Sacred Hill, Taunovo (Nanuku), Pacific Harbor, Fiji.
Spearfishing on Hamish's boat. A Jack(Trevally), looks kinda like a blue Jack (Omilu)(Caranx melampygus) that's lost the blue...? Further research necessary to solve this epic conundrum, but it's almost certainly in the Caranx genus of Jacks(Carangidae).
Hamish showing off the moves.
Fox on the wakeboard.
The Pearl, Feb.
Taunovo reef fun.
A pod of Pilot Whales.
February: another incredible solo dive(63m) off the walls of TLL ! Probably the best dive in Fiji to date ! Lots of Sharks (C.amblyrynchos & obesus), blue Jacks, black Jacks, Eagle Ray, Dogtooth Tuna and amazing leather, soft(Dendronephthya), hard(Acropora), Sun(Tubastraea micranthus) & fire(Millepora) Corals, magnificent Gorgonians & Anemones....pristine !!!
Heading to Vatulele, same day.
The very flat Vatulele Island.
and no Mahis !?...
B's new hair.
An amazing day in March ! Lots of Sharks! Another wall dive at Thakau LekaLeka to 65m,
and an incredible fight with a giant Marlin for half an hour !
I finally got to test my new rod & reel to the limit, and to my great surprise (& relief)
the reel, rod & rigging went toe-to-toe with one of the giants of the sea, and did not falter.
I am amazed a 16 class reel can do this ! Just a testament to modern engineering & materials.
I must have had close to 100lbs of drag on it as it tailwalked a few hundred yards away, with 3/4
of the line out ! (45lbs with full reel). 'twas impossible to reel in anything in high drive,
only low drive (1.3x on the Mak 16 in "winch" mode). Stand-up pumping = very difficult for non-
experts, with 50-100lbs drag! Easy to get pulled overboard! Ended up rail-rodding most of the time.
It bemuses me that I did not have a break-off with an enormous belly on the the line and around
100lbs of drag...? It should've snapped the 100lbs line !? I guess these superbraids are of such fine diameter
that the friction logic of the days of yore, when people used primitive nylon(mono) lines of trice the diameter
of these braids, no longer apply. Ricktheswede equation: Line half the dia.= H2O half the viscosity...?
The lure was a 7" Yo-Zuri deep diver with (3xstrong)trebles!!!??...the Marlin must've swallowed the lure...?
The reason for "no foto" is that this conniving beast decided to execute a catch-and-release
manoeuvre before officially being allowed to do so! It did so by scraping the braid with 45lbs of drag
against the crusty bottom of my boat by surfacing on the opposite side of the boat from where I was stuck,
panting away. Tis the curse of solo Marlin fishing, no way to manoeuvre the boat to avoid such calamity,
but that just makes it fair play, I guess... Should've released the drag of course, enabled him to swim off
to a less hazardous position...? Though Murphy's law says he would've ended up wrapping around the engine
anyway...but maybe not...
How big was it? Well, I saw it tailwalking a few hundred yards away. It looked a lot bigger than me, hard
to tell with only one good eye...I saw it 15m under the boat during the end battle, it still looked a lot
bigger than me. Water magnifies, I know, as does the fisherman's ego, but this fish was no Sardine !
It was a lot more powerful than a 60kg Ahi, at least for the first three quarters of the fight.
Cant wait for the next Marlin, to the boat. Then I can compare notes with this one, & file it
in the appropriate category; big, humongous, gigantic, xxx king size, or truly immense "grander".
High drama on the high seas! Mano a mano in the Big Blue! Testosterone! Adrenaline! Extreme danger!
My first Marlin to the boat! 100lb drag/gear test! 30 min! Solo! Well done! Man! Gear! I'm happy.
Hasta luego, cabron! We will meet again! Then I will get that lure back!
Oh, and by the way, the Makaira 16 seems a far superior reel, compared to my Tiagra 16.
Might upgrade to a Mak30 w half a km of 130lbs braid if these events become more common.
No need to replace the UC rod though...stellar!
NEXT fishing trip, a day in May, was a historic day also.... not for this Ono (16kg),
...but for this Mahimahi(Coryphaena hippurus)!!! Finally! Even though its reputation suggests otherwise,
I have found this fish to be about as illusive as a mermaid ! It's related to Jacks (Carangids, e.g.Trevallies etc).
It sure is an acrobat of legendary infamy, I could not even gaff it, it does not stop moving!
I just ended up lifting her in (it's a female) with the rod (only 7kg). It is probably the most beautiful
fish in the world, or at least the most gaudy, amazing colorification!!! A chameleon. It is also the tastiest
fish in the tropical seas. No wonder the ancient Hawaiians named it twice. Mahi Mahi indeed..!
(crappy cellphone photo does not do it justice)
A week after: We had a spectacular melee involving large sharks hitting Ono-killer in the wake
going 11kn + shark brawl, plus 2 kinds of Dolphins and Pilot whales; all in the same square mile!
Go to Europe... October - December
October 2019, back in Paradise.
The windsurfing life has been re-booted!!! via a stop on Maui (finally!).
Albeit by an 'open ocean missile'(JP supersport& 6.7 speedsail), no wavesailing here ;-(
And ultra bizarre foil sailing! Lot's to get used to, but very happy!
And old school longboard freestyle, of course.
A nice spot to live!
The Ranandi inlet, Pac Harbor.
November: after a 6 month hiatus, back on the water boating again.
96nm trip, with lots of rainsqualls to avoid. Very empty, but managed to catch 1 Ono and 1 Ahi.
Ono = 25kg, Ahi 6kg.
He ate 'minime'!
Also, ran into this FAD-looking thing at the southern tip of the Mbengga reef,
in the Kandavu channel, stuck on the reef. Looks kind of official?....anyone lose a FAD?
Tripod & Molu.
Sunrise B-day trip to Vatulele out of Maui bay.
Praia da Bahia.
Cruising Deumba river.
Scored some schoolie Ahi.
The front yard
Oooo hallooows eve.
Santa eve dinner. Salmon & Salmon & potatos....mmmmmmm.
And to finish the year....Cyclone Sarai !
Not much of a hit in Pac Harbor, but dished out some good windsurfing conditions.60kn!