, I spotted the colors of a Mahi Mahi. I asked Karen to point the boat more into the wind to slow us down, then asked her to get the gaff, then asked her to get out the camera, and oh – get the fish gloves out… In quick succession. She pointed out I was asking her to do too much at once. No problem, the fish was well hooked, so I played with reeling in the fish a bit while she got everything ready. After a few pictures I got the gaff and we soon had the fish on board. Here are a few pictures:
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We put the fish in our cold box (a refrigerated locker in the cockpit). He barely fit – 42″ in length – nose to tail. We’d get plenty of fillets from that! Sure enough, after finishing our sail and returning to the dock, I went ashore and cleaned up the fish. Got a great tip on improving my fillet technique from a fisherman at the marina (for which I rewarded him a couple of fillets). After sharing a few other fillets, we had to head home. So, we cleaned up the boat, packed and headed home. What a great day!