Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sailing: Salinas-Coffin Island and back, December 26-27, 2009

The jinx is over…fish for dinner at last!
December 26, better known as Boxing Day in some parts of the world. After spending the night on Orion at the marina we set sail for Coffin Island around 9:30 a.m. Set sail? Not really…there was no wind blowing at all! I guess Santa needed it all on Christmas to get the reindeer flying, because not even a breeze was to be found! Luckily we don’t live in the olden times anymore where one had to patiently wait for wind! So we cranked up the good old Diesel and puttered off. Not quite a sailor’s dream but better than sitting at the dock for sure!

To make the best of the situation, the Captain decided to put out a fishing rod. “No problem, but please no bloody guts in the cockpit at all times” demanded the First Mate who gets promoted to Admiral at times like this. And really there was no worry, because no fish has dared to hook onto the Captain’s fishing rod since we got Orion some two years ago. Somehow it’s jinxed! Okay…back to our sail from Salinas to Coffin Island. We are leisurely motoring away and Coffin Island is in site, when the fishing rod makes that unmistakable whizzing noise coming from a spinning reel. Without exchange of words we make a flying change of positions: Rick to the fishing rod and I to the helm (steering wheel on a boat). Now what? I slow down Orion whilst the Captain is actually fighting something at the end of that rod! Of course we both believe it is a piece of debris from something we just passed…but hey it’s putting up a good fight! Then there is a silver splash…it’s a fish…the adrenaline is starting to set in. Wow a fish! 

Looks like a small tuna. And there is something in the water trying to catch it! Maybe a shark! The poor fish is being attacked from both sides and looses its tail end in the battle! The Captain perseveres and reels in the silver fish at last…or what’s left of it…ughh. True to his word he lands the fish on the outside deck where it finally takes its last breath. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this fish would not have survived anyways without its tail end. 

Turns out it is a Cero or Spanish mackerel, good eating fish. The Captain cuts some nice fish steaks, which we put on ice…dinner is saved! He even cleans up the bloody mess using the cockpit shower and then it is time to do the happy dance, as our friend Roxanne of “Bamboo” would say. THE JINX IS FINALLY OVER…THE CAPTAIN CAUGHT A FISH!! Just in time for us to be full time cruisers. How kewl is that?

Then we dropped the hook (anchored) off Coffin Island and took a dip in the deep blue and crystal clear water there. Coffin Island is spectacular and there is nothing like it!

We are joined by our good friends Richard and Mercedes and her Mom on “Andariego”, their 31 foot Beneteau. We celebrate until late afternoon when “Andariego” needs to return to Ponce. We, however, will stay over night. 

The Captain cooked chicken kabobs and fish steaks on the BBQ while the First Mate prepared fried yellow squash with onions. Way too much food for the two of us, but at least it’s very healthy! 

We had a wonderful night at anchor with not even a wave to be seen or felt. Still full from our dinner we skipped breakfast altogether the next morning. Rick cleaned the bottom of Orion from grass and some crustaceans, which grow on boats that are permanently in the water. Once a year we haul out Orion and clean and re-paint the hull with special anti-fouling paint, but in between a scraping treatment like the one described works little wonders in controlling unwanted “hitchhikers”!

Then it was time to set sail for Salinas. We departed Coffin Island around 12:30 p.m. under full sail, but the wind Gods were not in our favor. Eventually we pulled in the jib and sailed under mainsail only with the Diesel running. We were back at our slip in Salinas at around 3:30 p.m. There was no reason to rush home, because the kids were already out again with their friends…God bless them. 

So we had a sundowner at Drake’s Bar and Grill across from the marina.We have become regulars there. It's a rustic kind of place with a great atmosphere and great food and drinks. Luis and Nancy run and own the place. Luis makes some awesome down to earth food like German Bratwurst with Sauerkraut, Philly Cheese Steak, and Hamburgers that are to die for! Dinner there was real yummy as usual. Ahhh…Life is good! Off we went to Ponce. Soon we’ll be living on Orion permanently and there will be no need to drive back after a perfect sailing weekend!