May 5, 2011 – Layover day at Conception Island

12nm cruised today, all under power; 654nm total – high temp 80 degrees; water temp 78 degrees – NE wind at 12 to 15 knots; seas 3 feet near island

Since this is a layover day, we sleep in a bit later than usual and I miss hearing the weather on SSB. I’ll catch up with Chris Parker tomorrow morning. After coffee and breakfast I go ashore, and walk across to the other side of the island with snorkel gear for a quick explore. I’m hoping to find some vibrant coral reefs, but things look much the same as on the north point. On the way back to the boat I dinghy over to the tender for Terrible, which has dropped off a couple of guys for a swim near the shore. I ask the guy on the tender about snorkeling opportunities in the vicinity. In the midst of his reply he gets a call on his radio. It’t the Terrible captain, chewing him out for talking to “that sailor”; and not paying attention “to his people”. Such are the ways for captain, crew and guests aboard a mega yacht.

We get together with Macek and Christina on their boat to plan out our day. Sandy and Christina will go for a walk on the beach while Macek and I take our boat out for some deep sea fishing. Macek is still smarting from the mahi mahi he lost yesterday, and he hopes for a second chance. As for me, I’m just hoping to finally land a fish. The wives are hoping we’ll bring home something for supper.

We assemble our gear, and Macek suggests that we try trolling 4 lines, each with something different. I rig one on my downrigger, so it can be fished a bit deeper. We troll back and forth along the dropoff, where the depth rapidly plunges from 60 feet down to over 1000 feet. After several passes I get a strike on the downrigger pole. Fish on! I slow the motor and grab the pole, while Macek pulls in the other lines as quickly as possible and fetches both the landing net and the gaff. The fish turns out to not be a mahi mahi, which we were hoping for, but its also not a shark or barracuda, which we feared. In fact, we’re not really sure just what it is, but it does look edible. It’s just medium sized, so Macek lands it with the net. After we bring it aboard and kill it with squirts of rubbing alcohol to the gills, I dig out my fish identification guides to try and figure out what it is. Nearest we can figure, it’s some sort of jack, and we will try it out for dinner tonight.

Sandy and Christina make elaborate preparations for dinner. Christina marinades the fish, and Sandy prepares vegetables for roasting on the barbeque. She also whips up a pineapple upside down cake, which Christina bakes in her oven. The dinner itelf is a triumph. Chilled reisling wine goes perfectly with the fish, which turns out to be excellent and very nicely prepared. Cole slaw on the side, and a big slice of upside down cake for dessert. We finish the evening with a laptop slide show of our Sea of Cortez cruise. This turns out to be another late evening.

Tomorrow I will definitely want to listen to Chris Parker, because we plan on crossing over to Cat Island. This will be a 30 mile open water crossing, and while the wind should be favorable for sailing, I don’t want to get out into excessively strong winds and high seas. It’s become quite breezy this evening. I’m hoping things will settle down during the night.

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