It was Thursday, March 7th, four days after we began the Pacific crossing. We started fishing the previous day, and we would have started sooner, but we had eight days of dinners that my angel of a mother made packed neatly in the top loading fridge, which we did not want to waste. After three days of sandwiches for lunch, fresh tuna or mahi mahi sounded wonderful.

The first day of fishing was unsuccessful. There was no wind, so we motored 5.5 knots and dragged a lure for 12 hours. Usually, that would be ideal. This day, it was not.

Getting skunked for me was déjà vu. During my Atlantic crossing two years ago on a different sailing yacht, we were skunked until the third to last day of the 17 day passage. Coincidentally, that coincided with the mate leaving the boat, so I think he may have been bad luck. Anyway, we caught a massive tuna that lasted two meals a day, all week. This time around, I was the mate and getting rid of me wasn’t really an option.

I was on the sunrise watch the next morning and as soon as the sky started to brighten, I deployed line with a Rapala high speed trolling lure. I only had to wait an hour and a half until the zzzzzzzzzzzzzz of the drag interrupted the quiet morning. That energized me more than my morning cup of coffee ever has and I sprang into action. I put the throttle into neutral and yelled at my dad to wake up because FISH ON! Since he was not completely awake yet, he came running up with no clothes on thinking it was an emergency. The fish was small, so I apologized and said I actually didn’t need help and he could go back to bed.

The start of the filet job, foot for scale…

I spent the next hour remembering how to filet a tuna, which went surprisingly well (although it should have been a 10 minute job). I then mixed some wasabi into soy sauce, put a bandanna on my head to look like a sushi chef, and offered my dad a prime cut from the back of the tuna filet. After the sashimi appetizer, the gourmet meal continued with seared tuna medallions and a side of long grain wild rice. It sure beat our usual PB&J sandwiches.

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