02/11/2015 – Sailing and fishing

For the first 4 hours, ‘sailing’ down the west coast of Reunion, we were in the wind shadow of the island so motored but had a lovely sail from early afternoon for about 24 hours. This was followed by about 16 hours of motoring, then motor sailing until we switched off the engine at 0800. We are now sailing again! One reason for motor-sailing yesterday was the adverse current which slowed us down to 4 knots. While the sailing has been a bit of a mixed bag, the fishing seems to be history repeating itself. John put out both lines but attached mine to a metal planning device, designed to drag the line down below the surface. As the planer has a lot of drag the line from the rod is connected to the planer’s line with a rubber band between a swivel on the planer and a swivel clip on my line. The intention is that the weight of a fish will snap the rubber band, allowing the fish to be reeled in. He thought the lines were crossed so we started reeling them in. John’s came in easily but mine snagged on the planer. We tried winching in the planer but the line broke, allowing the planer to drag the line off my reel, before the line eventually snapped when John put on full drag. We lost: the planer, a good swivel, a new lure, several small swivels and quite a lot of line. John put his line back out, he had a bite during the evening radio net. By the time he reached the rod almost all the line was out, he tried increasing the drag but the 50lb line snapped where it was tied on o the reel. We lost: a lot of line, a good swivel and a new lure. Sunday, a day of rest for fish it seems, we had no bites at all so lost no tackle! This morning John’s reel started screaming, he tried to increase the drag but the line snapped again, this time leaving some on the reel. We lost: a lot more line, a good swivel and a new lure. Undeterred, John has reloaded the reel, attached several smaller squid lures and is trying again. It did reel out a short while ago but stopped. The fish are teasing him. On the sailing/motoring front, we are making fairly good progress to a waypoint 150 miles south of Madagascar. Our daily runs of 130 Nm and123 Nm underestimate the distance we have travelled as we are heading south of the waypoint to try to clear the southern tip of Madagascar by about 200 miles, this will allow us to head northwest when the front comes through on Wednesday. If it comes through sooner then we can alter course towards the first waypoint before turning towards Richards Bay. Here’s hoping for more luck on the fishing front and continued helpful winds. Joyce -------- One of the skippers on the rally, Peter on Exody, has been promoting the use of a rarely used feature on our HF SSB transceivers. Most have the capability of sending a DSC call to alert the called boat (or boats in a Group Call). Most in the fleet have now programmed the setup and boat identities and it seems to work. Previously we turned our SSB radios off to save power and to get rid of the continuous background radio noise. Now we suffer the extra battery power used and have a silent monitor system in case someone needs urgent help. The SSB radios have a much longer range capability than our usual VHF sets; hundreds of miles rather than 20. Using this system we can also be called by any other ship that has a problem. Very useful in an area with long distances between shore support stations which in any case have very limited capability. We’ll also probably have fewer boats ‘late on parade’ at radio net times! Fishing line in at the end of the day; nothing else lost! John

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