Our one and only stop after leaving Salalah, Oman, before arriving in India would be Ras Al Hallaniya island, which is part of the Kuria Muria Islands, 30 miles away from the piracy attack Liz and I overheard on the VHF the other week. What a place to celebrate my 15,000th nautical mile, especially after catching a beautiful dorado…
This huge, shallow marsa looked a bit like the Dutch waterways. Another bird sanctuary-cum-BBQ spot. I could attempt to impress you with a description of this fantastic sailing destination but you’ll just get jealous, so instead I’ll impress you with a picture of a blue-tipped reef shark we caught. Tasted bloody lovely when shallow fried in batter!
Can you think of the best day of your life? You’ve probably got a few, or perhaps you hadn’t given it much thought. It’s rare that a day happens and then lie in bed on the same evening concluding that it must be one of the best days of your life, but that’s what happened today. Today goes down as one of the most idyllic, perfect days I have ever experienced.
Fishing. It starts off like this…
the fact that there were some wonderful memories taking Dad snorkeling in the Red Sea is a bonus! This was a simple downwind sail of around 12 miles due south of Hurghada, a case of dropping the hook and spending a very memorable few days at anchor.
Well, bloody well! Our best sail yet. In the world. Ever.
A cursory glance at the log book gives it away:
With these two rather important features broken we were getting a bit tetchy. Our bodies hadn’t adjusted to the night watches and we were still motoring. As the second day aboard came to a close, the entire sky bathed in a dreamy pink as the sun dipped its head, I decided to go for a nap. This was shortly broken by Liz banging on the hatch, shouting something urgent.
I was very disappointed to read some of the comments you lot made about my dad’s efforts to line-fish off the back of the boat. You have to remember that whilst they look small to you, they are in fact a complete meal for a cat like me, so when he starts getting so good he pulls in not one, not two but three fish, one after the other, you have to admire his success. My dad’s great, I love him!
Started fishing at 5 this morning, about the time the cicadas started. The anchorage is a stunning setting, especially at that time in the morning. I put some coffee on and chucked some crumbs out the back. Not much action for a bit until I attracted the attention of just three fish. In all the time at this anchorage (two nights) these are the only fish I’ve seen.
Yes, after four years, three near misses, two lines and one very impatient cat we have finally bagged our first catch off the back of Esper! Under the guidance of our fishing guru, Matt, both Liz and myself caught a fish each within the space of 24 hours. Of course we frequently pull up a cage full of tiddlers and live-bait with our lobster pot but, according to our guru, “that’s not fishing, that’s just being lazy”. Click on the link to read about this very exciting moment…
We woke up to hear that Liz had been up at the crack of dawn and managed to catch the same species of fish as Jamie but slightly bigger! [Ed: what utter nonsense 😉 ]
The town of Simi had its own charm as well and after a bit more of an orientation exercise i.e. drinking more beer we decided to go and have dinner. The restaurant we chose was recommended to us by an Australian waitress who said she had eaten there recently and it was fantastic. Well if she’d eaten there on her wages then I’m a Monkey’s uncle
My strategy was to snorkel around with the boat’s sweeping broom and poke the handle into various likely looking holes in the rock with a view that the Occie would get very pissed off with this intrusion and wrap its tentacles around the broom allowing me to extract the Crustacean, at which point I was going to turn its head inside it which is the way to dispatch tour eight legged friend
I was glad to be back in Turkey, but the thing about Alanya is that it also doesn’t have any fish. It does have a marina with no boats in it and a few fairly scary feral cats. That didn’t bother me though. I still managed to trap myself inside the marina boss’s yacht and had a fight or two with the local moggies. I won.
FISH, now they are quite a different matter. Oh, just that word brings me out in goose pimples. F, I, S, H, fish. Tasty, fleshy, scaly, spiky, slimy, fresh, wriggling fish. Yummy, yum yum.
I enjoyed a fantastic night watch with the moon playing hide and seek behind storm clouds and when I awoke next morning the wind had finally come round. Not quite the south westerlies as predicted but a marked improvement and the sea state dropped back to moderate, thank god. Jezabel just wasn’t pulling in the results, so I tried the paravane with 4m of trace and the thing shot down into the water pulling what must have been its maximum poundage. I decided to pull it straight back in as we were sailing at over 7 knots.
It was a beautiful day but there was a strong cold wind, unfortunately coming from the wrong direction so we motor sailed up the west coast past Lisboa, Cascais, Sintra etc. The wind was a light northerly, on the nose, making the passage mildly uncomfortable, so to cheer myself up I christened Harold and cast him over the transom. At the time of writing he hadn’t caught anything yet but I had high hopes for this baby. He looked like a killer!
Bought some fishing gear!
When you’ve spent over three weeks at sea Antigua really is a piece of heaven on earth. We don’t need to tell you what it was like because it’s all that you imagine it to be: warm, idyllic, welcoming and simply stunning. With free-flowing rum and the fact it was approaching Christmas the vibe was fully switched on to ‘party’ mode. Tim, Dobby, Michel and myself rented a shack for a month on top of a hill overlooking Falmouth Harbour and quickly sussed the perfect recipie for rum-punch. Yachts came and went, providing the south of the island with crowds of party people who crammed the local joints like the Mad Mongoose.
We had a hard morning’s work tidying up the boat whilst Roger and Manuel were cast either side out the back of the boat. An unprecedented move this late in the season but within 10 minutes Roger had attracted the attention of a sail fish (not dorado!).
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