The Journey West Continues
Sushi In the Sky With Diamonds
From Les Chambers
Dawn. Lat: 22.53, Lon: 36.13. We’re on a broad reach in light airs at 7 knots. There’s blood on the lazarette there’s blood on the binnacle. Guts, still pulsating, sluice around in the well of the rear cockpit. The helmsman’s monkey cage is so redolent with gore he’s had to move forward a tad and steer from forward of the wheel. Murder most foul is underway this day on Northern Child.
We hope you are well. Your daddy has reported that you find our blog boring in comparison to others. This story, as it happened is for you. Warning!! Parental guidance may be required. Besprich Dich mit Deiner Mutter (consult Mother).
We had a relaxed night watch broad reaching in light airs, so just before dawn we played out Mark’s 400 lb fishing line with his Madeira lure. Mark was on deck checking our status when there was the unmistakeable ratcheting click-click-click of the reel clutch. Something was on the line. Was this a good thing? We weren’t sure. Mark had told us of horrible “things” that rise to the surface from unknown depths in the dark of night and, as the first rays of dawn penetrate the sea surface, they deep dive lest human eyes fall upon them.
Up for anything, Mark pounced on the reel and began to draw in whatever may come. A great turbulence of fin and foam soon appeared weaving back and forward 50 m behind Northern Child. As it approached we could see that it was big, six foot long with a spear shaped beak and fan shaped blue fin. It continued to thrash violently as Mark dragged it onto the transom. Two eyes regarded us with anger. We gazed back. “Hello breakfast,” someone said. The hook had firmly penetrated its beak. This monster was going nowhere. We needed it in the boat, it needed to kill us if we tried; and it could do it easily with that evil black beak. A Mexican standoff, high noon at 6.00 am in the mid Atlantic.
It was Uli who drew down first; with the heavy metal handle of the hydraulic pump that tensions the back stay and the boom vang. He leaned back through the transom rails and commenced to battering the monster on its ugly head just aft of its eyeballs, pacifying the beast sharpish like. Strange how such a gentle soul can turn stone killer when faced with a fish-steak-breakfast-lost situation. It seems the further you progress into the Atlantic, primal and wild, the less you feel bound by the norms of polite society left far away in your wake. Only Martin the American, a staunch Republican, expressed compassion and remorse. I think he found this in-your-face wet work repugnant. Surely a drone strike controlled from a bunker in the suburbs of Las Vegas would be more civilized, less personal and easily forgotten in the bosom of the family over dinner of an evening. As for the rest of the crew: they salivated. “Have we got enough soy sauce to cover this sucker,” someone asked, “maybe we could get on Martin’s sat phone and get it choppered in.”
Mark hauled it aboard avoiding the beak. He lifted it up with a victory cry to the admiring flashes of half a dozen digital cameras. This was to be no exaggerated fish story – six foot long and 35 kilos, the pinnacle of his fishing career. A razor sharp fish knife and hacksaw was handed aft and, with skill worthy of a surgeon, he beheaded the monster sawing off the 400 mm beak and gutting the still convulsing body. He handed Matthias the first flesh, sushi a la Atlantic. There is none more fresh. As four large bin liners of flesh were handed down to the refrigerator I suggested that a great white fish killer such as he should eat the heart of the beast as good karma. “No,” he replied. “You must eat the eye of your Marlin to prevent its soul returning to haunt you.” Too late! The head had been jettisoned overboard eyes and all.
And so it happened. The crew of the Northern Child sat on deck under the fine rays of dawn and feasted on a breakfast of Marlin steaks. The morning watch came on and, as normal, we went about the business of seeking out the trade winds that will take us to Rodney Bay, St Lucia; all of course except Mark who, without a Marlin eye in his belly, can only look forward to an eternity of dreams redolent with the presence of a Marlin soul in agony, trapped between heaven and earth.
Could there be a cure? “Salt water,” he said to me.
“In the sweat and the tears and the folds of the deep salt sea”
Uli says: “So Rosa: ist das gut genug als Gutenachtgeschichte? Suesse Traeume wuenscht Dir Dein Papa. Sleep well.” (So Rosa does this suffice as a bed time story?? Have sweet dreams says your daddy. Sleep well”.)
So from a content and full bellied Northern Child crew. Next Time 🙂