Fishing, like most cruising pastimes, is easier than it looks. Every morning on passage, Stylish tours the decks and clears the scuppers of the unfortunate tiny squid and flying fish that have landed overnight. We don't eat these morsels, but the message is clear: for the most part, the fish come to us.
We only fish when we are ready to eat fish. As our friend in the Tuamotus says, the sea is our refrigerator. When we stayed on his motu, Erik and Olivier would get the dingy out in the late afternoon and head out to find dinner. Forty-five minutes later, they were back with enough for all of us. Everyone helped with the preparation and clean-up; the girls in particular enjoyed throwing fish guts to the birds. Eels and small black-tip sharks swam past the cleaning station in a regular parade to claim their share, too. And the giant hermit crabs cleaned up what remained.
|A nicer food prep area you couldn't ask for.|
|Feed the birds, tuppence, tuppence...|
Expert cleaning crew.
On passage, we throw out a line whenever we felt like something fresh for dinner. There is something thrilling about having a meal come to you after days of pasta and tinned beans. It is like takeout, but with more work involved. The girls love to help choose lures, and Stylish solemnly attaches a raisin to the hook before we cast. (The first fish we ever caught aboard was a small bass brought in by Stylish, using a raisin on a Barbie fishing rod. I kid you not.) As the day goes on, we all listen for that magic ZZZZzzzzzz! that tells is that something is on the line. While Erik wrestles the beast to the boat, the young ladies and I prep mesh gloves, a gaff, a spray bottle of vodka (for the fish, not for us), and Dad's killin' knife. And everyone cheers Erik on as he brings the fish aboard.
The prep always turns into a mini anatomy lesson, because the girls certainly won't let Erik butcher the fish without spectators. Entertainment, education plus a delicious meal at the end of it - fishing has it all.
"Amy," said my mom this morning, "We're having fish for dinner."
Yum, I thought.
"Would you go take it out of the freezer for me?"
Somehow, wrestling a vacuum-packed package of tilapia from under the green beans wasn't as much fun.