Four and a Half Fish and a Mean Little Shark! (July 2011)

July 17, 2011

John readies the fishing gear

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.

Half a fish - We were robbed!

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.

Tuna on the fish table

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.

Sunset at Cape Canaveral

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.

  1. #1 by Jon on April 19, 2017 - 7:17 am

    Stumbled across your site. Very cool. Can I ask what John does for a living? That guy is really fit. I suppose going through your blog will answer this, but I figured I would ask directly.




  2. #2 by Mickey on May 17, 2015 - 11:25 am

    I just saw something about this on tv. It discussed the same things you wrote about.


  3. #3 by Aurelia on April 25, 2015 - 10:06 pm

    I really think our businesses estimate had been no-cost, or rolled right into the total price point of the carpet you bought.


  4. #4 by Click Home Page on December 15, 2013 - 11:24 pm

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  5. #5 by Gareth Granville on August 5, 2011 - 7:59 am

    I’m very glad to see you guys are back on the water. However, your ‘Mean Little Shark’ is not a shark, but a Remora. It’s easily identifiable by the size and shape of its pectoral fins, by the flatness of its head and by its swimming motion. Remoras’ first dorsal fin is flattened, located on the head and acts like a suction cup, with which it attaches itself to larger animals, like sharks, turtles, rays and marine mammals. The remoras gain a free ride and feed on scraps of food left over my their hosts. Its aggressive behaviour towards John was undoubtedly a bid to find a new host. It’s not unheard of for remoras to try it on with divers and boats. They aren’t renowned as intelligent decision makers, which I write with no malice towards John, as I’m sure he would be a great host under different circumstances. If you had stayed at anchor, the fish would have tried to affix itself to the boat, though I’m not sure that they actually can. I have often seen them hanging out under boats, but i have a feeling that they may not adhere to very hard surfaces, or anti-foul, for that matter. You can sometimes catch them with a piece of shrimp on a small hook, but other than for getting a closer look, there is little point, since they are not a good eating fish and the piece of shrimp you used is more valuable and delicious as part of a dinner than as bait for lazy sucker-headed remoras.

    I wish nothing but the best for Shear Madness and all who sail aboard her. Or motor aboard her, to be more accurate. We can discuss your abandonment of the purity of sail in favour of diesel-guzzling luxury and speed at a later date.




    • #6 by nh72 on August 9, 2011 - 6:24 am

      Gareth – great to hear from you and thanks for the info. I suspect you are right, as it was strange behavior for a shark. It sure was large for a remorah though!


  6. #7 by Chuck K on July 19, 2011 - 10:32 am

    Great pics and a wonderful story. I’m wondering, did the shark go after Bradley before or after he soaped up? Maybe he just smelled good to the shark.


  7. #8 by Susan Maher on July 19, 2011 - 8:49 am

    Jelous! It looks like a fantastic trip down. Dan would love the fishing part. Me too although I prefer the reading part. Have fun Kathy. Let’s connect when you come back north. Susan


  8. #9 by Doreen on July 19, 2011 - 3:12 am

    Yum, that tuna steak looks delicious!


  9. #10 by Jewels on July 18, 2011 - 9:10 pm

    OMG! “Shear Madness” is more beautiful than I remember:) How exciting to be doing what you all are doing. Don’t you just love Singer Island??? It is so beautiful and quaint. Loved all the pics especially the “sunset” over Cocoa Beach. There is nothing better – well mayber a few things. LOL!!! You guys be safe and if you want to get off of the boat you know your room is always available:)


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