26 hours at sea…

Our first experience ever, kissing the ocean swells! Indeed a moment of truth, will we be able to do it? Will we be able to sustain the dark watch? Will sea sickness render us un-operational?

Happily we can report back that none of the above invaded us nor took over our brain during this trip at sea. It will more so, be an unforgettable memory for our family to cherish for a long time, in other words the boat is not for sale and we are not going to buy an RV, everyone loved it all!

It all started after topping off all the tanks, the Grib files were showing light to moderate winds with 1-2 meter swell. The boat was ready, would we be? At this point the only thing we had not foreseen was the passage of a cold front. The sails were raised early and off we went, the light rain and very low clouds made for a rather gloomy atmosphere but all the traffic kept us busy and alert. As we were leaving the straight I decided that my past failures with the two trolling lines shouldn’t discourage me, therefore I set them and we were trolling in no time…

As you can tell, the extra webbing on the jack line was in fact purchased to hold the Cuban Yo-Yo, who could have predicted at the time?

Astonishingly, the line started to wiggle fairly fast, which took us all by surprise! We had just caught a Chinook salmon!

No photo shop or no exaggeration, but a nice fish was caught, and it will feed the four of us for two meals. A few screams were heard when I had to kill it, one generation really has no idea where the food comes from, and this is not *V*’s forte either. The gutting and cleaning was a breeze as I have done it a few times in my life. The following picture could be disturbing to some viewers; this is why it has been changed to black and white. *E* at this point decided that fish was not on the menu tonight for her.

Here is an observation: For boat owners with a deep well like the lagoon 380, I feel the boat designer must have been undoubtedly a fisherman. Why? Because, the fish can’t escape, and the drain makes it easy to wash down the remains so your entire cockpit doesn’t look like a slaughter house. Evidently that is on the condition that you don’t catch more fish too quickly… And we must have been in party central, because almost immediately after the first one was in the freezer, and everyone had regained their spirit, another one decided to come join us as well! I also had two escaped ones due to my poor technique. We knew our freezer was a good investment, although we were wondering if it might be in fact too small; because another one decided to provide us with a meal. All our fish was nicely filleted, bagged and tidied right away. At this time the lines were brought back in as we didn’t want to catch more than we could eat. Of course we had a nice meal with rice and salmon seared in olive oil, the simpler the better! The meat scraped from the bone made for some nice sushi, missing only some wasabi. Somebody had never imagined that the “man of the house” would provide for his family from the sea…

After the excitement and my attempts to clean the cockpit (that is when you need the black bucket), we started to settle in for our first night watch. Some drizzle, 6 knots of wind and the swell creating havoc with the sail, which made the moment more difficult than it should have been. Some heading tweaking, enabled us to have a pleasant ride and the routine was set. *B* and I had the 9-midnight shift, *E* and *V* the midnight to 3am. The wind died down around 2 am and the engine was needed to keep the boom from crashing on every swell.

During our shift change at 3am *V* mentioned “do you smell that bad odour?” “No dear, what kind of bad odour rotten fish or holding tank?” “Rotten fish for sure”, the answer was easy. We both agreed we had whales around us, *E* and *V* had been sailing for the past 3 hours with them. They were all around us, the engine was turned off and the sound was immediately audible. We definitely had multiple whales around the boat from every direction, we could hear them breathe. From then on, we had decided to bring in the sails due to the lack of serious wind and drifted in the dark for the next two hours while listening every few minutes to our majestic escort breathing.

The next three hours the pod circled us; it was a very special moment we saw multiple humpback whales side feeding, spy hopping, and tale waving. From the helm position I looked at my port side and saw my family run toward me with scary faces, one had just come up 2 meter from starboard side and if *E* had stayed in the dolphin seat she could have touched it.

After a few more experiences and comparing the noise levels and smell coming from them, we concluded that during the night they were on the side of the boat, checking out the intruder in their kingdom and escorting them through the night. After all the radar was right, we had something next to us, and only because we were patient and had nowhere to go really, were we able to live such an incredible experience.

Having succeeded in our ocean adventure we decided it was now time to return to Neah bay under engine. We couldn’t have asked for a better time out at sea, everybody was unanimous we will round cape Flattery again with Letitgo but next time around, we will turn south and won’t return anytime soon.