July 17, 2011
As we departed Charleston to head to Palm Beach, the engines were humming, weather was nice, and seas were calm. It was time to try out our new FISHING GEAR! Soon a line was trailing behind the boat waiting for a fish to strike. Our biggest concern was how we would know when a fish bit. On the sailboat it was easy – the fishing pole was near the helm and there was no engine noise, so the clicker on the reel when line starts to be taken is unmistakable. But how would we hear it on a power boat with the engines going? It would be a while before we knew. After waiting and watching for a couple hours, we soon returned to our normal routine. I was on watch in the flybridge when suddenly I heard a distinct zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz sound – we had a fish! The alarm was sounded – that is I screamed FISH at the top of my lungs, raced down to disengage our hydraulic alternators (which require the engines to be running at a high RPM), then slowed the boat down (which turns out to be much easier on a power boat than on a sailboat!). Soon John was reeling in the first fish. It was exciting, but it was a little guy – a mackerel I think. A good test but not big enough to keep, so soon he was swimming away with his own story to tell.
The line went back out and it wasn’t long before I heard it again! “FISH!”, I yelled. This time Bradley took the rod. It seemed like he had something a little larger on the line. It was putting up a bit of a fight and giving Bradley a bit of a workout. But then it seemed perhaps we had lost it as the line got noticeably easier to bring in. Was there or wasn’t there a fish still on the end? There was a lot of line out and as it finally came into view it did indeed look like a small fish was there. But it also had a strange motion through the water. What was going on? Soon we had the answer as we pulled HALF a fish out of the water. It had been a good sized one, but a hungry larger fish had helped himself to a large bite along the way. We were robbed!
The third time’s the charm as they say, so out went the line again. Again, after we had stopped thinking about it, the line went out and the alarm was sounded. Everyone went to their positions, with Bradley grabbing the pole, setting the brake, and beginning the process of bringing in the fish. I slowed the boat while John readied the gaff and donned gloves to land the fish. This one was a fighter that had taken lots of line out. It gave Bradley quite a workout before finally coming aboard. A lovely (and whole!) tuna! Soon it was aboard and for the first time we got to use our “fish table”, an addition to the boat we had made while in Solomon’s. It’s a fold-down table designed to allow work on a fish on the swim platform so that it doesn’t get brought onto the boat. It worked beautifully and soon the tuna was in the fridge ready for a lovely dinner. It had been a good day.
The next day, the line went out again. Hours passed with not a hint of a fish. But sure enough, once we stopped thinking about it, out went the line and John got his chance. Soon he had landed another tuna, very similar to the first. Fortunately we are all tuna lovers and there was plenty of room in our freezer. By now, we were getting our procedure down and this one was caught and cut up in no time. Then it was my turn. As the next fish was hooked, I took the rod and reeled it in. It didn’t feel like a huge one and it wasn’t. Another small mackerel, which we released. But we had all had a chance to catch a fish and we had several nice tuna dinners in the fridge. All in all, a great success!
Aside from the fishing, the trip south was simply amazing. Again we had perfect weather and very calm seas. We even had a near-full moon at night, giving us great visibility. The only question was whether we had enough fuel to make it all the way to Palm Beach. We knew we had enough in our tanks, but were not completely sure that every bit of fuel in the tanks was useable – we’ve heard of other Nordhavn owners who can’t get the last 100 gallons or so out of their tanks. So we monitored the situation closely and ultimately transferred all the fuel from our port tank into our starboard tank – proving we could indeed get almost all of it out and giving us confidence we would make it to Palm Beach.
We arrived just outside Singer Island on Thursday morning and decided to anchor the boat in the relatively calm and very clear water outside the inlet so that John and Bradley could dive to clean and inspect the bottom of the boat. As soon as we had anchored and the guys had donned their dive gear, we noticed a very small shark swimming around the back of the boat. We have all dived among sharks many times, and this one did not seem to pose any threat. Most sharks are harmless and will not approach a diver – it’s usually hard to even get close to a shark. And this one was perhaps two feet long, just a little guy. So into the water they went. But out they came again as the little shark was actually threatening John. John kicked him a couple times but he didn’t back off – and even a little guy has some very sharp teeth. We watched the little shark swim around for awhile and debated what to do. Its behavior sure did seem abnormal – perhaps it was accustomed to fishing boats which provide free meals, but we decided not to antagonize him. We elected to raise the anchor and move a bit further down. No sign of predators this time, so John and Bradley went in again. There was a fairly strong current, so I decided to take a quick dip to cool off and then stayed on board rather than helping in the water. John and Bradley surfaced after a couple hours, out of air and exhausted from fighting the current. After lunch and a rest, one of them (I’ll never tell which on) went back for another dive to finish the job. Finally, the inspection and cleaning was complete and everyone was safely back on board. We raised anchor and headed into Old Port Cove Marina, where were soon in a berth, connected to shore power, and enjoying fresh grilled tuna steaks!
The next two days were spent cleaning the boat – after every trip out in seawater, the boat needs a freshwater cleaning and chamois drying to protect the wax finish. It’s a lot of work and took two days, but now she’s happy and clean. We’ll be here for about a month to have some upgrades done to our electronics and entertainment systems, fix a few things, and have the boat professionally detailed before heading north again in August.
Click on any photo to enlarge.