Update from Colin Philp
Onboard Uto Ni Yalo
At 1800hours, the 4 vaka Captains talk on the radio to discuss our heading for the night. Our skipper called in our Latitude and Longitude.
After some discussion with the support vessels it was decided we would go back to full sail and head a little north of due East so that we converge with Marumaru Atua by daybreak as they are further North of us. Hine Moana and Te Matau a Maui are right beside us.
At 1820 after we increase sail and start moving again, both fishing lines hook up and Sonny mans the handline and I jump on the fishing rod.
Sonny soon has a 12kg Albacore on board on the 300lb handline. Meanwhile I have not been able to get enough drag on the rod to slow the run of line so I yell to the steerers, Kai'afa and Kelekele to turn into the wind to luff the sails and slow the canoe down.
Only once the canoe slows, do I get sufficient drag to on to slow the fish and I begin to haul it in. I am winding for what seems an eternity and need to rest regularly as my arms are burning.
It is now dark and we have slowed right down so the fish is coming in quickly. Sonny gaffs the fish and has two goes at getting the fish onboard the high stern of the Uto ni Yalo.
My heart misses a beat as we cannot tell if he has the fish on board in the dark. Someone gets their torch light beamed at the stern and we see it is an Albacore slightly larger than the first, around 15kg.
Sonny bleeds and cleans the fish and we store them in the stern where the drains are as there is a constant flushing of fresh salt water every couple of minutes which will keep the fish fresh for the next day.
It is great having a seasoned fisherman like Sonny on board who boasts he was catching up to 1,000 albacore per day on the boat he worked on (Lady Valerie) in Canada for 6 years. (Read earlier fishing tales and pics online at www.fijivoyaging.com)
The air temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius during the day and the wind chill factor at night is as low as 10 degrees Celsius so the fish will keep just fine until the morning.
Because we stopped to haul in our fish, the two Vakas, Hine Moana and Te Matau a Maui have raced off to the horizon so we raise our genoa to try and get some speed up.
Also whist hauling in the fish, we slipped silently over the 180 median and are now East of the dateline, a day behind so we will have another Tuesday tomorrow.
Kind of makes up for the day we lost waiting around for the Marumaru Atua to catch up.
By 2200 hours we have caught both Hine Moana and Te Matau and continue to sail past them.
Sonny, Kai'afa, Kelekele and Salome are on watch and I switch the compass light off much to their amazement.
Salome who is steering at the time with Kai'afa yells out "The compass light is off".
I yell back "Do you steer your V.1 canoe using a compass?"
"I saw you guys staring at the compass and not taking in the beautiful night sky, so I turned it off."
For the rest of the night, we steer by the stars, wind, waves and the moon. The crew on watch are soon thanking me for making them realise how reliant they were getting on the compass.
At daybreak, we are about 6 nautical miles ahead of Hine Moana and Te Matau. Manoa is happy with our prowess in the sailing department. "Cheeeee.... us man, we too good"
Rupeni starts preparing raw fish for breakfast. After a helping of Weet-Bix, we tuck into the raw fish. Rupeni's recipe is: Raw Fish mixed with Kikkoman sauce and a touch of wasabi.
Avocado mashed with onions, salt and pepper and fresh lemon squeezed on top
This has to be the best breakfast I have ever had. The fish melts in your mouth and the combined taste of the avocado and Albacore, is absolutely to die for. Albacore is a oily fish with very white meat if bled properly.
I can't help thinking we are blessed with this crew. Rupeni is a chef at Bad Bog Cafe in Suva when he is isn't traveling overseas to represent Fiji in the Triathlon or Outrigger Paddling.
If breakfast was to die for then lunch was made for heaven.
Rupeni made up a Tahitian Style raw fish salad. His recipe: Salad - lettuce, english cabbage, cucumber and tomatoes. The fish is marinated in freshly squeezed lemon for an hour then served on top of the salad with coconut cream poured on top.
Fresh chilli is added to taste. A simple but very tasty meal and at we know the fish is fresh.
He has sweet and sour fish on the menu for dinner.....yum yum!
If you are not a fish fan, then canoe voyaging is definitely not for you.
By 1400hours we are 10 nautical miles ahead of Te Matau with Hine Moana just ahead of them. Marumaru Atua is 500 metres on our port quarter (slightly behind and to the north).
Our latitude is 37*18' South and longitude 176*55' West. We still have a reef in the mainsail to slow us down so we stay withe fleet tonight and don't get too spread out.
We have so many different birds visiting the canoe and Unaisi stays busy recording their visits.
One tiny bird even visits the deckhouse for a rest. It is a small black with a red patch behind its head. Its partner circles the vaka and lands on the rail. The birds seem so tame and unintimedated by the crew.
We wish we had bird identification chart for these waters. We only have a chart to identify birds of Fiji.
The crew take advantage of the afternoon sun the dry clothes and take a bath. There is nothing like taking a bath in freezing water. The refreshing feeling after the bath is one you want to remember so that tomorrow’s bath becomes a little easier to handle.
The Pure Fiji Mana'ia Shower Gel is the best for the salt water and leaves your skin feeling moisturised.
Then the Mana'ia Nourishing Exotic Oil is applied generously to moisturise the skin (and remove the kanikani). And best of all, rubbing in the oil keeps us warm!